The Del Rio Music Club 9th Annual Church Choir Festival was held on January 27, 2013. Six choirs participated:

First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir,
Sacred Heart Catholic Church 11:00 Choir,
Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church Choir,
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Children's Choir,
The St. Francis Catholic Community Choir of the Laughlin AFB Chapel,
and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Del Rio 1st Branch Choir.

 

 

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is deeply rooted in American history. The program credits the hymn to Julia Ward Howe. The music is something called "John Brown's Body." John Brown was executed a couple years before the Civil War after his effort to arm slaves and start a slave rebellion. Julia Ward Howe, apparently heard Civil War soldiers of Massachusetts' 2nd Infantry Battalion singing verses that they had collectively written. Later felt inspired to write her own verses. Her song was published in early 1862 by the widely distributed and widely read in The Atlantic Monthly. One of the verses seems particularly important to American history:

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Abraham Lincoln never lost sight of his primary goal of preserving the Union. But he came to believe that ending slavery was necessary to accomplish that goal. He also came to believe that all men should be free from bondage, or as he said, every man has the right to earn his own bread. During that conflagration, many Americans came to believe that slavery must be ended; the War could be prosecuted "to make men free."
2013 Choir Festival picture
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Del Rio 1st Branch Choir singing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

 

 

The hymn known as "How Great Thou Art" is not a traditional hymn or one that has roots in any of the traditional Christian faiths. It is a modern construction popularized in 1954 by George Beverly Shea who was part of the Billy Graham crusade. The Festival program credits Stuart K. Hine as the author, and he probably was, at least of the modern English version of the hymn. However, the original poem was penned by a Swedish pastor, Carl Boberg, in 1886. The poem was translated into German, and the German translated into Russian, which is the version Hine first heard (when he was a missionary in Eastern Europe). Most of the sources suggest or state that Hine wrote his own verses, so the hymn may not contain much of the original Swedish.
2013 Choir Festival picture
The combined choir during the finale, singing "How Great Thou Art."