Old Song

Last night at choir practice, the guy next to me noticed the composer name on the music we were singing:

1870 -

1870 –

The composer was born in 1870 and there was no death date listed. He did a verbal double-take. What was going on? Then he looked at the copyright date for the music.



That made a little more sense. He would have still been alive in 1967. That would make him… ninety-seven? Wait.. he wrote this choir piece when he was ninety-seven?

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8 Responses to Old Song

  1. Lauren says:

    Was he Scottish? There was a S. J. Wallis that wrote an article for some journal back in 1907. (Thank you, Google.) I bet he’s immortal and you’ll have to cut off his head. There can be only one.

    (Did I get the Highlander movie stuff right?)

  2. Lloyd says:

    I plan on writing a song when I’m 97.

  3. Brady D Gurganious says:

    what is the full name of the song?

  4. Brady D Gurganious says:

    never mind. found it.

  5. Brady D Gurganious says:

    There was a Sydney James Wallis who was part of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 1892. He is listed at the catechist and a deacon.

    Also, there is a grave marking one S J Wallis in the Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton City Virginia. One site has him dying 1863, one has it as 1969.

    i spent too much time on this and didn’t get very far. my apologies.

    • Brad says:

      Hehe… The time stamps on your comments say how long you were looking. A good effort, sir. I can’t say that I haven’t spent even longer searching for some trivial bit of info.

  6. Brady D Gurganious says:

    Don’t tell my boss, but it was significantly longer than what the time stamps would indicate.

  7. Rob Stoltz says:

    S. J. Wallis is Sydney James Wallis, a priest of the men’s religious order, the Society of St. John the Evangelist. SSJE. He was the author of the TEXT, not the music. This appears to be the only hymn text he authored (don’t use composed for texts; that how we get in these messes). He did a great deal of translating into African languages for the Church of England missionary efforts. Presumably this is the Scottish Episcopalian deacon noted above. I have not found a death date.

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