Since that first combined effort, Don has written many more sets of words. And I have written many more melodies and accompaniments. My aims have always been firstly to complement the words and secondly to write something “singable”. Community singing has been at the forefront of my approach to writing the music for these hymns. And I also aimed to make the music interesting in one way or another.
At some point along the way, songs became hymns. Don has written hymns for all parts of the annual cycle of the Christian calendar. In the end, the challenge became to “complete the set”. In 2015, the set seemed to be complete: at least the words had been written. I then mentioned to Don that although there was a baptismal hymn in the collection, he had not yet written anything specifically for a wedding or a funeral. Not too long after this, the words for one of each appeared in my email inbox. Of these two late additions, the funeral hymn was completed first, and was first sung by a congregation at my mother’s funeral in 2015. The “wedding song” was the last of all to be written, but, I hope, not the least.