Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing
Offertory Anthem: “Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing”
Anonymous, arr. Mark Hayes (b. 1953)
It is an unfortunate turn of events when a young boy is forced to grow up without a loving father. Thus, was Robert Robinson’s fate. His dad passed away when he was only eight years of age. Robert was born on Sept. 27, 1735, to Mary Wilkin and Michael Robinson, a customs officer, in Swaffam in the county of Norfolk, a market town and civil parish in the English countryside. To make Roberts circumstances much more difficult, his maternal grandfather, Robert Wilkin, a wealthy man, who had never reconciled himself to his daughter’s lowly marriage, disinherited his grandson and provided an inheritance for him of only ten shillings and sixpence. As soon as Robert was old enough, he secured a job as an apprentice to a barber. Even in his youth he endured the hardship of having to be the breadwinner for his widowed mother and himself. His formal education was limited. However, his knowledge was varied and extensive because he spent many hours in study. There was an adult-like quality deeply ingrained in him, and it allowed him to accept the responsibilities of adulthood, even as a teenager. As he grew older, he came under the influence of the famed evangelist, George Whitfield. On Dec. 10, 1755, Robinson could not push from his mind a phrase used by Mr. Whitfield in one of his sermons: “Oh, my hearers! the wrath to come! the wrath to come!” He was wondrously converted and became a minister of the gospel; first, in a Baptist church, then in a Methodist church, and later in other denominations. In one location his congregation grew to 1,000 in attendance. Unfortunately, and for some unexplained reason, he became altogether unstable and unhappy. His Christian beliefs and training seemed of little importance to him. On one occasion, years later, he found himself the fellow passenger of a young lady on a stagecoach. It is reported that she began to sing to break the monotony of the trip. And what did she sing? “Come, Thou fount of every blessing…” As she finished singing the young woman asked Roberts what he thought about the song. His startling reply was: “Madam, I am the unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago; and, I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, if I could feel now as I felt then.”
Lindsay Terry, http://staugustine.com/living/religion/2015-09-17/story-behind-song-come-thou-fount, accessed 23 Dec 2017
Mark Hayes is an award-winning concert pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. His personal catalog, totaling over 1,000 published works, includes work for solo voice, solo piano, multiple pianos, orchestra, jazz combo, small instrumental ensembles, and choruses of all kinds. Mark received a Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude in Piano Performance from Baylor University in 1975. He has conducted the SWACDA and MCDA Community and Church Honor Choir, and served as guest conductor at Carnegie Hall, featuring his Te Deum and Magnificat. In 2010, Baylor University Center for Christian Music Studies awarded Mark the Award for Exemplary Leadership in Christian Music. Mark arranged and orchestrated the music for Civil War Voices, which won six awards including "Best Musical" in the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York. He conducted the world premiere of his work for chorus, orchestra and narrator, The American Spirit, at Lincoln Center in May 2011 and the world premiere of his Requiem in Lincoln Center in May 2013. In addition to his involvement in the sacred and secular choral music fields, Hayes is an accomplished orchestrator and record producer. The album, I've Just Seen Jesus, which Mark arranged, orchestrated and co-produced, received the Dove Award for Praise and Worship Album of the Year in 1986. In June 2010 Mark released his first CD of original songs titled All Is Well, featuring Kansas City jazz artist, Monique Danielle. Whether concertizing on the other side of the globe or composing at his home in Kansas City, Missouri, Mark is blessed to live out his mission "to create beautiful music for the world".
https://markhayes.com/index.cfm/category/17/biography.cfm, accessed 23 December 2017