Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Random music: Philmont Hymn

Crossposted from Dafydd's Random Music.

The internet is a strange place. The elder daughter is expressing an interest in Girl Scouts. I had been holding out until she was 14, so she could join Venture Scouts, the co-ed program run by the BSA. I have an ulterior motive. Venture Scout crews can go to Philmont. I went thrice as a Boy Scout, and want to go back, badly. If she goes, I can go. To entice the elder daughter I told her, again, about Philmont. To drive the point home I searched youtube for Philmont videos. It wasn't hard to find nice videos with slide shows of the scenery. I may have hooked her. Of course I ran across some videos that use the Philmont Hymn as a soundtrack. I like the Philmont Hymn, and a spent the better part of the evening singing it. (The younger daughter now hates it.) After my evening shower I had a brain fart on the lyrics, and looked them up via Google. A little bit if searching turned up an astonishing coincidence. The Philmont Hymn was written by a 16 year old Philmont Ranger in 1947, John Westfall. Mr. Westfall died this month after a good life aged 81. It turns out that he lived in town I now live in. His funeral was at the Episcopal Church down the street from my house, the church my family occasionally attends. His obituary describes as active in scouts and in his community throughout his life. He was a past member of the board of directors for the ballet company my daughter is in. I never met him, but throughout my life his song has meant a great deal to me. I never met him, but I miss him.

So far as I know, the Philmont Hymn has only bee professionally recorded once, by the US Air Force Academy choir. I used to own this version as a single.

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