Big Sing: The UK's Top Ten Hymns Songs of Praise


Big Sing: The UK's Top Ten Hymns

The results of a nationwide vote are sung by five thousand people in the Royal Albert Hall in this Big Sing special, with guests including Russell Watson.


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After a nation-wide vote to identify the United Kingdom's top ten hymns,

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Songs of Praise is pleased to announce the results.

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With the help of 5,000 voices here in the Royal Albert Hall,

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together with special guests Michael Ball...

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..Andrea Begley,

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Friar Alessandro

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and to sing the most popular hymn of all, Russell Watson.

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So stand by for a very special Big Sing.

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APPLAUSE

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Hello. This is my first Big Sing.

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It's a terrific privilege as I get to announce

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each of the top ten hymns from our national poll.

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We've had thousands of votes so thank you if you cast yours.

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I'm sure you'll be very keen to know if your favourite is among them.

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Perhaps it's the hymn we're going to sing first.

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At number ten, let's all sing The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, what a wonderfully moving beginning

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to this very special Big Sing.

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Thanks to our 40-piece Big Sing orchestra,

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conducted by Maestro Paul Leddington Wright.

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APPLAUSE

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Our magnificent choirs,

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the Guildford Choral Society, Brighton Festival Chorus,

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St Michael's Singers and the Adventist Vocal Ensemble.

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APPLAUSE

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Now it's time for our first guest soloist, who is going to sing

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our number nine hymn Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace,

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based on a prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi.

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It's not often that The Bing Sing welcomes a Franciscan friar,

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but all the way from the very friary in Italy that was founded by

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St Francis himself, please welcome Friar Alessandro.

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APPLAUSE

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# Make me a channel of your peace

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# Where there is hatred

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# Let me bring your love

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# Where there is injury

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# Your pardon, Lord

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# And where there's doubt

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# True faith in you

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# Oh, Master, grant

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# That I may never seek

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# So much to be consoled

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# As to console

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# To be understood

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# As to understand

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# To be loved

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# As to love with all my soul

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# Make me a channel of your peace

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# Where there's despair in life

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# Let me bring hope

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# Where there is darkness

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# Only light

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# And where there's sadness

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# Ever joy

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# Oh, Master, grant

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# That I may never seek

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# So much to be consoled

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# As to console

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# To be understood

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# As to understand

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# To be loved

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# As to love with all my soul

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# Make me a channel of your peace

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# It is in pardoning

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# That we are pardoned, Lord

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# In giving of ourselves

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# That we receive

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# And in dying

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# We are born to eternal life

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# Make me a channel of your

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# Peace. #

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APPLAUSE

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Ladies and gentlemen, Friar Alessandro.

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Bellissimo.

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So...now then, anybody here from Wales?

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CHEERING

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Quite a few. Excellent, because you're urgently needed to lead

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the singing of our next great hymn. Synonymous with the land of song,

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it was voted the eighth most popular choice in our nation-wide poll.

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You may well have guessed it by now. Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer.

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APPLAUSE

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Now, that's what I call singing. Magnificent!

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Our next guest has starred on many a West End stage and all over the world.

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He's a familiar voice on BBC Radio 2 on a Sunday

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and he's appeared many times in all kinds of programmes on TV.

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Please welcome a man of a million talents, Mr Michael Ball.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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-Oh, you're looking very fit and well.

-I feel very fit and well.

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-I love being in this building.

-You've sung in so many shows,

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you've been on tour, we talked about the radio,

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-do you feel blessed in that respect?

-Oh, absolutely.

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I think the biggest blessing you can have in your life is to find

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work that you love doing and to still be doing it after so many years.

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And if that work is about trying to give pleasure to people, it's a double blessing.

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I'm very, very lucky.

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The hymn you're about to sing for us,

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it's number seven in our top ten.

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It's inspiring for so many people. Does it mean something special for you?

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It's one of those hymns that when you actually analyse the words,

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you know that there are people going through certain times in their life

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where they need inspiration, where they need help, where they need comfort

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and it's a song like this that can absolutely give it to them.

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-Ladies and gentlemen, singing Abide With Me, Michael Ball.

-Thank you.

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APPLAUSE

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# Abide with me

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# Fast falls the eventide

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# The darkness deepens

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# Lord, with me abide

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# When other helpers

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# Fail and comforts flee

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# Help of the helpless

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# O, abide with me

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# Swift to its close

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# Ebbs out life's little day

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# Earth's joys grow dim

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# Its glories pass away

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# Change and decay

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# Is all around I see

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# O, Thou who changest not

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# Abide with me

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# Hold Thou Thy cross

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# Before my closing eyes

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# Shine through the gloom

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# And point me to the skies

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# Heaven's morning breaks

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# And Earth's vain shadows flee

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# In life, in death, O Lord

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# Abide with me

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# In life, in death, O Lord

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# Abide

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# With

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# Me. #

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APPLAUSE

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Ladies and gentlemen, the magnificent Michael Ball.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, as you may have seen, just a few weeks ago our next guests

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became the first ever Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year,

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so we've invited them here tonight to sing a catchy interpretation of

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the hymn at number six in our top ten, so have you clapping hands

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ready and please give a warm welcome to the Town Hall Gospel Choir from Birmingham.

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APPLAUSE

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# And can it be that I should gain

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# An interest in the Saviour's blood

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# Died he for me who caused his pain

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# For me who him to death pursued

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# Amazing love, how can it be

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# That Thou, my God Shouldst die for me?

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# Amazing love, how can it be

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# That Thou, my God Shouldst die for me?

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# He left his Father's throne above

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# So free, so infinite His grace

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# Emptied himself of all but love

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# And bled for Adam's helpless race

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# Tis mercy all, immense and free

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# For O my God, it found out me

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# Amazing love, how can it be

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# That Thou, my God Shouldst die for me?

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# Long my imprisoned spirit lay

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# Fast bound in sin And nature's night

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# Thine eye diffused a quickening ray

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# I woke The dungeon flamed with light

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# My chains fell off My heart was free

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-# I rose

-I rose

-Went forth

-Went forth

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-#

-And foll...

-And followed Thee

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# No condemnation now I dread

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# Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!

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# Alive in Him, my living Head

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# And clothed in righteousness divine

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# Bold I approach the eternal throne

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# And claim the crown through Christ my own

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# Amazing love, how can it be

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# That thou, my God shouldst die for me?

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# Amazing love, how can it be

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# That thou, my God

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# Shouldst die for me? #

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APPLAUSE

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The Town Hall Gospel Choir from Birmingham - wonderful.

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So, we're halfway through our top ten hymns,

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and at number five, a modern classic -

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written only in 1981 by Dan Schutte.

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It echoes the Bible's story about young Samuel,

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who responded to God's voice,

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making himself available to help others.

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APPLAUSE

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Beautiful singing.

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Now, when we last asked you for your favourites, back in 2005,

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our next hymn was our second most popular choice.

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It's still right up there for all kinds of special occasions.

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Based on words by the Quaker John Greenleaf Whittier

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and matched to Hubert Parry's calming tune Repton

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is a hymn to slow you down a bit in our ever-busy world.

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APPLAUSE

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It's time to meet our next special guest.

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Ladies and gentlemen, singing the third most popular hymn

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in our top ten poll, it's Andrea Begley.

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# Be still for the presence of the Lord

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# The Holy One, is here

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# Come bow before Him now

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# With reverence and fear

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# In Him no sin is found

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# We stand on holy ground

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# Be still for the presence of the Lord

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# The Holy One is here

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# Be still, for the glory of the Lord

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# Is shining all around

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# He burns with holy fire

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# In splendour He is crowned

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# How awesome is the sight

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# Our radiant King of light!

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# Be still, for the glory of the Lord

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# Is shining all around

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# Be still, for the power of the Lord

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# Is moving in this place

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# He comes to cleanse and heal

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# To minister His grace

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# No work too hard for Him

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# In faith receive from Him

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# Be still, for the power of the Lord

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# Is moving in...

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# This place

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# This place

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# This place. #

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APPLAUSE

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So now we come to the second most popular hymn

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in the United Kingdom.

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Actually, it's only been widely sung since about 2001,

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so in just over a decade, it's clearly made its mark.

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Written by two of today's most gifted hymn writers,

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Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, and using powerful Biblical imagery,

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it makes a pretty bold statement.

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APPLAUSE

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That was super. Absolutely wonderful.

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Here we are, then, ready to reveal the most popular hymn,

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voted for by thousands of people

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from right across the United Kingdom.

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It's been translated into Welsh, Chinese, Japanese, Polish,

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Romanian, Spanish, Vietnamese, even Maori,

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such is its international appeal.

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The powerful verses about creation, the Cross and Christ's return,

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complemented by a truly stirring chorus.

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So, we can at last reveal

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the United Kingdom's number one hymn is...

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..How Great Thou Art.

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And to lead us, our final special guest,

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the man with the perfectly powerful voice,

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please welcome Russell Watson.

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APPLAUSE

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Russell, great to see you.

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What does it mean, then, to you to be number one, if you like?

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Singing such a popular hymn?

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It's a great privilege, actually,

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on such a magnificent occasion as well,

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with so many people in the Royal Albert Hall,

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singing what was one of my grandma's favourite hymns.

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She'd have loved to be here tonight to see me sing this one, bless her.

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What does it mean to you?

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I think it's just a beautifully written piece of music.

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I don't know - when you listen to it,

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there's something very, very familiar about this piece of music.

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It's a little bit...

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It reminds me a little bit of Danny Boy.

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Russell, thanks very much.

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While Russell gets himself ready to sing the number one hymn,

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it just remains for me to say thank you for watching,

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thank you all for being here.

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I do hope you've enjoyed the wonderful hymn singing

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and all of our special guests.

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From the Royal Albert Hall, one final hymn - How Great Thou Art.

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# Oh Lord, my God when I in awesome wonder

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# Consider all the works Thy hand hath made

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# I see the stars I hear the mighty thunder

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# Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed

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# Then sings my soul my Saviour God, to Thee

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# How great Thou art

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# How great Thou art

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# Then sings my soul my Saviour God, to Thee

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# How great Thou art

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# How great Thou art!

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# And when I think that God His Son not sparing

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# Sent Him to die I scarce can take it in

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# That on the Cross my burden gladly bearing

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# He bled and died to take away my sin

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# Then sings my soul my Saviour God, to Thee

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# How great Thou art

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# How great Thou art

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# Then sings my soul my Saviour God, to Thee

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# How great Thou art

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# How great Thou art!

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APPLAUSE

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Next week, join Sally and Diane in Glasgow

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as they count down to the Commonwealth Games

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with stirring, patriotic hymns to get you in the mood.

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And our Songs Of Praise family face their greatest challenge yet,

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as water-phobic Dad tries to swim like a triathlete.

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The results of a nationwide vote are sung by five thousand people in the Royal Albert Hall in this Big Sing special, with guest stars Russell Watson, Michael Ball, Andrea Begley, Friar Alessandro and the newly-crowned Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year.


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