1992 was the year I graduated from seminary, and it was the last season that the Reverend Dr. Robert White served the school as its president. Since James, when he started his senior there and Bob began his presidency, had written "Praise to God, made known to humans" for his installation, I felt it behooved me to close the circle and set the text when I finished my senior year.
The tune and text were used at baccalaureate worship held at the Second Reformed Church of New Brunswick on the eve of commencement. David, who had been organist for the seminary's grand occasions while he studied Physics at nearby Rutgers University, gave me a heads up that I should listen carefully to the postlude that evening. When the service was over, I took my seat in the choir loft and began to enjoy his playing. The interweaving of voices was particularly interesting, I knew I had not heard the piece before, and I thought to myself, "Gee, that's a nice little melody he's got going there." It was another moment or two more before I recognized it as Quail's Flight. He had gone to the trouble to compose an organ piece on the tune for the occasion. It's been over a decade and a half and I'm still honored by the gesture.
As to why the tune is named "Quail's Flight", if you have not made the connection already, I have to make a confession. I have a hard time resisting a good pun, and an even harder time resisting a bad one. The Reverend Dr. Robert White goes by the name of Bob, which, if you connect it to his last name results in bobwhite, another name for quail. At this point in his career he was leaving the seminary. . . you get the picture. His wife got a kick out of it.
This page was last edited on November 08, 2010