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WorksChoral MusicMixed ChorusBlessed Be the Lord, My Rock

Blessed Be the Lord, My Rock

Voicing: SAB chorus, a cappella or with piano/organ
Text: Biblical, Psalm 144
Language: English
Duration: 3 min.
Dedication: To the victims -- and survivors -- of the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001
Premiere: May 22, 2003; Mixed Choir of White Bear Lake High School; Marie Dymit, conductor.
See the score: PREVIEW THE SCORE (pdf)
Order online: Graphite Publishing, Cat. No. B004

"Bel Voce performed your Blessed Be the Lord, My Rock on a concert of hope and renewal last spring. You could have heard a pin drop during the performance and the room rang with "Amens" even before the applause began. Thank you for such a moving and deeply beautiful work.
- Teresa Bowers, Artistic Director, Bel Voce -- from an email to the composer (used by permission)

(Live recording by The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists, June 2008. Courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio.)


This 3-minute SAB choral piece was written on September 12, 2001 as a tribute to the victims –- and survivors -- of the tragedies the day before. The moving text from Psalm 144 escalates to two 4-part chords (sop divisi), then continues softly in unison “rescue, me, deliver me...” A piece of emotional and compositional substance for SAB a cappella choir, it also has an optional piano or organ accompaniment. After its premiere, composer Abbie Betinis received the following note from a high school singer:
"I sang with much strength and feeling because it is the type of song that has a good message. I was very honored to be in the first group to perform it. The night that we performed [Blessed be the Lord, My Rock], I saw tears in people's eyes. That made me feel like I was passing the message along in the right way."
- Graphite Publishing

Psalm 144 (excerpts)
Blessed be the Lord, my rock and my fortress,
  my stronghold, my deliverer,
  My shield and he in whom I take refuge.

We are like breath,
  our days are like a passing shadow.

Bow thy heav'ns, O Lord,
  come down!
Stretch forth thy hand from on high,
  rescue me, deliver me.

I will sing a new song to thee, O God.

Book of Common Prayer

Performed by:

Adult Choir of Episcopal Church of the Nativity (J. David Moore) - Burnsville, Minnesota
Adult Choir of Trinity Episcopal Church (Franklin M. Osenbach) - Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Bel Voce (Teresa Bowers) - Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Buffalo Valley Singers (Rita Griffith)
Butler Chorale (Eric Stark) - Indianapolis, Indiana
Calvin Chancel Choir (Samuel Grace) - Long Lake, Minnesota
Centre College Choirs (Barbara Hall) - Danville, Kentucky
Choir at Bible Baptist Church (James Anderson)
Choir of Faith Christian Church - Omaha, Nebraska
Choir of St. Paul's-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church (Patrick McDonough) - Saint Paul, Minnesota
Choir of St. Louis Catholic Church (Paul Carroll) - Clarksville, Maryland
Coro Stella Maris (Amelia LeClair)
Ecumenical Choirs (David L. Almond) - New London, New Hampshire
House of Hope Choir (Matthew Culloton) - Saint Paul, Minnesota
Iowa Wesleyan Concert Choir (Brad Miller) - Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church Choir (Mike Bolin) - Excelsior, Minnesota
Pebble in the Water quartet of St. Paul's-on-the-Hill Episcopal (Jacob Manier) - Saint Paul, Minnesota
The Singers--Minnesota Choral Artists (Matthew Culloton) - Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Vanguard School Chorus (Melissa Judge) - Colorado Springs, Colorado
White Bear Lake High School Mixed Choir (Marie Dymit) - White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Zumbro Lutheran Choir (Kristy Giere)

(Have you performed this piece? Add your performance!)