Gambill, Davis Create Anniversary Arrangement of How Great Thou Art 

Alumni, Faculty, Music, News

Lee University’s Dr. Luke Gambill was recently commissioned to create a special arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” for the song’s 75th anniversary celebration taking place at Royal Albert Hall in London, England, on Saturday, May 4.  

Dr. Luke Gambill

The Stuart Hine Trust, the charity founded after the death of Stuart Hine, who wrote “How Great Thou Art,” decided to arrange a celebration for the 75th anniversary of the song as a part of its Prom Praise concert series. Phil Loose, one of the trustees for the Stuart Hine Trust, commissioned Gambill to arrange a special orchestral version of the song for the celebration. Gambill then pulled in Lee alum Dr. Bj Davis to help him orchestrate the piece.  

“‘How Great Thou Art’ is one of those songs that really unifies the church no matter where you are,” said Gambill. “It’s that one song in our history that sticks out among the rest, and I just thank the Lord for allowing me to get to be a part of its history. I am truly honored.”  

While Gambill arranged the choir, Davis arranged the orchestra. To create this piece, Davis looked into the history of the song to try and understand the significance of the lyrics of the piece and what Hine was experiencing as he wrote it. Gambill and Davis’s arrangement of the song attempts to capture this process as it starts with a composed piece that slowly implements the lyrics of the song in Latin before transitioning into the actual arrangement of “How Great Thou Art.”  

“This whole project became a personal journey for me,” said Davis. “I cannot recall a time when ‘How Great Thou Art’ wasn’t being sung at my church, and I have such fond memories of the song even to this day. It is one of those hymns that has a timelessness to it, and it evokes a deep sense of reverence and worship to the Lord.” 

Gambill and Davis, along with some of their family and friends, are travelling to London this week to hear their arrangement performed by a 300-voice choir and symphonic orchestra with pipe organ at Royal Albert Hall for the 75th anniversary celebration.  

Gambill joined the School of Music as an assistant professor of music in 2020, having served previously as a part-time instructor. Gambill has also been a full-time assistant professor of music and coordinator of contemporary worship at William Carey University, a church worship leader, publisher, writer, and arranger of church music, and has developed faith-based and church-focused worship music resources in multiple genres. Gambill earned a Doctor of Worship Studies from Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, a Master of Arts (MA) from Liberty University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Southeastern University. 

Dr. Bj Davis

Davis graduated from Lee in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies. He also took graduate classes in arranging and orchestrating with Dr. David Holsinger and Lari Goss. He is a two-time Dove-nominated arranger and orchestrator for labels including Integrity Music, Word Music, and Brentwood Benson, among others. He is a film, television, and media composer, having worked on various theatrical releases, documentaries, and television shows. He has also written for Disney’s ABC Christmas TV Spectacular, the grand opening of Disneyland Shanghai, and shows on FOX, ABC, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.  

The 75th anniversary celebration will be available for livestream viewing on Royal Albert Hall’s YouTube channel.  

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