I hope this sky is sufficiently bigger than life to suit my dad, Theodore (Ted) Van Doren, who would have been 83 today. I’d been thinking about lines from the hymn “The Holy City” that I still (more than 29 years after his death) would like to put on his gravestone. (What’s on there now is not of interest, much like the story behind it.) Dad used to sing that song, along with his sister May at the piano, and his powerful voice would shake the walls. But he never could quite entirely get the highest note at the end ... witnessing him do the song was like watching someone try to break the world record in the pole vault. I think he’d appreciate the fact that one of the sites where I found the lyrics also carries an ad, “How To Sing High Notes.”
The best place I found for the lyrics was a site related to James Joyce, which also lets you play a pretty good rendition of one of the verses; this site also includes a discussion of Joyce’s use of the song. The version I found that most conveys the power of the song as Dad sang it was on YouTube, by the Beirut Orpheus Choir. Of course, the performance by Mahalia Jackson is in a class by itself.
Sampling different recordings of the song just about destroyed me.
Methought the voice of angels
From heaven in answer rang.