|Short Name:||Beatrice Bush Bixler|
|Full Name:||Bixler, Beatrice Bush, 1916-2013|
Beatrice Bush Bixler, one of the twentieth century’s most prolific song writers, pianists, and vocalists, penned the words and music to "Life is a Symphony." “Bea,” as she is known by so many made her entry into Christian music with the success of that song which was often included at Youth for Christ rallies around the mid-Western United States. It is a favorite of many, still today.
In the sleepy little town of Waverly on the Southern Tier of New York State, in 1916, a little girl was born to Mr. & Mrs. Will Bush. She was a weak and unwell child and one day as her mother was hanging the laundry in their back yard to dry, a neighbor inquired as to Bea’s health. Her mother reported that it was less than acceptable, and the neighbor said she would ask the people of her local church to join her in prayer for the healing and health of this little one. Not long after, Bea made a recovery and became well and strong. Not long after her healing her family began faithful attendance at that very church. Bea, subsequently, had a healthy childhood, and would, while still a child, begin learning to play and to love the piano. She learned and improved so rapidly, that soon she was playing both by ear and by memorization; she was improvising; playing in the “evangelistic style” of the early twentieth century; and soon was playing in the evening services in that local church whose members had prayed for her healing. The church Bea, and her parents along with her mother’s seven sisters and their families would subsequently join, was the Waverly, New York Christian & Missionary Alliance Church [no less than seven full time pastors and missionaries of the C & M A came from the children of these eight sisters, and of their grandchildren over two dozen entered full-time Christian ministry].Her abilities were being widely recognized. Soon she was playing for the local youth organizations as well as in other area churches.
Recognizing that she had God-given gifts in the area of music, Bea left for The Missionary Training Institute [now Nyack College] in Nyack, New York to major in piano and voice. There she progressed so far that it was acknowledged that the faculty there could take her no further and thus she transferred to Houghton College in Western New York. She excelled in piano, voice, and composition. Her grasp of musical theory was highly advanced. All during this time she was actively playing for Gospel quartets, choirs, local churches, and for college touring groups. During many of these years and immediately after the completion of her musical training she travelled with the Bosworth Brothers Evangelistic team as their pianist and lead soloist. Youth for Christ continued to use Bea as well.
Not long after her educational stint at Houghton, Bea met and married the Rev. Clair Bixler, an ordained pastor in The Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. Together they would be pastor and wife in C & M A Churches and in The Missionary Church in Indiana, Illinois, and in New York. Together they raised four children two daughers and two sons Clair pre-deceased her some years ago.
Bea’s incredible output of Christian hymns, Gospel songs, and choruses is noteworthy. No less than 450 pieces have been written, but unfortunately the majority have never been either recorded or reduced to the written page. A significant number were published in two books of her music exclusively, by Singspiration Music in the 1960s and 1970s. Her regular musical leadership in “Winning Women” retreats in the mid-West led to the publication of a book of her choruses. One LP of her must was released by Christian Publications, Inc. in the early 1960s, Bea was the featured pianist on the trombonist Douglas Yeo’s solo album, which also included readings by Bill Pearce. Yoe’s is the only available recording still available, and all of her songs are either not committed to paper, out of print, or are unpublished and in the hands of this current author whose intent it is to bring them into publication in the not-to-distant future.
Bea ministered often at various district conferences across the Christian & Missionary Alliance, as well as at the General Council at various places. Bea had an uncanny ability to involve local musicians in duets with her, either with her at the piano and them at another instrument, or with them joining her in vocal numbers. I had the privilege of ministering in vocal duets and piano/organ concerts and church and conference ministries innumerable times over the past twenty-five years. She was always able to make one far-less-learned than herself, feel completely confident and every bit her equal when invited by her to join her in public ministry.
Beatrice Bush Bixler has been lauded for her insightful and inspiration lyrics and her hauntingly exquisite chording by musicians and faithful Christians far and wide. She was named “Alumnae of the Year” by Nyack College in 1984. Bea was regularly used by the Hephzibah Heights and Hephzibah House organizations.
Today, Bea lives in her hometown of Waverly, New York where she and Clare moved upon his retirement from active ministry. She is fast approaching her 95th birthday, and is sharp and lucid though she has lost most of her ability to see and to hear. Her music is still ready at her recall, and she continues as a champion of musical excellence to the glory of God. Her hymn of confession, I Am Not Worthy, a perennial favorite of so many, was her unswerving testimony. Her incredible musical vocation has spanned some eighty years.
Rev. Jeffrey A. Mackey (friend of Beatrice Bixler)
|Texts by Beatrice Bush Bixler (18)||As||Instances|
|Along the shores of Galilee||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||9|
|Before the earth in order stood||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||3|
|Forgive me, Lord, for wandering||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||3|
|Give them at least one chance to hear||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||4|
|I am not worthy of the least of his favor||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||6|
|I hear the voice of Jesus, it echoes down the years||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||2|
|I like this way better||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||3|
|I sing a new song Since Jesus came||Beatrice Bush Bixler, 1916- (Author)||2|
|If you only knew my Savior (Bixler)||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||2|
|If you only knew the depths of God’s love||B. B. B. (Author)||2|
|In his presence, forever with the King||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||3|
|Into the night of earth||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||2|
|Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||2|
|Once my life was all discordant||B. B. B. (Author)||2|
|The day is ended, shadows fall||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||3|
|There is a message written In the Word of God||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||4|
|There is no night in heaven (Bixler)||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||2|
|Though in this world I found||Beatrice Bush Bixler (Author)||2|