Composer: Annabeth McClelland Gay (1952)
Published in 10 hymnals

Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Composer: Annabeth McClelland Gay

Annabeth McClelland Gay was born in 1925 in Ottawa, Illinois, where her father was the pastor of the Presbyterian church. She was educated at Knox College (B.M.E. 1947) and Union Theological Seminary's School of Sacred Music, New York City(M.S.M. 1949). She has been choir director in the various churches her husband has served as pastor. The tune SHEPHERDS' PIPES was written by Annabeth McClelland Gay in 1952 as the setting for "The Lord Is Rich and Merciful" in the Pilgrim Hymnal (1958). Every Christmas, the Gays sent an original Christmas song to their friends. In 1952 it was Annabeth's turn to compose the music for which her husband would supply the words. "This tune 'dropped out of the blue' one evening while I was at the piano. Bill s… Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer: Annabeth McClelland Gay (1952)
Meter: D
Key: g minor
Copyright: Tune © 1958, 1986, Pilgrim Press.


Deep in the Shadows of the Past

O Mighty Rulers, Can You Claim

O mighty rulers, can you claim
that you speak righteousness?
Do you defend the poor and weak
in truth and uprightness?
No, in your heart you plot and scheme;
injustice marks your life;
you deal out violence on earth
and favor human strife.

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Psalm 81


Annabeth McClelland Gay (b. Ottawa, IL, 1925) composed SHEPHERDS' PIPES in 1952, and her husband matched it with a hymn text to send as Christmas greetings. She wrote, "When I played it for him, he said, 'I wonder if Palestinian shepherds played on pipes, because that's what this tune reminds me of.' So his text followed ("The Shepherds' Pipes on Bethlehem's Heights") and from the text, the tune name."

The tune was first published in Pilgrim Hymnal (1958) with T. T. Lynch's text 'The Lord Is Rich and Merciful." Gay was organist and choir director in churches in New York and Ohio, including the Hale United Church of Christ in Dayton, Ohio, where her husband served as pastor. She was educated at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, and received a masters degree in sacred music from Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Other of her hymn tunes were combined with texts by her husband and sent with Christmas greetings; "Carol of Hope" was included in Worship II.

Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4) harmonized SHEPHERDS' PIPES in 1985. In a minor tonality, this tune offers melodic repetitions and dependable rhythms. To do justice to this text, use a marcato performance.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


Instances (1 - 8 of 8)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Community of Christ Sings #64
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #50Text InfoTextAudio
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #56Text InfoAudio
Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #330TextPage Scan
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #58Text InfoTune InfoAudio
Rejoice in the Lord #253Text
The New Century Hymnal #320Text
Wonder, Love, and Praise: a supplement to the Hymnal 1982 #889Text
Include 2 pre-1979 instances