Choral – “At the River”

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Chorus: (Sung twice — soloist starts, choir joins / The chorus melody is not from the hymn.)

Shall we gather, gather at the river? Shall we gather with the saints above?
Shall we gather, gather at the river? Gather for to sing of God’s great love.
Sinners all around the feasting table. Gladly God’s good grace we prove.
Shall we gather, gather at the river? Gather for to sing of God’s great love.

Vs 1: Sing the Love that made the mountains, shim’ring snow capped in the sun.
Rivers roaring twisting turning ’till into the sea they run.
Sing the Love that placed the infant, resting in her mother’s arms,
Graced the earth with glades and forests, laden with a million charms.

Vs 2: Sing the Love that fashioned music, thus to heal the hardest heart.
Work and water, dance and diamonds, air and azure, ants and art.
Sing the Love that gave the prophets, speech and strength beyond their ‘ken’
Love that calls us to repentance, time and time and time again.


Vs 3: Sing the love that knows our grieving, Through the long and tedious night,
Sing the love that brings relieving, Like the morning’s healing light.
Sing the Love that feels our sorrow, Bears our weeping, tastes our tears
Love that will not leave us friendless, Even when no help seems near.

Vs 4: Sing the love of God Almighty now distilled in human frame,
Humbly born and living simply, Jesus was his given name.
Lamb and Lion, source and Saviour, voice and vision, word and way,
King and calling, bridge and brother, Life and light and dawn and day.


Vs 5: Sing the Love that found us sinners, bound by lies or guilt or pride,
Met us in the healing water, fed us by the river side.
Sing the Love which now invites us, to the feast that never ends.
Down the ages now and ever, singing feasting, family, friends.
Down the ages now and ever, singing, feasting, family, friends

Hymn Chorus: (congregation joining; choir singing a related part)
Yes we’ll gather at the river; The beautiful, the beautiful, the river
Gather with the saints at the river, that flows from the throne of God


copyright © 2004 Ken Medema and Celia Whitler


Ken Medema and I have collaborated on a choral anthem and I am excited about it! It holds special significance for me as we wrote it in memory of my parents who both passed away in 2003. I have sung it (with choir) on All Saint’s Day, on Sunday during the Easter Season and at the memorial service for a friend. The anthem . . .

  • was written with All Saints Day in mind, but it works in most worship experiences, including memorial services and baptisms.
  • is written for choir (SATTBB with soloist) and congregation, accompanied by piano.
  • has the congregation joining the choir for the final chorus, singing the familiar hymn “Shall We Gather At the River”
  • touches on the themes of creation, love, journey through grief and the promise of eternal life.
  • is a lengthy piece (between 9 and 10 minutes long)
  • includes a variety of musical styles.
  • was commissioned by and premiered at First United Methodist Church, Shreveport, Louisiana
  • For free samples visit for free samples (printed score and audio).

I hope you find this piece as moving as I do. Thanks for leading the church!

Celia Whitler – 615-790-6573


We have worked to keep the computer part of this SIMPLE.
If any of it does not make sense, call the number above and we will help.

An mp3 of the piece is located here: (File size 11.2 MB.)

An mp3 of the piano accompaniment is located here: (File size 9.3 MB.)

A printable sample (pdf) of the entire 24 page score is located here:

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Open and print from your computer.

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  • To print a sample score from your computer: copy the pdf link above, paste in your browser and click print.
  • Printing: Duplex on 6 pages of 11″ x 17″, fold and staple.
  • Yield: 24 page booklet 8 1/2″ x 11″, self covered. We recommend 60# paper.