November 3, 2016

Randall DeBruyn shares the inspiration behind ‘Upon the Cross’

Upon the Cross colored illustration

The genesis of this composition is a little different than that of most hymns. In 2006 I wrote this melody as a “hymn without words” to conclude the final movement of my 2nd Piano Quintet. The tune is meant to express a peaceful, confident joy, and provides an emotional “resolution” to the tension and drama of the preceding movement: thus the name, “RESOLUTION.”

But it has always felt to me that, if a good text could be found or written to this melody, it might be useful for worship. Thus, when I asked Sister Genevieve Glen if she would consider providing one, I was suggesting an arrangement between composer and author which actually reverses the usual procedure. Happily, Sister Genevieve was inspired to “set” this music with a text of very great beauty and power. Expressing the music perfectly, it now fulfills a greater purpose for worship, for which I believe it was ultimately destined.

As a reflection on the power of the Cross, this hymn is especially appropriate for feasts celebrating the Cross, and for Holy Week. There are two settings provided, one with a full choral arrangement, including piano and C-instrument, the other a simpler setting for organ and unison melody. It can be sung for entrance, recessional, or as a reflection on the Cross during the Preparation of the Gifts.

Choral Review Service

Randall DeBruyn’s “Upon the Cross” is included in the Fall 2016 edition of the OCP Choral Review Service. Every year, subscribers receive sheet music and recordings of more than 70 specially selected choral pieces. Whether it’s new music for your traditional or contemporary choir, settings fit for children’s voices or to inspire intercultural ensembles, OCP has the right choral series to help you unite your community in worship.

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This song can also be found in the collection, In Perfect Charity.


Randall DeBruyn
Randall DeBruyn


After a lifetime of composing film scores, Mass settings, psalms and choral arrangements, Randall DeBruyn continues to build his legacy of beloved music for the Church.

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