Simple Gifts ('Tis A Gift To Be Simple)

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Simple Gifts ('Tis A Gift To Be Simple) is a Shaker song composed by Elder Joseph Brackett in 1848. Aaron Copland famously adapted 'Simple Gifts' for the ballet Appalachian Spring. Though it is often played as a gentle, slower piece, it was originally composed as a dance number, which is the inspiration for our arrangement. Tobin Wingard is the featured soloist on flute, penny whistle, and wood flute, and Sandy Williams adds acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele, and high string guitar. The range is quite manageable, and as such Simple Gifts is suitable as a solo on many instruments to players of moderate abilities. It has been oft adapted by other artists and arrangers, notably in Lord Of The Dance by Sydney Carter. Weezer, Judy Collins, The King's Singers, and the Toy Dolls have all utilized the song on their recordings; John Williams "Air and Simple Gifts" was composed for and premiered at President Obama's inauguration in 2009.


Simple Gifts ('Tis A Gift To Be Simple)

Simple Gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight

When true simplicity is gain'd
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd
To turn, turn will be our delight
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right

Wikipedia offers more lyric option:

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say
'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of me
And when we hear what others really think and really feel
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real
Tis the gift to be loving, tis the best gift of all
Like a quiet rain it blesses where it falls
And with it we will truly believe
Tis better to give than it is to receive


from Wedding Processional Songs for Brides Bridesmaids, released July 14, 2010
Simple Gifts ('Tis A Gift To Be Simple) was produced and arranged by Steve Millikan. ©2010 Weedom & Reap/ASCAP/All Rights Reserved ~Tobin Wingard played Penny Whistle, Flute, and Wood Flute. Sandy Williams contributed acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele, and high string guitar. String section includes Kara Day-Spurlock on violin, Dennis McCafferty on cello, and Colette Abel on viola.



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