Ebenezer Beesley

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Ebenezer Beesley is known by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the composer of several hymns found in the 1985 Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was also the director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1880 until 1889. He worked to increase the choir’s library of music by obtaining copies of music. At the time it was difficult and costly, so Beesley spent much time copying music by hand.

Beesley composed close to 100 known works. He was tasked by President John Taylor to oversee the creation of the first significant hymnbook for the Church known as The Latter-day Saints’ Psalmody, which was published in 1889. It was the first Church hymnbook to include both music and words. He also contributed 20 hymns to the hymnal.

He also raised the quality of the choir by testing the voice and capability of each perspective choir member. He put strict rehearsal attendance rules in place.

After he stepped down from the choir, he conducted other choirs in Tooele and Lehi.

Throughout his career he collaborated with prominent lyricists such as George Manwaring, Charles William Penrose, Emily H. Woodmansee, Joseph L. Townsend, Andrew Dalrymple, and others. His works were also published in other publications. He founded Beesley Music Company in 1903 and it stayed in business until 1989.

Beesley was born in Bicester, England, in 1840. His family joined the Church of Jesus Christ in 1849 and immigrated to Utah Territory ten years later. He died in 1906. Eleven of his sixteen children survived him.

Beesley’s hymns included in the 1985 hymnal are:

"High on the Mountain Top" (#5) "What Glorious Scenes Mine Eyes Behold" (#16) "The Happy Day at Last Has Come" (#32) "God of Our Fathers, We Come unto Thee" (#76) "Great Is the Lord" (#77) "Sing We Now at Parting" (#156) "Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love" (#177) "Reverently and Meekly Now" (#185) "Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words" (#232) "Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning" (#280) "We Meet Again in Sabbath School" (#282)