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January 24, 2007 | 19 Comments

Post to the Host:
I was deeply touched by your lovely rendition of "Children of the Heavenly Father" on your show from St. Louis. It has been a favorite of mine since early childhood (over 70 years ago) and the only Swedish hymn I learned to sing in Swedish. Although I'm not Lutheran (but second generation 100% Swedish) I am pleased to find this hymn in many hymnals of other denominations. I prefer the translation you used however, also your rendition of that simple melody sung slowly, softly and serenely. As such it has spoken to many of us through the years as an expression of and reason for our deep abiding faith. Thank you sincerely.

Lorraine K.

Moundridge, Kansas

It was an odd place to sing an old Swedish hymn, Lorraine — in a gaudy picture palace from 1927 and a big elephant's head up over the stage and statues of eastern gods on the walls — surely the Fox Theater premiere of "Children" — but when that young jazz singer Erin Bode let slip that her dad is a Lutheran minister, I got the idea for a duet. In rehearsal, we tried "Side by Side" ("O we ain't got a barrel of money/Maybe we're ragged and funny/But we travel along/Singing our song/Side by side"), which is from 1927, and then we tried "Children" and it sounded better. I was so concerned that the News from Lake Wobegon might go long and knock "Children" out of the show, I wound up forgetting most of the monologue and so it ended EARLY and after the duet and all, when we came to the end of the show we had to do more choruses of "Back in the U.S.A." than we wanted to, but that's all in the game. Glad you liked the hymn and when I find someone else who knows "Day by Day" (Blott En Dag) I'll do that one too.


I also was moved by the the singing of "Children of the Heavenly Father." In fact, I hummed along a third part and it sounded not too bad. Garrison, regarding "Day by Day" I have the hymn right in front of me taken from "The Celebration Hymnal." It is also in a number of other hymnbooks. The text is by Carolina Berg and music by Oscar Ahnfelt.The words are so meaningful. We children sang that song many years ago in a small country Mennonite church near Butterfield, MN at my parents' 25th anniversary.

Carolyn P
Lincoln, NE

My wife and I saw the film Prairie Home Companion here in London a few days ago and loved it. A nice final tribute to Robert Altmann. This is one of the few films I really want to see again.
Anthony Strangeways.

May I ask a question about the movie? Right before Meryl Streep's solo, Lili Tomlin turned to Rich and said something. I've replayed this part of the movie several times, and I swear her comment began with: "I will break your teeth if....". Rich looked very surprised. I look forward to The Shoe Band every week, and I can listen to Rich's piano forever.

I'm looking forward to this week's program.

I too thought her rendition of "Children" to be beautiful--clear voice, clear diction, everything appropriate to the song. I was raised Lutheran, now Buddhist, but love the old hymns and gospel songs on your show.


Not only did Homer Simpson not write the Aeneid, but neither did any other Homer; but, you knew that.

Yes, I toooo loved your rendition of "Children of the Heavenly Father"...In fact, I called it up on line and listened to it about three times this week....It was very soothing. Thanks, Garrison, as usual....In fact, I've been singing the melody in my head alot this week...I plan to look it up in on of the old hymnals, and make a copy for myself, so I can play and sing it when I need it..In these, wild and crazy days of war and unrest, your hymns always soothe me/us...I love it when you sing hymns and spirituals on the show..Keep it up! Looking forward to the show this Saturday evening with the beautiful concert organ..Can't wait!

Grateful as usual..
Christine (Tina) Scherr
Fort Collins, CO.

I, too, loved hearing you sing "Children of the Heavenly Father" and look forward to you singing "Day by Day." I always love the show and as a Lutheran Pastor I especially love picking up on all your Lutheran jokes. However, I think if you really check out the new hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship (which is, by the way Cranberry, not red, according to Augsburg Fortress Publishers)you will discover that it recovers harmoy singing that the Lutheran Book of Worship cut out in favor of organist's harmonies. And there are more Bach Chorales in this hymnal than the last! But I understand that does not make for good humor in the monologue.

MR Keillor. Don't always listen to your radio show but read your columns in the Lancaster News Paper every Saturday. You know you are becoming a National Treasure. You're writing reminds me of E.B.White. You have a way with words that as they say "hits the nail on the head." Keep up the good work. Oh Yes, Robert Altman's movie was a joy. I even bought it!!! Warm regards.
Carol Ann Rowley. Millersville PA

Looks like a lot of us loved the hymn "Children of Heavenly Father" with Erin Bode. I had never heard it before but was very moved and would like a recording. I am going to check out the Lutheran Hymnal as well. I liked Erin Bode's singing very much and am glad you included her on your program.
Your program is such a treat for me and I agree, you are a bit of a national treasure.

I too was touched by the rendition of "Children of the Heavenly Father." I grew up in a large extended swedish family in northeastern Colorado.(my ancestors did not stop in Minnesota bur journeyed on to Colorado and became ranchers and farmers for the most part) Although I had sung it on many ocassions, I did not learn the swedish version until attending Swedish Hospital School of Nursing in minneapolis in the 60's. In addition I have sung many times as a solo or in harmony, Day by Day, another wonderfully mellodic song which is so beautiful to sing and listen to. Please include it on some future show.
Thank You.
LOretta A. Carlson-Warren
Denver, Colorado

After reading your response to Lorraine's comments regarding "Children of the Heavenly Father", I'm prompted to write and say that very near and dear to my heart, and my husband's heart as well, is the song, "Day by Day"....I'll come anytime and sing a duet with you Garrison!! Everytime you sing a duet it reminds me that a person doesn't need to be opera trained to bless other people with their song!

Let me join in the chorus of folks who enjoyed "Children of the Heavenly Father". It played in my head all week long and just seemed to make the week go better! I teach kindergarten and it seemed especially to apply. Thanks very much.

Have loved your show since it was on in the morning.

I especially enjoyed when you sang "Children of the Heavenly Father" last week. I grew up in Lutheran parsonages. Over the years, my mother tried to teach every Sunday School class how to sing it in Swedish. When she died, I asked everyone at her funeral who had learned it from her to sing along. About 90 people joined in. I was so touched, I got choked up and could not sing myself.

I felt the same way when you did it. I sang along for two verses but lost it for the rest. Thank You

Aha! My wife Saundra and I were at the show in St. Louis and we both remarked that you seemed to finish the Lake Wobegon segment early and then had to fill the rest of the time. Too bad... we had hoped to see more of your "standards" like a Ketchup (Catsup?) advisory board commercial, but otherwise it was a very enjoyable show. We heard the pipe organ in the Philadephia broadcast and wondered if you were aware of the theatre organ at the Fox that Stan Kahn used to play between movies in the 50s and 60s? Finally, we were thrilled to meet you in the aisle after the show and shake your hand. Thanks for a wonderful evening.

I came upon this "post" as I was searching on the internet for "Children of the Heavenly Father" in a vocal duet format. There doesn't seem to be anything available from the usual sources -- Augsburg, Concordia, etc. Any chance you could share your source for the duet arrangement?

Hi GK! Saw your show before Christmas at NYC's Town Hall (LOVED In My Life), and then to my surprise ran into you in the Time's Square subway. I told you that I was raised on your show, and you said, "Well, you turned out pretty good, didn't you?" I didn't quite know what to say that, but after telling my father of our meeting, he asked me if I mentioned that my dad was Lutheran minister. Oops, forgot. Sorry Dad. Well GK, I'd also like to mention, that my dad is a Lutheran minister in Iowa. He grew up in SD, and has enjoyed your show for most of my life. When his parents passed away, all of their grandchildren sang Children of the Heavenly Father in Swedish at their funerals. My father and I were touched by your duet with Erin Bode, and if you're ever looking for a duet partner in NYC for Blott En Dag, please let me know! Thanks for sharing your gift, Laura Benson

I always enjoy the religious music you include on PHC. "Children of the Heavenly Father" was great; "Day by Day" would be fine. But don't forget "Thy Holy Wings," another favorite of mine since the 1997 Red River Valley flood, which I lived through. Lina Sandell Berg must have known about real life.

I, too , was blessed by your duet, "Children of the Heavenly Father ". Never heard it before, and found it very moving. Was played on national radio at the end of your show here in New Zealand last night. Keep it up......would love to hear you sing " Day By Day " sometime soon.

Jim Shortcliffe, Auckland, New Zealand

I grew up in a Swedish family that sang "Children of the Heavenly Father" on every occasion, births, funerals, family reunions etc. I don't know of any song that binds a family together more. We also loved "Day by Day", and "Thy Holy Wings" which includes the line, "And let me live and labor each day by Thy grace". I do not think the modern praise songs can replace these beautiful standards that were so meaningful to the immigrants. Your program is wonderful. Thank you. Liz White, Roanoke, Texas

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