In response to the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, charities LICC and Bible Society are releasing ‘Tears and Celebration’, a new hymn featuring world-renowned mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins, written by Andy Flannagan with Sam Hargreaves. ‘Tears and Celebration’ is a new hymn for the UK and Commonwealth. It is a song of remembrance, assurance, and repentance, giving voice to the hearts and minds of people all over the world. An abridged version was broadcast on BBC1’s Songs of Praise on Sunday 11 September.
The words were written by Andy Flannagan, aided by Sam Hargreaves, to the well-known tune of ‘Dim Ond Iesu’, best known as the melody to ‘Here is Love Vast as the Ocean’. They offer words to help people give thanks for the Queen’s example and faith: “As he takes her to his promise of an audience with the King, we remember all she gave us, wreaths of gratitude we bring.” They also speak of the Queen’s powerful example of discipleship: “Humble, kind and fair, swift to pray and slow to anger, choosing faith and not despair.” And they pray each of us will be able to make a difference through Christ in the same way: “May we know that same anointing, move in royal authority, then speak liberty and healing to a world in need of peace.”
These lyrics quickly captured many hearts and minds, and on 9 September, Katherine was asked to record the song and music video with pianist and producer Mark Edwards providing the arrangement and film-maker Andy Hutchison directing the video.
“For any of us, the death of a loved one often ushers in a time of questioning and instability,” said Andy Flannagan. “I felt this would be the same for our nation following the Queen’s passing, so wanted to write something to help folks process and pray. As I sat at my piano, the beautiful old tune of the Welsh revival merged with new words for this moment that just seemed to flood out – words that invite us to participate, not just commentate. I hope they’re useful.”
The song is available on all streaming services, and a music video recorded at beautiful Wiston House Chapel in Sussex can be viewed above.