Echoes of Triumph Song Books: Historical background
by Elizabeth Drudge
Thank you for your interest in Echoes of Triumph Song Books. I was born in 1946 on a farm in Ontario, Canada, into a singing family. My parents, Amos and Edna Baker were both lovers of song. My earliest memories are of sitting in the cradle, which was beside the cook stove in the kitchen, holding the hymn book on my knee, while my Mother sang as she went about her house work.
I learned to read out of a hymn book. (a book called "Spiritual Songs and Hymns") Every morning, as our family gathered for breakfast, we first sat down, each with a hymn book, and sang a song together. After the song, we moved to the kitchen table for breakfast; but the singing always came before the food. So, an intense love for singing was molded into me early in my life. And even now, I still would rather sing than eat.
My brother, Paul, and sisters Martha and Mary Ann were also singers, and we sang a lot as we went through the day. As we did dishes, Daddy would sit in his rocking chair and call out songs he wanted us to sing. There was no radio or TV in our home. We always sang good Gospel hymns.
We always sang on the way to church and back. At church, we had very good four part harmony, and the singing was beautiful. From little up, I always watched the hymn book closely, watching what each of the four parts were doing. I listened carefully to the beautiful tenor and bass parts.
Any talent I may have today, I attribute to God and to my parents, and especially to my singing Mother, as she filled my first years with her constant singing of beautiful Christian hymns. So, if you want to have children who can sing, start singing with them while they are still in the cradle.
As school girls and later as teenagers, we sang together as a trio; often singing at youth gatherings, bridal showers, or even at weddings. I was only nine years old when we had our first experience of singing at a wedding; and I even sang a short solo!
A love for singing was a common interest when my boy friend, John Drudge and I were dating. John had a beautiful voice, and could sing both tenor and bass! This was certainly a big plus for me, as I loved to hear tenor and bass in a song. John and I along with two others, sang together a lot. John and I were married on Oct. 1, 1967. Singing has been a very important part of our married life. John was a song leader at church before we were married, and continued on until his ordination to the ministry in 1974.
In 1972, John was asked to teach Singing School to the church young people. In the years following, he has taught Singing School classes many times, and in many different congregations.
As a little girl, I was keenly sensitive to good harmony, a good melody, and to proper chord changes in a song. If I didn't like a certain tune, then I made up a new one for myself to sing. I often made up new tunes as I played in the orchard.
So, in 1979,when a friend, Lena Martin, asked me to write a tune for a poem she had written, I searched back in the recesses of my mind to a tune I had composed in the orchard one day, as a little girl. The poem was in memory of five children who died in a house fire. Lena wrote the poem to comfort her own sons, whose friends had died. That song, called "Our Heavenward Flight" has become a favorite of many. The tune, composed one day in an old orchard, has been used in some Old German Baptist Church services, where they occasionally use new Hymn tunes on old and familiar lyrics.
Lena wrote more poems... and I wrote more tunes. Soon we had enough for a book. One of her poems, called 'Echoes Of Triumph' caught my attention, and this became the title for our new hymn book, published in 1980. The title stuck, and now we have Echoes Of Triumph Books One to Nine! I hope you will enjoy them all! Sing lots! -Elizabeth Drudge