The Good Shepherd

A Sacred Cantata for Tenor, Mixed Chorus, and Orchestra (or Organ).

Duration: 26:00

Libretto compiled from the Holy Scriptures and the Hymns of Phyllis Wocher and Douglas Pew.

Commissioned by the following consortium: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and Fairfax United Methodist Church.

Premiered on April 17, 2016 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Cincinnati, OH.

Carlton Monroe, conductor.

  1. CHORUS: He shall feed his flock
  2. ARIA: I am the Good Shepherd
  3. CHORUS: The Lord Is My Shepherd
  4. SCENE: Feed my sheep
  5. HYMN: Savior of the wandering sheep
In Douglas Pew we have a fresh new voice in contemporary sacred music. His craftsmanship in the art of composition is readily demonstrated in his outstanding cantata “The Good Shepherd”. In this cantata we hear his superb work in the writing of hymns, solo arias, and choruses. His writing for voices and instruments is filled with sensitivity and beauty, always complementing the spirit of the text. We have much to look forward to in the future compositional output of this exciting new American composer.
— Dr. Craig Jessop, Former Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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The Good Shepherd -- Composer’s Note:

Tucked away on the forested outskirts of Cincinnati, OH is a beautiful old German church, St. Thomas Episcopal Church. It has been my pleasure to serve there these past 5 years as composer-in-residence. Each month, the Bach Ensemble at St. Thomas--an ensemble of Bach loving musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony and other local professionals--presents one of Bach's 200 existing church cantatas in its natural habitat; not the concert hall, but in a worship service. 

I began writing a cantata of my own each year to stand alongside or take the place of the Bach cantata of the month. Phyllis Wocher (LDS poet and author) and I compile the texts for these cantatas from the Bible and LDS scripture, together with new poems and hymn texts of our own design. The Good Shepherd is the 4th in this series and was jointly commissioned by St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Fairfax United Methodist Church in Virginia, and BYU-Idaho. 

The Good Shepherd is the story of the lost sheep in all of us who sometimes strays from the fold and ends up trapped on a steep and slippery slope. Finding himself in dire straits, he remembers the Shepherd and cries for help. Hoping his feeble bleating will be heard and the search party will find him, he comes to himself and realizes that it was his own neglect of the Shepherd's voice that brought him to “the valley of the shadow of death." When the Shepherd comes at last to the rescue, He lovingly binds the sheep's wounds and carries him on his shoulders back to the fold. The sheep's eyes are opened and he learns a profound truth. The Shepherd became who He is by giving His life for the sheep. Only by taking up his own cross and becoming an under-shepherd can the sheep truly dwell in the house of the Lord and find eternal pasture. 

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