Robert Lowry was born in 1826, and wrote “A Better Day Is Coming, A Morning Bright and Fair” in 1875. From childhood he loved music, though he felt his calling was more directly in the ministry. From age 22 to 28 Robert studied at the University of Lewisburg, Pa. Following, he served as pastor in multiple communities for nearly 30 years. In the course of his career, he wrote some 500 hymns, including very well-loved ones such as “Shall We Gather At The River”, “Nothing But The Blood”, and “Praise Ye The Lord”. These three in particular were played often in the churches I grew up in. (Mom, let me know if you find this song in any of the old hymn books at the house.)
I can’t find much about this particular song. Can’t recall ever singing it at church, and there’s no Youtube video of anybody else playing it, at least not that I could find. “A Better Day Is Coming” has a pretty tune. To me, the lyrics feel a little heavy, but they carry a message of hope for the day when ‘girded right, with holy might, will overthrow the wrong”.
I’ve sung loudly and off-key to many hymns, and ‘Better Day’ seems just as worthy of attention. Hard to think it’s fallen so far out of favor that it can’t be found on Youtube. Especially when Lowry is such a famous hymn composer. It’s about time we dusted the song off, took a deep breath, and started singing it again. (Or playing it, if you prefer… nobody wants to hear me sing!)
On a side note, ‘Better Day Coming’ has been fun to learn. Usually I choose songs I grew up with, and spend a week or two working out an arrangement. This song was brand new (to me), but has an appealing tune. Hymnary.org had a Midi, which I set to play over and over. Played in the morning, at lunch, all evening after work… After a week of hearing it nonstop for hours, it’s really gotten into my head. Just had to let the melody sink in! While learning it, something odd came up. The midi was in the key of ‘F’, so I learned it in F first. After getting comfortable, and trying to switch to other keys, the melody would completely disappear from my mind. It was like starting all over again. Must be an aftifact of learning a song I’d never heard before, but it was strange.
For that rare person who may already know the song… I’ve taken liberties. Had a bit of fun with the tempo and the melody. It should still be recognizable as “A Better Day Is Coming”, but might be a bit hard to sing along with. :^)