(To learn to play it just like this, watch the video below or click on the “Free Sheet Music” link above.)
The Lily of the Valley was written in 1881 by Charles W. Fry, and is in the public domain.
I’m a little surprised it took so long to get around to this one. One of my favorites from childhood, but for some reason it just slipped my mind until now. Lily of the Valley is such a warm, comforting song, I always looked forward to singing it on Sundays. Especially if Uncle Friel was playing it.
I was surprised to learn it was written for the Salvation Army. For some reason, I always think of the Salvation Army singing stronger, more militant hymns. You know, like “Onward Christian Soldiers”. In this case, it was arranged to go with the melody to a pre-existing song, “Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane”, by William S. Hays.
Charles Fry was born in England in 1838. When he passed away, a monument was erected in his honor, to “The first bandmaster of the Salvation Army”.
He learned his father’s trade, becoming a bricklayer by profession, but Charles’ real talent lay with music. He could play many instruments, including the piano, violin, cornet, and more. Not content to rest on his accomplishments, he was also an orchestra and band leader.
Looking at his history, I see no grand moment of inspiration, no turning point in his life. Instead, Charles seemed to be set on his path and consistent in it throughout his life. That’s not to say his life wasn’t full of inspiration. Like, for instance, The Lily of the Valley. It’s been a favorite of mine for years. One of those that can lift the spirits every time I hear it. Hope you enjoy it just as much.