Nearer, My God, To Thee

The other day we had friends over to our house to sing hymns together, and someone requested this hymn. Someone else pointed out that we were coming up on the anniversary of  the Titanic sinking (April 15), and that the ship’s string quartet played the hymn while they went down. While there are a couple of contradictory accounts, we do know that  a number of survivors reported this. From Wikipedia:

George Orrell, the bandmaster of the rescue ship, RMS Carpathia, who spoke with survivors, related: “The ship’s band in any emergency is expected to play to calm the passengers. After the Titanic struck the iceberg the band began to play bright music, dance music, comic songs – anything that would prevent the passengers from becoming panic-stricken… various awe-stricken passengers began to think of the death that faced them and asked the bandmaster to play hymns. The one which appealed to all was “Nearer My God to Thee.”

I’m not a fan of James Cameron’s (in)famous film adaptation of the tragedy, but this is one scene he got right:

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One thought on “Nearer, My God, To Thee

  1. Ode

    It is also a tradition in my family to sing acapela hymns ( by males ) , one I truly love 🙂

    Interesting insight, I always wondered how the musicians feel when they are ” forced” to play joyful music in such sad circumstances…My brother in law’s granduncle was a violinist in Westerbork’ s orchestra for two years , he died in the early eighties , but to the best of my knowlwdge he never talked about that time much with anyone .

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