Lead On, O King Eternal

From Wind Repertory Project
James Swearingen

Hymn arranged by James Swearingen

Subtitle: A Choral Prelude

General Info

Year: 1835 / 2000
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $6.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Mark Tree
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Commissioned by and dedicated to the Village Presbyterian Church of Prairie, Kansas, on the occasion of their 50th anniversary. Premiere performance by the Village Wind Ensemble and Choir, Pam Smith Kelly and William O. Baker, conductors.

- Program Note by score

Ernest Shurtleff, author of this text, was about to graduate from Andover Seminary in 1887. His classmates, recognizing his poetic ability, shortly before graduation one day approached Shurtleff with this request:

“Ernest, why don't you write our class poem? After all, you have already published two volumes of poetry -- What's the use of having a distinguished author in the class if he cannot rise to the occasion and do his class the honor of writing a good poem just for them?”

“Let's make it a hymn that we can all sing,” replied Shurtleff, “We've been spending days of preparation here at seminary. Now the day of march has come and we must go out to follow the leadership of the King of kings, to conquer the world under His banner.”

Although the metaphors and expressions in this hymn were intended to challenge the graduating class of 1887 at Andover Seminary, the truths of this hymn have challenged the world.

- Program Note by Kenneth W. Osbeck

Henry T. Smart (1812-1908) composed the tune in 1835 for use at a missions festival at Blackburn, Lancashire, England. For that festival, which celebrated the three-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation in England, the tune was set to Reginald Heber's From Greenland's Icy Mountains.

- Program Note from Hymnary.org


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class B
  • Mississippi: IV-A


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Westminster College (New Wilmington, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (R. Tad Greig, conductor) - 9 March 2022
  • Westminster College (New Wilmington, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (R. Tad Greig, conductor) - 13 November 2020
  • Marshall (Mo.) Municipal Band (Pam Smith Kelly, conductor) - 29 July 2020
  • Cottonwood Community Band (Sedona, Ariz.) (Sy Brandon, conductor; Verde Valley Voices) – 17 March 2019
  • Berea (Ky.) College Wind Ensemble (Matthew Talbert, conductor) – 25 February 2019
  • Mississippi Community (Jackson) Symphonic Band (Paxton Girtmon, conductor) – 19 August 2017
  • Phoenix (N.Y.) Community Band (David Frateschi, conductor) – 21 December 2015
  • First United Methodist Church (Wiggins, Miss.) Wind Ensemble (Kristopher Chandler, conductor) – Spring 2013

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works