Where Once There Lay Dragons

Moderately Easy radio_button_checked radio_button_checked radio_button_unchecked radio_button_unchecked radio_button_unchecked
Instrumental Only?
  • Text Writer: Carol Mc,Clure
  • Included Hymn Tune: SLANE
  • Worship Use: Lent (or Advent)                      
  • Vocal Part(s): Unison
  • Vocal Range: B flat – e flat’
  • Key: E flat major
  • Meter: 3/4
  • Accompanying Instrument(s): Violoncello and harp (or piano)

Target Age Group: Grades 3-6

Description: Where Once There Lay Dragons is a paraphrase of Isaiah 35, appropriate for Advent or Lent, set to the familiar tune SLANE (Be Thou My Vision). The unison setting affords opportunities for teaching interpretation and phrasing, and gives the choristers more work in the lower part of their range.

Anthem Warm-Up

  • bars 13-16: intervallic tuning, pitch accuracy

Teaching Points

  • Rhythm/Meter: Differentiating between downbeat phrase beginnings (line 1 of each stanza) and anacrusis beginnings of phrases (lines 2, 3 and 4 of each stanza)
  • Interpretation: Shaping phrases to illuminate the text
  • Text Study: Correlating the paraphrase with the KJV text; discussing the meaning of the imagery
  • Music History/Style Exploration: Listening to/watching a variety of texts set to the tune SLANE

Where once there lay dragons, tall grasses shall grow;
Where once there lay wasteland, a pathway shall go.
Where once there lay desert, there shall flow a spring;
O ransomed of Zion, with joy shall you sing.

As once you were fearful, you now are made calm;
As once you were wounded, you now have a balm.
As once you were feeble, you now are made strong;
As once you were silent, you now have a song.

Be strong and fear not, for your God will come!
For sweet songs of gladness shall sound on each tongue;
When sorrow and sadness shall all flee away,
Prepare now, O Zion, to greet this new day!