How Great Thou Art

How Great Thou Art


Title: How Great Thou Art

Subtitle: o store gud

Composer: Stuart K. Hine

Arranger: Pam Gervais

Arranged for HB: Linda Boatright

Handbells used: 5 – 6  octaves

Handchimes used: 5 – 7  octaves

Level: 3+

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This wonderful song – now also a favorite hymn – had its beginnings in southern Sweden in the 1880s. A member of Swedish parliament, Carl Boberg, and friends were returning from an afternoon service when a thunderstorm arose. They were in awe of the strong wind, lighting, and thunder – followed by God’s promise: a rainbow. That same evening, he wrote the poem entitled:  O Store God; (How Great Thou Art.) This was later set to music by Stuart Hine and gained massive popularity due to nearly 100 performances by George Beverly Shea during the Billy Graham Crusades.  Pam Gervais created a stunning piano arrangement and Linda Boatright has beautifully transcribed that for handbells.


It begins in quietly and reflectively, with just hints of the melody introducing the hymn rung on handchimes. A lovely key change transitions to handbells featuring rich, somewhat unexpected chords, tempo changes, and dynamics moving back to full handchimes, ultimately seguing to D major and a glorious ‘last verse’ of this amazing arrangement. The addition of the bass chimes in the 2s underlays most of this arrangement and both bells and chimes are fully involved in the final section. This is a solid Level 3 note-wise, and groups will have the opportunity to ring this in the most lyrical and expressive musical phrases. This is bound to be a favorite in your group’s repertoire.

Octave Ranges
5-6 Octaves
Hymn Tunes
Level of Difficulty
Level 3+

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