The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Natalie Allyn Wakeley Sleeth

1930-1992

NATALIE WAKELEY SLEETH (1930-1992) was born on October 29, 1930 in Evanston, IL Sleeth began studying piano at age four. She majored in music at Wellesley College from which she earned a degree in 1952, with a BA in Music Theory.

She married a Professor of Homiletics, The Reverend Ronald E. Sleeth. On the occasion of his inauguration as President of West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1977, Natalie wrote the "inauguration anthem" entitled "Joy in the Morning". Although she did not realize it at the time, the title is from Psalm 30.

In 1996, the Evangelical Covenant Church published their denomination's new COVENANT HYMNAL and the anthem was adapted and first published as a hymn in this collection. Over one-million copies of the anthem are in print and a bright future is forecast for this as a hymn as well. Among her other published works "In the Bulb there is a Flower" or "Hymn of Promise" has become one of her most popular compositions both as a hymn and as an anthem (A 580 two parts and A 686 SATB). "Were You There On That Christmas Night" (CF 190 Two-Part) and (CF 213 SATB) is also among her best selling choral works.

She received an honorary doctorate from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1959, and from Nebraska Wesleyan College in 1990.

An organist, she wrote over 180 highly successful selections for church and school. Natalie has three hymn credits in Hope's new hymnal WORSHIP & REJOICE (2001). At age 62, at the height of her career, she died of cancer on March 21, 1992 in Denver, Colorado.

Sources:

Hope Publishing Company

Cyberhymnal

See also Companion to the Worshipping Church, by Richard J. Stanislaw and Donald P. Hustad (Hope Publishing Company, 1993).