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Keith Gates: Music

Variations on a Hymn Tune (Jesus Loves Me)

Keith Gates was commissioned to write "Variations on a Hymn Tune" by Lady Leah Lafargue for her daughter, Heidi, who studied piano with Bonner Hunter in Lake Charles, LA. He completed it on Valentine's Day, 1983. It is unknown whether or not these variations on "Jesus Loves Me" were ever performed before Julie Miller played them in 2011 in an informal recital at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and in January 2013 in a formal faculty recital at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Gates did not have the manuscript in his library, nor did he list it in his catalogue of compositions. Julie Miller learned of it in a conversation with Bonner Hunter while searching for the score of the piano suite (which has since been re-created by Sam Whitesell, from a recording by Gates). Miller contacted the Lafargue family, who tracked down the only score of the variations. Whitesell did the preliminary work on the edition, which was completed by his brother, Jake Whitesell, thirty years after the work was composed.