Pair compose Kalispell anthem

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Kalispell could soon have its own official anthem.

Lisa Birkeland and Steve Eckels collaborated on the song, which Eckels sang for the City Council on Monday while playing his guitar.

Following Eckels’ performance, Mayor Tammi Fisher requested that Eckels write a letter asking for it to be the city’s official song. The council then could act on the request.

Eckels, who arranged the song, put out a request for a lyricist to write the words to a Kalispell anthem some time ago.

He wanted to create more unity because of what he calls “extreme divisiveness in our national and local political discourse.” Eckels had almost given up hope when Birkeland came through. Birkeland is a member of the local Crown of the Continent Choir.

“The words are timeless, reflect our region and will uplift all who sing it,” said Eckels, a well-known local guitarist and guitar instructor at Flathead High School.

The anthem follows the tune of “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus,” a Welsh hymn composed in 1844 by Rowland Prichard. Eckels called it “the most beautiful hymn melody I know.”

The words to the song are as follows:

“Neath the shadowing mountains majesty,

near the shores of our inland sea.

We live bright as the stars that shine above,

we’re enriched by all the beauty.

Heart to heart we’re all a part

of this last best place, the state of treasure.

Hand in hand we all share the land,

wondrous beyond all measure.

 

Oh, the winter’s white to the summer’s light,

springs of green and autumns of gold.

We are blessed by the many splendors

of every season’s glory to hold.

Side by side, we all take pride

in this paradise where we live and we roam.

Arm in arm may we do no harm,

Kalispell, our lovely home.

 

From the cities’ pace, to the open space,

lives a people close to the land.

Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,

sons and daughters let’s take a stand.

Ear to ear we can strive to hear

what we need to do to be better still.

Eye to eye we can touch the big sky,

how we love you Kalispell.

 

Hear the eagle’s cry, high up in the sky,

see the silvery fish in the streams.

Lo the flora and lo the fauna

that grace the land as loveliest of dreams.

By and by may we soar on high,

or swim to and fro with the rhythm and flow.

On and on may we all sing our songs,

Kalispell a fine place to grow.”

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