Augsburg Fortress

A Present Help in Trouble / Psalm 46

A Present Help in Trouble / Psalm 46

“A Present Help in Trouble” is a colorful, modern take on a popular Reformation text. The a cappella setting incorporates striking harmonies and text painting to illustrate the beauty of Psalm 46. The piece works well for concert performance or for a Sunday anthem.
  • In stock


  • Publisher Augsburg Fortress
  • Format Sheet Music
  • ISBN 9781451498745
  • Brand St. Olaf Choral Series
  • Dimensions 7 x 10.25
  • Pages 12
  • Season/Occasion Reformation
  • Difficulty Medium-Difficult
  • Voicing A cappella; SATB/4-part mixed
  • Publication Date February 18, 2015

Composer Commentary

After joining the rich choral tradition at St. Olaf College, I couldn’t help but write my own choral settings. Psalm 46 had always struck me as a distinctly poetic text, with its descriptions of nature’s glory, the Lord of hosts, and a resounding message of reassurance. 

I completed my first draft at the beginning of my sophomore year. While I had created a beautiful composition, I was naïve about the piece’s accessibility. John Ferguson, a master of writing simple yet stunning arrangements, helped me revise the setting so that it retained its original beauty, but could now be sung by many choirs. 

Several motives throughout the piece describe various aspects of God’s power and might, but the emphasis is on God’s role as protector and comforter, a present help in trouble. I drew inspiration from my grandmother, Gail Bohannon, who played this role in my life while I was growing up. I hope this work conveys the love (and patience!) she showed me during my childhood.