At The Cross works for both small and large vocal ensembles. The clarity and simplicity of this setting of the familiar melody make it fitting for all congregations while the artistry is sufficiently high to fit into a concert program in an academic environment. The music is within the grasp of most mixed ensembles and also rewards good musicianship. It allows a choir to show artistic merit without enduring exhaustive preparation.
The piano accompaniment uses a pitch set extracted from the melodic line of John Wimber’s Isn’t He and turns it into a obligato line persisting throughout the piece to produce a shifting atmosphere of consonance and dissonance. This delicate accompaniment directs the focus onto the text while providing the perfect amount of color and interest.
At the Cross replaces Ralph Hudson’s traditional refrain (“and now I am happy all the day”) with new text to reflect the reality that the Christian walk is not one of temporal “happiness” but one of secure rest in a comforting shepherd.