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He Shall Feed His Flock/Come Unto Him

About the Song

Music by GF Handel, from “Messiah”
Arranged by Sally DeFord

During a “Messiah Sing-along” that I conducted some years ago, we chose to let the congregation sing this selection. As I listened to them, I realized that this song would make a gorgeous choral. (Why didn’t Handel do it? Probably because it wouldn’t include all those lovely high notes and impossible-for-the-average-choir-to-make-sound-nice passages that he was so very fond of.)

So in spite of the fact that I was supposed to be focusing on conducting The Messiah, I took a mental time-out to ask, “Heavenly Father, why isn’t this a choral?” His immediate answer was, “Well, do something about it.”

Isn’t that the way of it? You ask a question, and get an assignment.

15 years later, I finally found the nerve to try. Seriously… arrange Handel??? Kinda presumptuous if you ask me.

There were some interesting challenges involved. First, it’s so beautiful in it’s original form when performed well, that you could argue that it needs no arranging. However…

It’s written for orchestral accompaniment. Most of us don’t have an orchestra at our disposal, and the traditional piano reduction is… well… boring. It hammers the melody line; there are places where the left hand holds one note for 30 counts; it’s rather repetitive; it takes two very skilled soloists to make it work; and it’s not written for choir. (Ah, there’s the kicker!)

And then… how much “arranging” do you actually do? Do you simply harmonize the melody over four parts and call it good? That would be a more “purist” sort of approach, but… but…. but… there’s so much potential there!

In the end, I stayed fairly true to the chord structure of the original (a challenge for this jazz lover), and I kept the melody as it’s traditionally performed but I shared it around a bit and put some motion in the harmony parts. I gave the piano something to do, and used the violin as counterpoint.

The SATB and Solo versions are not identical, so you can’t mix the scores, though if you want to sing the solo a half-step higher, the choir score will work just fine to accompany a solo voice.

Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)


He Shall Feed His Flock/Come Unto Him (feat. Rebecca Lord)
He Shall Feed His Flock/Come Unto Him (Accompaniment Track)
He Shall Feed His Flock/Come Unto Him (Piano Track)


Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Rebecca Lord:

Accompaniment track (higher):

Piano track (higher):

Recording featuring vocals by James Loynes:

Accompaniment track (lower):


  (Video provided to YouTube by outside parties may contain ads that may be skipped after a few seconds.)


He shall feed His flock like a shepherd
And He shall gather the lambs with His arm
And carry them in His bosom
And gently lead those that are with young

Come unto Him, ye heavy laden
Come unto Him, all ye that labour
And He will give you rest
Take His yoke upon you and learn of Him
For He is meek and lowly of heart
And ye shall find rest unto your souls

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂


  1. Uxua Sanz

    I’m so thankful for this beautiful arrangement!!!! Our ward choir sang it today and I felt the spirit so strong.

  2. Mary Marshall

    Sally, this is wonderful, thank you! I went looking online for a “choir” version of this beautiful song as an anthem to sing next Sunday, to reflect the conclusion of the gospel reading for Pentecost 6A (Matthew 11:15-19, 25-30). There’s not time to learn it now unfortunately, but I will save it for a future occasion. Thank you for making it available freely and allowing photocopying for non-commercial use. This is greatly appreciated.

  3. Agnes Weaver

    May our church use your accompaniment tracks for online services which we stream and post on youtube?

    • Sally DeFord

      As long as the YouTube videos aren’t monetized, you’re welcome to use them for streaming or YouTube!

  4. Anthony Despain

    Beaufiful accompaniment of “He Shall Feed His Flock”- love it! Violin and piano are beautiful together

  5. Roberta Houston

    Hi, Sally – I printed out your instructions for “personal composer” and tried to follow them. I got to Download, but it won’t open. I tried a Troubleshoot on my computer (desktop, Windows 10), and it said the program was for Windows 7? Could that be right? Do you have an updated version?

  6. Carrie

    I love this! FYI there should be d naturals in the choir parts in measure 31. There is one missing in the soprano, alto and the tenor part. The piano part could also use a d natural in the 3rd beat, upper voice. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent!

    • Sally DeFord

      Thanks for the heads-up! All fixed. I hope. 😉

  7. Natasha

    Amazing! Handel’s “Messiah” is my piano teacher’s most beloved piece of work. She used to produce it for a local church for a number of years. I’m so glad you took on the challenge; it’s beautiful!

  8. Mary

    Thank you for sharing your story and your arrangement. I sing it in prayer and it keeps coming back as a gift in times of weakness especially and brings me back to praise God’s Presence.

  9. Kjirsten McOmber

    This is so beautiful!!! I love it so much!!!!


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