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To Those Who Came Before Me

About the Song

Church Music Contest: Hymn Text division–2nd place 1990;
Anthem/Hymn Arrangement division–Award of Merit 1993

Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)


To Those Who Came Before Me (feat. James Loynes)
To Those Who Came Before Me (Accompaniment track)
To Those Who Came Before Me (Piano track)


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

Recording featuring vocals by James Loynes:

Accompaniment track:

Piano track:

Apple Music, Amazon

These files may be copied/shared in any quantity in any physical format unless otherwise noted. They may not be re-sold or offered for download.


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


To those who came before me in seasons long ago
To those who are the loved-ones that I have yet to know
To those whose noble names I bear,
whose light within me burns
To them in gratitude shall my heart be turned

To those whose lives of courage prepared the way for me
Whose works became my heritage,
whose harvest I may reap
Who left for me a legacy that I have yet to earn
To them in gratitude shall my heart be turned

To those who came before me in days and years long past
To those who are the family that I shall know at last
To those who seek the blessings
of the truth that I have learned*
To them in gratitude shall my heart be turned

*alternate lyrics for heritage tribute theme: Who laid a sure foundation for the truth that I have learned…

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


  1. Pam Low

    Can the cello part be used with SATB?

  2. Marci

    Our small church choir sang this song last Sunday for All Saint’s Sunday. We love it so much we are saving it to sing again next June to celebrate our church’s 150th anniversary. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  3. Ladislav Kubiznak

    I heard the composition for the first time in the baroque church of St. Michael in the village of Vernerovice, played by Simona Hodrova on the violin and Jakub Milsky on the piano. It was a wonderful experience, thank you
    Ladislav – Bohemia-Europe

  4. Patricia

    Wonderful inspiring song for Pioneer Day especially.

  5. Jane Topham

    This is a beautiful number that has blessed a lot of lives. We used it as family history missionaries in the Philippines Queson Mission along with our instructions and power points to teach Family Search.

  6. Alison Shona Nixon

    Hi Sally,
    this is a perfect song for the service next Sunday.
    Can we pay you for the use of it ?
    thank you,
    Alison Nixon
    Music Director
    North Shore Unitarian Church
    west Vancouver Canada

    • Sally DeFord

      No, you can’t pay me… but you’re welcome to use it! 😉

  7. R.J.

    I LOVE this song. We sing it at some of our reunions every year. Reunions are perfect for thinking of those who went before us. Also, we sing it to touch the lives of relatives who have never known their ancestors, or who once did, and need to be reminded of how their efforts have affected our lives.

    Thank you for writing it and making it available to the public.

  8. Sarah Dysart

    Sally, I LOVE this song SO MUCH!!! I like every song you’ve written that I’ve heard, but this one is definitely my favorite. I think it is comforting, and when we sing it in Sacrament Meeting as a choir it brings the Holy Spirit immediately. Thank you for writing “To Those Who Came Before Me”!

    • Janet Izzo

      I am hearing this for the first time as our stake RS is planning “Generations Linked in Love” and it will be perfect to accompany a slide show of family pictures! Thank you from Minneapolis!

  9. MJ

    Hi Sally, My friends and I sang “To Those Who Came Before Us” today as part of our Pioneer Sacrament mtg. We added a third part and sang it SSA. The spirit was here in abundance and many hearts were touched. Thank you for writing such beautiful music and sharing it here on your site. God bless!

  10. Lissette Morales

    Beautiful song! Does it have lyrics in Spanish? I would love to have the “spanish version” That would be awesome! Thanks for your beautiful songs!

  11. Scott F. Pires, Church Organist

    Such a beautiful, poignant song, that fits the celebration of All Saints Day for The first weekend in November. We, here at Candleberry Chapel rejoice in celebrating all of your wonderfully powerful and inspiring musical praises to the Lord. Our soloist will sing “To Those Who Came Before Me ” for All Saints Day, in tribute to all those who are departed, but never forgotten. It is one of the ways we will demonstrate our never ending love for all those we have lost to this earthly world, but continue to live on forever in our hearts. Thank you Sally.

    • sallydeford

      You’re so kind! Thank you. Your comment made my day. 🙂

  12. Sheila Froendt, Omaha, NE

    Thank you for this very beautiful song. I am a retired grandmother who is working on a musical with my granddaughter about the women’s suffragette movement one hundred years ago. This song is perfect for the women to sing before they go out and vote for the first time in November of 1920. We are planning on a performance at my granddaughter’s school in November of 2018 and if it goes well, maybe at a community theater. I read your FAQ’s about what is permitted use and it seems like that would be all right, but I wanted to make sure. Please let me know if there would be any problem in performing this song in that manner. Thank you very much.

    • sallydeford

      No problem. Best of luck with it!

  13. Dora Gay Anderson

    I want to thank you once again for the most beautiful music and lyrics you have so generously given to us. I love this song and many others you have done. This one fits my heart as I love doing family history work for my ancestors and it also expresses my love for my ancestors who founded this free country where the gospel could be restored.
    Thanks you so much for sharing the wonderful talent Heavenly Father has given you.
    We plan to sing this as a ward choir in the month of July which fits both the celebration of our country and our pioneers.
    Dora Gay Anderson in Alamosa, CO.

  14. Cindy

    Three women sang this in Sacrament meeting in July as part of Pioneer music – in unison. The pianist said, and I agree, that this is a great song to push out temptation, because it really gets stuck in your head! It would be a great youth pioneer trek theme song! Thanks so much!


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