“Pass It On” – Remembering Kurt Kaiser

WACO – Christian musician, composer, conductor, and music industry executive, Kurt Kaiser, entered into Heaven on Monday, November 12, 2018.

A humble man by every account, the writer of more than 300 Christian songs was best known for two beloved choruses, “Oh How He Loves You and Me” and “Pass It On” written in the 1960s.

Christian musician, composer, conductor, and music industry executive, Kurt Kaiser, entered into Heaven on Monday, November 12, 2018.

“Pass It On” has endured as a staple of closing night campfire services at Christian camps, in part, because of its opening line, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” The first verse tells how that one spark of God’s love in one life can spread around the world if we just pass it on.

It only takes a spark to get a fire going
And soon all those around can warm up to its glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it
You spread your love to everyone
You want to pass it on

Kaiser worked alongside many other Christian artists including George Beverly Shea, Ralph Carmichael, Ethel Waters, and Joni Eareckson Tada as a conductor, arranger, accompanist, and artistic director.

In addition to his role as Vice President and Director of Music as Word records, he also held positions as president of the Waco Symphony Association and conductor of the Baylor Religious Hour Choir. He was a board member of the Gospel Music Association and the Christian Music Publishers Association and he helped to found DaySpring Baptist Church in Waco where he was the choir director for the past decade.

Terry York, a professor of Christian ministry and church music who knew Kaiser well from both Baylor University and DaySpring Baptist Church remarked,

He was a remarkable combination of musical excellence that could not be challenged, and heart and an ear for what the youth of American churches wanted to say.

From his own perspective, Kaiser observed,

The feeling that comes to me, being able to write something that’s so universally accepted, is, “Isn’t that amazing what will happen when you allow God to use your gifts?”

The many accolades he earned during his ministry include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), a Dove Award, induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Pro Ecclesia award from Baylor, and an Honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Trinity College in Illinois.

What other award could a man want? For Kurt Kaiser, the most important rewards were those laid up in Heaven and to be in the presence of the Savior of whom he wrote,

Oh, how He loves you and me
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life; What more could He give?
Oh, how He loves you and me.

For 82 years, Kurt Kaiser saw God’s love through a glass darkly, as we all do. Now he is experiencing how much He loves you and me face to face with our Savior.

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