Paul Mealor is approaching a life-changing moment: the music he composed for the royal wedding will soar to the arched ceiling of Westminster Abbey on Friday, heard by hundreds of millions around the world.
Mealor's composition of "Ubi Caritas" _ "Wherever charity and love are to be found, God is there" _ will be sung by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty's Chapel Royal immediately after the sermon Friday.
"The ceremony is going to be, without a doubt, the most emotionally intense and exhilarating hour of my life," Mealor said. He plans to be watching at home Friday with his mother.
The program for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton places Mealor among some of the great names of British music: Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, Sir William Walton, Benjamin Britten, Sir Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the current Master of the Queen's Music, and John Rutter.
Much of the music reflects the tastes of William's father, Prince Charles, who reportedly worked with Middleton on the selections.
"They spent a lot of time listening to the music together on i-Pods," said a royal spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Some of the music also featured in Charles' 1981 wedding to Lady Diana Spencer, including Parry's "I was glad," which will be sung as the bride enters the Abbey, and Walton's march, "Crown Imperial," written for the coronation of King George VI, to be played by the London Chamber Orchestra as the couple leave.
"Farewell to Stromness," by Maxwell Davies, was among the music chosen for Charles' second wedding in 2005. It is one of the pre-service choices for Friday.
Mealor, 35, was born in Wales, where William is based as a Royal Air Force rescue helicopter pilot, and "Ubi caritas" premiered in October at St. Andrews University in Scotland, where the royal couple met.
The day after the worldwide broadcast, "Ubi caritas" will be available as a download from Decca Records.
Mealor's music may remind some of the compositions of Morten Lauridsen or Eric Whitacre.
Alan Cooper, reviewing Mealor's "Now sleeps the crimson petal" for The Herald newspaper in Glasgow, wrote: "Surprising turns of harmony accomplished within a traditional tonal ambiance gave this composer's music a uniquely seductive freshness."
Rutter, whose compositions are favorites of British choirs, was commissioned by Westminster Abbey to make a new musical setting for words from several Psalms beginning with a verse from Psalm 118: "This is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Parry composed "I was glad," based on words from Psalm 122, for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, and it has been used at every coronation since.
On Friday, the choir will omit the "Vivat" section in which the monarch is praised by name, most recently "Vivat Regina Elizabetha!" That section is only used during the coronation ceremony.
Parry also set the words by William Blake of one of the three wedding hymns, "Jerusalem," a staple at British weddings but a sore point with some priests who find it too nationalistic or insufficiently religious.
The other royal wedding hymns are "Love divine, all loves excelling" and "Guide me, O thou great redeemer," which was also the final hymn at Princess Diana's funeral in Westminster Abbey in 1997.