#250: Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #250, on the subject of Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.

The peculiar thing about Christian rock music in the 1970s is that it was almost all evangelistic.  As I noted before, during the Jesus Movement if you were a musician it was assumed God had called you to be an evangelist, or at least to play at evangelistic rallies to attract unbelievers to hear the message.

Today the expectation is entirely different.  We expect our musicians to lead worship.  It doesn’t even occur to us that this puts them squarely in the realm of pastoral ministry, but helping people approach God is the task of pastors, and that’s what worship leaders do.  In the seventies we didn’t really have these–even Chuck Girard’s previously mentioned Sometimes Alleluia isn’t really so much a worship song as a song about worship, an instructional as it were.  Yet one person appeared on the scene who understood that not all music ministry was evangelistic, who led worship and who wrote and recorded songs that were focused on worship.  His name was Ted Sandquist.

Sandquist was a leader in a community that had its own place in the history of the Jesus Movement, The Love Inn in Freeville, New York.  One of the other leaders there was Scott Ross, who as a radio disk jockey came out of the drug culture into being an evangelist, reaching into schools as part of an anti-drug program.  Guitarist Phil Keaggy (still to come in our series) was also there for a time.  It was something of a community or possibly commune dedicated to the pursuit of Christian faith and practice, something like a modern version of a monastery but without the gender restrictions.  Its very name hints at the connection between the hippie movement and the subsequent Jesus movement.

I mentioned having heard Sandquist and spoken with him after a concert he and Keaggy did somewhere in north Jersey; those comments are mentioned in web log post #163:  So You Want to Be a Christian Musician, and are what I most remember about him.  However, I was exposed to his album of the time, The Courts of the King, and remember Lion of Judah from it.  He was accompanied by the people at Love Inn.  I sang and played his song All That I Can Do many times before I recognized that the melody came from another famous bit of worship music (I have since wondered whether he or anyone else ever realized it).

Yet the best song I ever heard from Ted Sandquist goes by several names.  I knew it as Eternally Grateful, but I see online that it was also known as I Am Grateful, I Am, You Are Messiah, You Are, and I Am Eternally Grateful.  It was co-written with Keaggy–and there is not a single copy of this song anywhere online that I can find.  It was released on his 1984 album Let the Whole Earth Be Filled, but Jeff Zurheide and I were singing it at least a decade before that.  Its absence from the web is a serious loss to Christian worship music.


The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244:  Missed The Archers.
  8. #246:  The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.

29 thoughts on “#250: Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist”

  1. I had the privilege of seeing Ted perform live with Phil Keaggy a few times in the mid-seventies. Your comment about the melody being from Beethoven was actually confirmed by Ted himself during one of those concerts. Ted stated openly that the melody for All That I Can Do was “A little snatch of Beethoven.” (A direct quote, BTW) I don’t know why but his explanation and his words (which were followed by light-hearted laughter from the audience) are still very vivid in my memory these forty-plus years later. Having visited Love Inn on several occasions I can attest to Ted’s directing and instructing that community in what we now refer to as “vertical worship,” which as you pointed out is quite commonplace today but relatively unknown of then. He truly was a pioneer in that regard.

    When you discuss Phil Keaggy I’d love to share getting saved at a Glass Harp concert…

    When you write

    1. Keaggy is indeed on the list, but I’ve got a few people in front of him. It’s not a very scientific sequence, I suppose, but it’s the best I could do.

      I look forward to your comments then.

  2. I first heard this song in the early seventies. It was on a cassette tape by Ted Sandquist called “Higher Up”. I wore the tape out over many years and assumed the songs were lost forever to me. I began searching the web around 2000 for any information, and finally in 2011, I found a website of Sandquist’s music that had been set up by his son. On the site they announced that after much consideration, they had edited and were releasing “Higher Up” on CD. I immediately ordered it, and when it arrived, all the songs from the tape were on it. One side is a live concert from October 1973 at Love Inn where Ted is introduced by Scott Ross. The other side is a studio recording featuring Ted’s wife, Nedra Ross (one of the famous Ronettes) several other voices, and Phil Keaggy on guitar. It is a musical masterpiece which I will forever treasure. Ted truly understood Christian worship, and the live portion is an incredible worship service. Even the studio version is very heartfelt. I will see if I can find the link to his website, and if I do, I will post it here. These are songs for the ages, just as relevant today as when they were written.

    1. Chris, that’s good news, and indeed, Ted was the first Contemporary Christian musician to understand worship music, and I would love to see some of his songs reintroduced to the modern worship scene.

      –M. J. Young

      1. Ed, there’s a comment somewhere on this article from Jordan Sandquist, who says that they are working on getting the old music out there. I’m hoping he will reappear with links.

        –M. J. Young

    2. I was there at love inn , also. I watched them record higher up and further in / 1973. They gave me the cassette and I made a cd later. Hurricane Ian 9/23 consumed all my records and tapes and cd’s along with my home and car. My longing desire is to find that music which I have the printed lyrics that I had at a daughter’s home. Any help I would be so blessed!!!! Now almost 80 years and I need to hear the music which I played and worshiped with endlessly as he led us to the throne. Love inn week at believer’s homes and recording and concert and school . Forever a catalyst to grow my faith and gratitude.

  3. We wish to share something about our earlier years when we were there with Ted Sandquist at the upstate NY community in an earlier decade. By the way, Ted’s wife is/was Dawn Sandquist. Nedra of the Ronettes was married to Scott Ross, a Christian D J. This entity too, your contributor/writer, was actually at the Love Inn Christian Fellowship in the Summers of 1972, ’73 & ’74. and
    known in that experience – to Phil Keaggy & Ted Sandquist, musicians unto the Lord, and everyone in that Christian Community in Freeville, NY, as simply, “Fran, the Etcher” because at that juncture, she had produced an original etching of the barn that was given to the worshipping community by Peg Hardesty, it’s owner. The ministers and community of Christian ecumenical believers in the Lord came together turning the barn into a place of music and worship that was known all over the Ithaca, Freeville, Cortland, and Groton, NY Finger Lakes region. It was a special, miraculous coming together where the Spirit led believers. People’s hearts and minds were opened to practicing the principles of the Golden Rule as expressed in The Beatitudes of Y’shua. The experience of ‘being there’ for many of us was an awakening from the inside out, an other worldly life saving one that took the stone away from our hearts and gave rise to a mystical but practical application of beliefs into right actions as directed by the Spirit of the Lord. This was a period of time in which originally created Devotional Music and a free Spirit guided and inspired Phil and Ted to lead us in charismatic Songs of Worship. Many of the groups and Christian musicians performed at larger gatherings in Lancaster, Pennsylvania known as the Jesus Movement Concerts of 1973 & of 1974. It seemed to us to be a special time of spiritual awakening, and those experiences provided an important link to that transcribed interdimensional document, ‘A Course in Miracles’ coming into our dimension from the eternal that is “beyond the laws of time and space” (ACIM), one that found us in a later linear time frame. That essential document, now in 2020, translated into over 26 languages – came to be known as ‘A Course in Miracles’, a sacred teaching containing a Text, a Workbook of 365 practical lessons to retrain the mind, and gently outgrow the ego, and a Manual for Teachers from it’s Author, Y’shua. Two smaller works came later on and were also transcribed by Dr.Helen Schucman, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, known as “The Song of Prayer” and one about Psychology as His newer message is one of Self -Study and is considered as Spiritual Psychology. ‘A Course in Miracles’ is concerned not with sensational physical miracles, but with miracles of Forgiveness. Terms in the Course, – (Copyright, 1975-76 by The Foundation for Inner Peace, CA) , (FIP is in The Marin County area, CA) , – have new meanings different than those that may have been imparted in the ensuing 2000 plus years of divisions of historical and ritualistic traditions. This applies especially to the true meaning in the Course’s definition of the meaning of Forgiveness which is not the one we may have been taught. The greatest teacher of ‘A Course in Miracles’ in this time (approx. 1965 – December 2013 ), who lived to write 37 books was Dr.Ken Michael Wapnick, Ph.D. He was one of the kindest teachers this entity has ever known. Ken and his wife, Gloria, founded a Teaching Center that was once located in Roscoe, NY. They relocated their Center to Temecula, Southern California, which contained a bookstore known as ‘The Oasis of Peace.’ Their Miracles Teaching Center was known as The Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM). After Ken went to be with the Lord, their ministry was guided to move out of Southern Cal to Henderson, Nevada. Ken’s many teaching DVDs and books,mp3s and other helpful items can be ordered online from their NV location. ( Call Jeff. They have hours M-TH. ) Another contemporary musician who was directed to read and study ‘The Course’, printed in blue volumes with gold letters (USA edition) is Gary Renard, author of “The Disappearance of the Universe” and subsequent bestselling books. We know him personally and his songwriter and singer wife, Cindy Lora-Renard. Both are now teachers of Y’shua’s newer message, unencumbered by thousands of years of misconstrued, biased messages. Gary and Cindy are also connected to Dr. Jerry Jampolsky, M.D., Psychiatrist and his wife, Diane Cirincione-Jampolsky, Ph.D., Psychology. Jerry is the Founder of the Centers for Attitudinal Healing (over 100 worldwide), a Miracles’ Principles’ -based outreach for children with challenging illnesses and their parents and families who need social, emotional, psychological and spiritual support. Dr.Jerry’s “Twelve Principles of Attitudinal Healing” are implemented in many modern late 20th and early 21st Century businesses. His bestselling books include “Love is Letting Go of Fear” and “Goodbye to Guilt.” They are amazing people, the Jampolsky family and Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D., Psychology, Jerry’s son, is also a writer and book author. They are friends of Marianne Williamson and Judith Skutch Whitson, Publisher of ‘A Course in Miracles.’ This entity has met Jerry and Diane and Marianne in her current experience. There is a newsletter published by the Miracles Distribution Center, near Disneyland, CA. In it readers and searchers will enjoy perusing the columns written by the Jampolskys and others. That group publishes annually a beautifully photographed calendar with uplifting scripts, one for each of the 12 months of the year.
    Thank you for your interest in this dream thread written about our life experiences and discovering your page on this website revisiting some of Ted Sandquist’s, Phil Keaggy’s and Keith Green’s wonderful music we enjoyed many years ago, but it seems like only a few days ago, but we are now in early 2020. Tempus fugit. Read Ken’s book ‘Time a Vast Illusion’or watch his DVD, “The Metaphysics of Time” . Einstein was correct when he theorized that past, present and future occur in sync, simul (Latin), meaning “at the same time.) at once.” You who are intrigued by science and especially by modern physics and psychology may like to start studying ‘A Course in Miracles’ here. It has many parts written in iambic pentameter like Shakespeare wrote and it is a circular course that is not from our world, but it is here to guide us to inner healing. Everything connected to it comes from the miracle of Love. As Dr. Guy McPherson, Ph.D., Conservation Biologist says, “…Only love remains” and that is part of the title to his latest book.

  4. I just found this site. I am one of the blessed ones that came to the Lord at Love Inn in 1974; got baptized in the pond that was out back of the barn at the time, and got to grow under Scott Ross’s teaching, with Ted Sanquist and Phil Keaggys music. So many wonderful memories. I find myself searching out Ted’s music when I feel like worshipping. Today’s music is okay, but for this (senior citizen now) day, I choose to listen to the 70’s Jesus movement music as it blesses my heart and spirit.

    1. Thank you, Mary Ellen. I was in high school in upstate New Jersey, so although I never got to go to Love Inn, Scott and Phil and Ted came to us more than once.

      Someone just asked over on Facebook what to do when the new songs don’t feel like worship, and I said sing the old ones. I even suggested he look up Ted’s music. I really would hate for the church to lose some of that; it was truly wonderful.

  5. Stumbled into this thread and was very grateful to find it and all of you precious ones. I also was at some gatherings with Ted and Phil in NJ. Once at Bethany Church in Wyckoff and another at Ramsey High School. It may have been another school. I had and also wore out a Higher Up tape. How grateful to be coninuing on with Jesus after all these years. Still knowing the heights and depths of His boundless love and grace. Blessings to you all.

    1. Welcome, Mar. I won’t say that Ted and Phil never played at Ramsey, but that’s my alma mater so I think I would have remembered. They did play in Allendale at Northern Highlands Regional High School; that’s the concert I remember.

      –M. J. Young

  6. I absolutely love this , don’t know how I didn’t find this earlier, thank you for such a great read! My family is finally getting some of dad’s music on the web. PSOL music, my channel and our church (In Christ Church and Ministries or ICCM) are adding Youtube content regularly if you want to hear some oldies or new stuff, there you go! Dad is alive and well (though he had a rough bout with COVID19 a year ago) and we are all still writing worship music. Blessings on one and all, all to the glory of God

    1. Jordan, I’d love to have those links. If the software here won’t let you post them, e-mail them to me at mjyoung at mjyoung dot net, and I’ll see they get posted.


      –M. J. Young

  7. Well Ted Sandquist’s music was what kept me sane. The Higher up and further in cassette was played so many times.
    I was part of the coffee house that sponsored concerts by him and Phil Keaggy. They played for a three day concert in Allendale NJ in April 1975. Also we had the Phil Keaggy band play at Ramsey High School for two days in 1978 or 79. They even played for an in school assembly during the the day at the high school. I have cassettes from both concert. I’m not sure if I can legally make the public.
    Ted was a true modern day psalmist. His songs were centered around God. In my opinion many of the worship songs today are centered around “me” and what God does for “me.”
    I miss his music and the spirit that was behind it. It was a special time.

    1. My speculation would be that that coffeehouse was The Mustard Seed in Ramsey. I was there almost from the beginning, being connected to several of the founders including Jack Haberer (and having been to a few of Phil Wolfe’s “prayer raps” before that). My band, The Last Psalm, never played there, but did play most of the area coffeehouses, and I’m not aware of one closer to Allendale than that. I’m also guessing that that April 1975 concert in Allendale is the one I attended, where I met Ted and Phil (I’m pretty certain it was at Highlands Regional High School), but at the time I was unaware of The Mustard Seed’s involvement, as I was off to college in the fall of ’73.

      1. Yes It was the Mustard seed Coffee house. I became a Christian 1972 and started going to the Mustard seed in 1973 and continued until 1979. I have great memories from that time. we hosted many concerts. I don’t remember the last Psalm, I will ask my brother Skip if he remembers your band. There were so many great local bands and musicians at the time. Jack is in Texas. He is a Presbyterian minster and Phil is retired living in Vermont.

        1. Indeed, I attended quite regularly in 72 and early 73. I went to college fall of 73, in Teaneck which was just far enough away to impede my regular attendance. I was somewhat loosely friends with Rock Garden’s rhythm guitarist Dennis Mullins (our mothers were friends) and remember their concert at Carnegie Hall (well, O.K., they were fourth on a bill of six, which included Danny Taylor and Andre Crouch). Unfortunately, The Last Psalm never played The Mustard Seed–we played the Luther College Coffeehouse Night (Teaneck) in February ’74, and appeared several times at The Barn (Lodi?) and New Life Coffeehouse (Maywood), did our final concert at Maranatha (New Milford?) in maybe June ’75, with a few others including a youth outing for the 1st Pres. of Ramsey at the park in Ramsey, probably spring ’74.

          I’m still in touch with Jack via Facebook (and his brother Geoff). We graduated from Ramsey High together, formed half of the school’s barbershop quartet (Geoff was the lead) and toured in Romania with the chorus, so we weren’t best friends but knew each other pretty well. I recently reconnected with Ruthann Mekita, who was at the Mustard Seed until spring 1974 (sang in The Last Psalm). What else? I use to drive a lot of people home after the Mustard Seed meetings in a ’65 blue Chevelle wagon. Well, that’s more than you wanted to know, I’d wager.

          1. I think I remember you. I think you drove me home once. Do you have a brother Neil, we were in the same grade. And do you have a sister Andrea, I remember her from the Mustard seed.
            I was the one who ran the book table at the coffee house. I do remember meeting you. You made an impression on me.
            I met many great people from the Mustard seed. It certainly built my faith and kept me out of trouble.
            This has gotten of subject, but the influence of Ted’s music had a big impact on us. Most of the worship music we sang was his.
            In my opinion the Jesus movement was a revival and musicians such as Ted and Phil and others were part of the revival on the east coast.

            1. Yes, Neil was my little brother, my sister was Annette. And it’s likely–I think at one time or another I must have driven everybody home.

              I remember a young blond kid at the book table; if that’s you, you’re not forgotten either–although “made an impression” can be a scary thought.

              Dr. J. Edwin Orr has said that revivals are God’s recruitment drives. I can’t begin to recall all the people I knew from then who went into ministry of one sort or another–Jack Haberer, Dave Oldham, John Bolton, and I guess I’m on that list. It was definitely a time of revival, and the musicians were all a big part of that. Ted in particular was really the one person who was teaching us that music was used for worship, not just evangelism.

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