The inspiration for this song came in August 2011 after I had completed my first vocal arrangement, "Grateful Praise". Still so new to arranging and in complete and utter shock that I could actually DO this, I was feverishly searching for my next big project. I came home from church and flipped through the hymn book, trolling, trolling...BOOM! "Onward Christian Soldiers"!! Now THAT would make a great arrangement! I was only a few measures into writing the arrangement when I was literally HIT with the realization that this song would pair perfectly with "We'll Bring The World His Truth", even though they have different time signatures, I figured that could be worked around.
Then, it came to mind that Debbie Fox, our Primary Chorister had been searching for an arrangement of "We'll Bring the World His Truth" for the upcoming Primary Program. Now THAT's an awkward phone conversation..."ummm...you know how you're looking for an arrangement? How 'bout if I just do it??" But I was FEELIN' IT!! I was now coming to find out that when an arrangement is meant to be, it happens very quickly, and gives me gooosebumps all over while tears flow as I sit at the piano working. Debbie, bless her heart, gave me a chance.
What an amazing experience that was, having finished the arrangement and then going into Primary and listening, for the first time, to those children sing my arrangement with their hearts. They were so excited to have a special accompaniment for their song. Words can't describe my joy.
But here's where it starts to get cool. I have a favorite family in our ward...the
VonTrapp VanKatwyk Family. I have taught all 4 of their children piano lessons...actually, strike that too...the kids basically taught themselves and I just sat back and watched them play at each lesson. Nathan (16) and Peter (14) Vankatwyk eagerly agreed to accompany this song. Peter, at age 14 mastered that piano part that I couldn't quite accurately play, myself! And Nathan rocked that organ, foot pedals and all, with some help from little bro Seth on the trumpet part (picture Andrew Unsworth and Clay Christiansen with the MoTab). Their excitement was contagious!
Even cooler than that was the Sunday in Senior Primary when we had been rehearsing and our sweet little Seth raised his hand and said, "I think we should record this song for the PROPHET!" Yes, Seth...you're totally right. We SHOULD record this song for the Prophet!
And so we began our recording studio journey. We had 2 sessions with Sam York (coolest recording engineer EVER!) at Studio C Recording Studio in Stockton, CA. I hauled Peter and Nathan down to the studio and they worked their tails off for a couple solid hours trying to hammer out the accompaniment track for the song. They weren't nervous at all. They went in there and got the job done and did an amazing job.
The plan was to invite our Primary Kids and Ward Members to the studio to volunteer their voices. These people had to drive the 30 minutes out to Stockton, wait around, and wait some more and let me be their boss for a couple hours. I wasn't sure how many people would show up. But show up, they DID! I never counted how many people were there, but I was feelin' the love, people! Our volunteer choir did an amazing job!
This was also the first song I had to get copyright permission for. How does THAT work? I looked up Janice Kapp Perry's website. Yyyyeaaa...that's Janice Kapp Perry that answers the phone at the 1-800 number on the "Contact" tab. Go ahead. Try it. Call her up and tell her how awesome she is, cause she SO TOTALLY IS! Anyway, me and Janice are besties now. Seriously.
We haven't sent our recording to the Prophet yet. We are still putting together the perfect presentation for him. But rest assured, we expect our Primary to be eagerly watching the next General Conference session, waiting for a shout out from the Prophet, even if it's just a subliminal wiggle of his ears. :-)