Thursday, July 26, 2012

Come Unto Jesus

Whew!!  It's finally done!  This is a mostly unison song, with the exception of a really cool (IMHO) TTBB verse and a brief period of SSATB at the end.  You could really do a lot of variations with this song.  You could have it be an all men's arrangement all the way through...that could be really cool.

This arrangement, like all the ones before it, has been quite the adventure.  I started this arrangement with the intention of creating a vocal solo.  When I got to the second verse, I thought, "Wouldn't it be AWESOME to have some TTBB goin' on here?!?!  And wouldn't it be AWESOME to segueway into 'Nearer, My God To Thee'?" 

I woke up the next morning with an incredibly clear spiritual impression that I should not include any other hymns, that I should stick with just "Come Unto Jesus."  I couldn't say why, and as you all know, I try to go with the inspiration I receive.  I think I know now why I was supposed to stick with the one hymn, but I'm not going to say at this point.  I'm going to let that one play out a bit.

So I went to work creating a TTBB second verse.  Now THAT was fun!  The harmonies in that verse are probably some of my favorites in any arrangement I've done to date.

Finished with second verse...great.  Problem...I suddenly realized that the flow was ALL WRONG.  You can't just go from a soprano solo straight into a sudden full-on TTBB verse, right?  Usually there's some build-up to magnificent harmony, right?  Yeah...that's when the arrangement got put on the shelf for the first time (out of many).

Fast forward through all the boring details...let's just say that it was like pulling teeth to get this arrangement to come together in a way that flowed correctly.  This song never gave me goosebumps like my other arrangements did...

...until I had the privilege of listening to our ward choir running through it for the first time yesterday.  Don't I always say that hearing your arrangement LIVE for the first time is a magical experience?  This one didn't disappoint.  A big, HUGE thank you to Colleen Tibbets, our Ward Choir Director who humored me when I called her and asked if they could sing through it once for me even just in a practice so I could hear if it works or not.  We have a wonderful Ward Choir.  Our ward is FULL of amazing musicians, so we are quite lucky. 

Last, but not least, I have to again give credit where credit is due.  I know you probably get sick of me saying how grateful I am for the inspiration that comes from the Spirit when I need it.  The Lord made me work for this one a little harder, but that's ok.  Again, His timing is pretty incredible.  At the moment I was certain I should give up on this song and all future endeavors, convinced my music stunk...I got that awesome letter in the mail saying it most certainly DOESN'T stink!  (Once again, the letter didn't actually say that, but basically it did.)

OK, one last thing...if you use this arrangement in your ward, let me know how it goes!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Too Good To Be True!!

It just keeps getting better...I checked my mailbox this morning...check out what came today from Church Headquarters (regarding "The Lord is My Light"...see the post before this):

Dear Sister Giuliacci:

"...Although you did not receive a cash award, we would like to publish your work on the Church music web site.  Enclosed is a contract which confirms that the Church has permission, without further notice or compensation, to freely reproduce, perform, record, distribute and otherwise use your music submission.  If you agree, please return the signed document to our office before July 27.  If you agree, your work will be included in an Assembly Hall concert on October 26, 2012."

I'm sure I don't need to tell you all of the unfathomable shock and excitement I am currently feeling.  The last letter I received rendered me unable to sleep until 2AM that morning.  It's gonna be another long night, people.

I've already got the road trip all planned out, in case you are wondering.  I've never actually driven to Utah before.  It's time...BEST GIRLS' TRIP EVER!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Special Recognition!

Unexpected delivery in my mailbox yesterday:

I entered a few arrangements this year in the annual LDS Song Contest.  There are at least 8 categories and for each category there is an Award of Distinction, an Award of Merit, and Special Recognition.  My goal was to someday receive Special Recognition. 

The letter that accompanied this list of winners was in reference to "The Power to Choose" that I arranged for Debbie Fox.  It states:

"Although your submission, 'The Power to Choose' was not a recognized entry, we wanted you to know that it was among the finalists.  This is an accomplishment worthy of note, since there were scores of entries for review.  We commend you for your efforts and hope you will continue to submit works in future years.  For your information a list of recognized entries is enclosed"

SWEET!  I was thrilled for my friend Debbie who put her heart and soul into that song.  In fact, on a side note...our Primary Children will be singing it this fall as part of their Sacrament Meeting Presentation! 

So, while sitting at our swim teacher's pool watching swim lessons and reading this letter, I started to peruse the list of winners.  I recognized several names on the list including Janice Kapp Perry and Sally Deford.  Imagine my complete and utter surprise when, upon reading the last category, the last column, the last name..."'The Lord is My Light', Elizabeth Giuliacci, Tracy, CA"...

WHAT?!?!?! (screaming and jumping up and down)

I think Miss Marsha, our swim teacher must have thought a big hairy spider landed on me or something.  Unbelievable!  I still can't believe it.

Here's what I have to say about that...I have to give credit where credit is due.  I would be terribly remiss if I did not thank my Heavenly Father for the gift of music in my soul.  I'm grateful for the flows of inspiration that come when I least expect them.  Most of the great ideas I get are not my own.  Mostly they come from the Spirit OR they come from amazing friends.  I just do what I'm told!

I continue to be fascinated by the Lord's timing and how His hand is made manifest my life.  Check this out for timing: The night before I opened this letter, I went over to the Polson's house to try and finish up my latest arrangement.  This arrangement hasn't come quite as easily as the others have.  I worked on just a couple measures for over an hour and left their house wondering the following: Why do I even bother??  How do I know I don't stink?  What if my music is really pretty bad?  Seriously.  I wasn't feelin' it, people.  So then what happens??  The next day I get this amazing letter in the mail informing me that MY MUSIC DOESN'T STINK!!!!

They didn't exactly say it like that.  But they may as well have.