See the sheet music here!
The conclusion (finally, I KNOW!) to the story of how I REALLY started arranging music.
That RS function was the first time that Linda had heard Benjamin's Song performed. It is my understanding that she loved it. So much that she wanted to take it to a professional recording studio to have it recorded for posterity. Linda scheduled it for Spring Break, when Rebecca would be in town visiting for Easter. Rebecca was to play the piano for the recording, her being the one who started this whole thing in the first place, and the one who is Benjamin's posterity. Bob was invited to come sing for the recording as well. I was thrilled to be asked to come along and help Rebecca and Bob rehearse, being as Rebecca had never worked with Bob or the arrangement before.
It was just 2 weeks before the recording studio date when Bob and I decided to rehearse again just to make sure we had it. It was then that I realized that I didn't know that Linda and Rebecca intended to have all 10 verses recorded in lieu of the version we did for the Stake RS function which was only 4 out of the 10 verses.
This posed an ENORMOUS new set of challenges...HOLY COW!! If they did 10 verses like that over and over again....that would get pretty redundant. That's when I urged Linda and Rebecca to consider making the hymn a 5 verse hymn like I had originally heard it in my head. They immediately agreed.
I told Rebecca to come up with the complete melody for the whole hymn and get it to me ASAP...I mean seriously!! The recording studio date was looming only 2 weeks away...less, even, I think. Linda showed up at my doorstep the next morning, melody in hand. I was worried that the accompaniment wouldn't come as easily as it had before, but I sat down with it immediately and the same amazing experience happened yet again. I heard exactly how it was supposed to sound and it was childishly easy. This time, I was prepared and I wrote it down immediately.
We went to the recording studio on April 8, 2010. This place in Stockton, Studio C was AWESOME!! The studio had a large room with a GORGEOUS black Steinway grand piano. The whole process took about 2.5 hours. It was amazing what Sam, our recording engineer was able to do with his fancy-schmancy equipment.
We all joked in the studio that everyone involved in this project is now family. I, however was feeling something less than joking. That whole day, I felt a weird something connecting me to this Benjamin Brown...something more than just a really cool song. Something more than these wonderful friends Linda, Rebecca, Rex, and Bob.
I decided to dig further the next day to see if there is any connection in our family trees that would make us even remotely related. It was a longshot because I wasn't aware of any early Latter-Day Saint heritage on either side of my family, what with both of my parents having joined the Church together as newlyweds in the early 1970s.
Sure enough, I received word from my favorite Uncle Kent that, through marriage, Benjamin Brown IS related to me!! I mean...NO WAY!! Benjamin's great-grandfather John Brown married a woman named Abigail Randall who is my first cousin 10 times removed. So if we do the math right, then Benjamin Brown...through marriage...is my first cousin 7 times removed. I KNEW IT!!!
But on a serious note...this whole experience has had an unimaginable impact on me and my family. I never before thought that I would be able to arrange music like this. It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to work with the Brown family on such an inspiring project so dear to their family...and now mine!
A photo of Benjamin (can you see the family resemblance?!?!):
I don't think Rex and Linda have put me in their will yet...