Saturday, August 24, 2013

Joseph Smith's First Prayer

See the sheet music here!

Nathan Vankatwyk, from the Hidden Lake Ward, has been called to serve the Lord in the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo West Mission.  He leaves September 11.  He requested "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" for his arrangement.

I realize that it doesn't SOUND like "Joseph Smith's First Prayer", ok?  That's because if you go to the back of the Hymn Book, there's a section called "Meters".  You can do tricky stuff like singing the WORDS from one hymn, to the TUNE of another hymn.  So this audio will sound like "Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah"...but that's totally on purpose.  And for all you music nerds out there...YES, the flute is playing Bach.  It's my shout-out to The Piano Guys...who are quite possibly the coolest guys in the universe.

Elder Nathan Vankatwyk

I've asked Nathan to share his testimony with you.

"I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I have a testimony of the Savior and of the atonement that he graciously fulfilled. Through this and living the gospel, we can be happy in this life and in the life to come. I know that families can be together forever. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, that it brings us the fullness of the gospel. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I know that the decision to serve a mission was one of the best decisions of my life. I'm very excited to be able to share the gospel with the people of the Dominican Republic. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Amen."

Now this is MY "Ode to Nathan".

Nathan and I have known each other since he was knee-high-to-a-grasshopper, and I was his "cool" piano teacher.  Let me tell you, this kid was (and is) gifted.  He can play the piano like nobody's business.  And over the years, he has learned to really make the piano sing.  You know what I mean?  Have you ever heard anyone play the piano like it was an extension of their heart?  That's Nathan, and I love listening to him play.

Nathan has been an invaluable resource in the making of my arrangements.  I don't know if you guys know this or not, but I have a Board of Directors.  I have an Editor-in-Chief (who I'll blog about at some future date, but you'll love her!), and 2 grunt-editors.  One being my little sister, and the other, NATHAN!  

Really, each piece I've sent him, there's been one or two parts that he gets that look like you've just sucked on a really sour lime...and he asks me to fix it.  And I do.  Cause I trust him that much.  OK...maybe there's been one time that I've told him I disagree and he gets-what-he-gets-and-doesn't-throw-a-fit...but really, he comes up with REALLY good suggestions!  And he's only a teenage BOY!

So I'll tell you that when it came time to make HIS arrangement for his "farewell"...I met this challenge with a little LOT...of trepidation.  This thing needs to be AMAZING.  He's helped me so much and given so much encouragement...I gotta do something that will show just how much I love this stinkin' kid.

I hope I've done that with this one.  Cause when it comes right down to it, Nathan...I love ya.  And you're awesome.  And that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer 2013

What we've been up to this summer:

Annual Giuliacci Family Reunion
Tahoe 2013

I promise I'll be posting new music soon.  I'm waiting for copyright clearance from Church HQ on "I Am a Child of God".  And I'm waiting for school to start in one week so I can finish the last verse of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer".  So it's coming...I promise!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nearer My God to Thee

See the sheet music here!

Nick Polson, son of one of my favorite friends, Cheryl Polson, has been called to serve in the Brazil, Teresina Mission.  He leaves the first part of June.  His favorite song is "Nearer My God to Thee".

Elder Nick Polson

I've asked Nick to share his testimony:

"I know that this Church is true. I have read the Book of Mormon and I have prayed and received an answer that it is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, that must mean that Joseph Smith was a true prophet called of God because no one else would have been able to find the sacred record and translate it without Heavenly Father's help. 

I know that if we are faithful in keeping the commandments that we will be blessed and that our lives will be happier. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

As a side note, can I just say how much the Giuliacci Family will miss Nick Polson?!?!  You guys have NEVER met a cooler babysitter than Nick.  When he comes to babysit during piano lesson hours, I never see them.  They are upstairs playing awesomely weird board games I've never heard of...Killer Bunnies...there's another one they keep playing, but I forget what it is...I hear the kids laughing.  I hear NICK laughing.  We love you, Nick.  We're going to miss you DEARLY, but we know the work you will be doing in Brazil is WAY cooler than working for me during piano lessons!

Last side note: my arrangement of "Nearer My God to Thee" was really fun to work on, and I think I came up with something kinda beautiful, but will NEVER hear ANYTHING more beautiful than THIS arrangement of this hymn, sung by the BYU Vocal Point guys.  Check it out:

OR...if you have a CRAZY mad crush on Steven Sharp Nelson of The Piano Guys...MUSICAL CRUSH, people, MUSICAL...then check out HIS version of this same arrangement for 9 cellos.  Plus, the coolest videography ever!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Called to Serve

See the sheet music here!

Nate Duren, from the Hidden Lake Ward, has been called to serve the Lord in the Japan, Kobe Mission.  He leaves the last part of June.  The songs he requested for his arrangement are "Called to Serve" and "We Are All Enlisted".  LET'S DO BOTH!!

Elder Nathaniel Duren

I've asked Nate to share his testimony:

"I have a testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the Earth today and holds the keys to the priesthood, which allows us to act in Heavenly Father's name. I know that I can use my priesthood power to bless many lives while I am in Japan and after I return home. 

I know that as long as I pray sincerely to my Heavenly Father, keep His commandments, and keep in mind those things He would want me to do, He will sustain me and help me to make my mission a successful one. 

I know that this call is inspired and that there are sons and daughters of God in Japan who need me to share the gospel with them." - Nate Duren

Nate is going to be an amazing missionary.  I LOVE that he picked "We Are All Enlisted".  One of my favorite conference talks is by our favorite Elder Holland, entitled "We Are All Enlisted"!  Check out this Mormon Message (probably the best one made, to date) with quotes taken from that talk.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission!

The Hidden Lake Ward just sent off 2 missionaries this spring and we will be sending off 5 more this summer!!  The missionary spirit came alive in our ward several months ago when Bishop Fox was inspired to have each new missionary read their official mission call over the pulpit during Sacrament Meeting.  As we listen to each one read their call, we, as a ward family feel like family.  

So what do families do?  They help send these kids off on their missions!  We had our very first Missionary Shower for Nick Polson (called to serve in the Brazil, Teresina Mission and reports to the Brazil Missionary Training Center in June) last Saturday.  It was FANTASTIC!  Dean Wendel and Meghan Goodfellow are two of the coolest party planners I know.  Everyone came with gifts purchased from a "registry" created by the missionary mom and Dean, who was the registry coordinator.  Anyone who bought a gift would check in with her and she'd cross items off the list.  PERFECT!  

What to give these young men that would be a good enough gift?  I can't just buy each one a pair of socks...hmmm...


And then perform it for the special musical number on their "Farewell" know, cause we don't have farewells anymore.

So I quickly went about asking each one for a list of their top 3 favorite songs.  Cause you know, I didn't think of this ingenious idea until a couple weeks ago.  Here's what we've got:

Nick Polson: "Nearer, My God, to Thee"
Nate Duren: "Called to Serve", or "We Are All Enlisted", or "The Spirit of God"
Josh Stiborek: "We'll Bring the World His Truth" or "Holding Hands Around the World"
Zach Blackwell: TBD...he can't decide
Nathan VanKatwyk: "Joseph Smith's First Prayer"

I've finished Nick's and Nate's because they both leave in June, so we're practicing already.  Seriously...I finished both just this past week.  There was a lot of chocolate involved.

This week, I plan to start Josh's arrangement.  I've been in contact with the great Janice Kapp Perry, asking her about a "secret" 4th verse I've heard about for "We'll Bring the World His Truth".  Turns out there IS one, and she was more than willing to share it with me.  

Come back in another day or two for "Nearer, My God, to Thee".  This will be a vocal duet, sung by Nick's Father Kris, and his sister, Caitlyn, both of whom sing like angels.  Piano and violin accompaniment.

Nate's will also be posted in the next couple days.  It will be a medley of "Called to Serve/We Are All Enlisted" for YM/YW/SR Primary combined choir with the COOLEST descant at the end you've EVER heard!  Debbie Fox (of the "Power to Choose" fame) wrote this descant, cause she's the descant queen.

I'm super excited about these arrangements...and even MORE excited about the missionary spirit that is spreading like wildfire in our ward!  Just not the President Monson kind of wildfire, ok?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sehet, ihr Völker!

See the sheet music here!

The German version of "Hark, All Ye Nations!" is finally finished!  My heartfelt thanks goes out to my brother Jonathan Cutting, the lovely people of the Hannover Ward in Germany, and to Johanna Koehle for helping me finish the song.  

Here's to you, President Uchtdorf!  Also, we love your hair...just sayin'....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Who Are You???

had a lovely chat with my big brother, Jonathan today.  He and his family are living in Hannover, Germany for one year on assignment with his job.  (Totally jealous, by the way...)  

Jonathan has been kind enough to enlist help from the ward members there in Hannover to create a German version of "Hark, All Ye Nations!"  All the German is already available from the German Hymnal, but if you look at the very last phrase of my's something I've kind of mashed together.  Well, let's just say I have ZERO confidence in my GERMAN mashing skillz.  

It had been a few weeks since I last communicated with him about this project, so I was calling to see where we're at...cause you know...submission deadline for the 2013 LDS Song Contest is upon us.  When I asked him if his German Ward Peeps had been working on it at all he said, "Oh yeah....I think so.  The Ward Choir is already practicing it."

I couldn't help but laugh.  Cause really...when you're creating something, you don't really expect that people halfway around the globe are going to want to use it.  It was a bit mind-boggling to me.

Jonathan then explained that the Ward Choir is always desperate for cool arrangements of stuff...but if you think about it...all the cool arrangements are in English.  I told him to ask the Choir members what their favorite hymns are, and as a token of my appreciation for their participation, I'd make them a couple German arrangements.

So here's my point...It's been in the back of my mind a lot...WHO is ACTUALLY using this music?  I would LOVE to know who you are...ok, maybe you don't have to tell me who you are...but I'd love to know if it worked for you and how this music has brought the Spirit to your ward meetings.  

There you have it!  Leave a comment in the comments section of whatever song you've used.  It would help satisfy my curiosity.  Ok??

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hark, All Ye Nations!

See the sheet music here!

love collaborating with AWESOME PEOPLE!!   Debbie Fox (the genius behind "The Power to Choose" and "The Friendly Beasts") asked if I might consider arranging "Hark, All Ye Nations!" for the Primary Program this fall.  Need she ask?!?!

Let's start this off by saying that I am NOT, by ANY MEANS a morning person.  Don't talk to me within one hour of waking up.  

OK, that's out in the open.  So when I tell you that the day after Debbie pitched me this latest project, I woke up in my bed BRIGHT EYED AND'll know that's seriously unusual, right?  Well, I did.  My thoughts immediately went to this new project.

I need to wake up in my bed like that more often, cause I'll tell you what: I arranged the entire introduction IN. MY. BED. that morning.  That may seem like no big deal to all my fabulously talented musical friends, but it's somewhat of a miracle to me.  

Next step?  Call every member on my Board of Directors to be sure that this crazy idea that popped into my head (combining "Hark" with "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission") wasn't totally tacky.  Not tacky.  Moving on. 

This arrangement has been not only the funnest (now a word...go look it up) arrangement to work on, but I'd put it at the top of the "Totally Inspirational Experiences" list.  Once again, this arrangement happened quickly.  Because it was right.  I've said so many times in so many of these stories that when something is right, it just works.  

Seriously Special Thanks goes to Newel Kay Brown who originally wrote "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission."  I contacted Brother Brown to obtain permission to include this arrangement on this site and make it available for download.  Typically, a royalty fee would be assessed per download of the song.  Brother Brown not only gave me permission, but told me he didn't require any royalties, and wanted my arrangement to be "freely performed as often as possible."  If you've made it this far into my novel of a story, please leave a comment in the comments section telling Brother Brown how his song has impacted your life.  Because seriously, you guys...who didn't sing that song in Primary at least a half-a-dozen times a year when you were knee-high-to-a-grasshopper??

I learned that "Hark, All Ye Nations" is a beloved hymn of the German Saints.  The text was written by Louis F. Moench (1847-1916), a German who immigrated to Chicago with his family as a young man.  He graduated from college in Chicago and headed out west to be a teacher in California.  He stopped off in Salt Lake City and...well...the Mormons killed 'im with kindness, and he couldn't help but join the Church, right??  He eventually returned to Germany on a mission and wrote the hymn, "Hark, All Ye Nations!"

Of course, Moench wrote the hymn in GERMAN.  It is my understanding that this is President Uchtdorf's favorite hymn...and being that I am TOTALLY TEAM UCHTDORF...well, I decided to make a German version of my arrangement as well.  It's not done yet.  Special thanks goes to my big brother, Jonathan Cutting, who is living in Hannover, Germany with his wife and 4 adorable children as we speak.  He is working with the choir director in his ward to hammer out some of the text for the end of the song.  I don't speak any German aside from "nein" and " Edelweiss".  

Interesting piece of information...Brother Brown ("I Hope They Call Me on a Mission") served his mission in Germany!  I find that slightly ironic.

The Primary Children in our ward will be learning this arrangement a little later in the year.  I can't tell you how excited I am to hear those amazing kids sing this for the first time.  It's going to be SO COOl!

Lastly, I'm pretty sure I'm submitting this one for the 2013 LDS Song Contest under the Hymn Arrangements category.  Deadline to submit is March 31, 2013, so we'll see...I'll keep you posted!

The Friendly Beasts - NEW Christmas Arrangement!

See the sheet music here!

Christmas 2012, our Young Women's organization was in charge of planning our Hidden Lake Ward's Annual Christmas Party.  We decided on a "Back to Bethlehem" party.  The following "Decree" was distributed a few weeks before the party with the Sacrament Meeting Programs:

By order of his Royal Majesty, the Emperor Caesar Augustus, it is decreed that all the world is to be counted and taxed.
Therefore, let each person and family come for "A NIGHT IN BETHLEHEM" to be taxed according to law.
Donkeys must be tied on the east side of the building and enter through the proper gate.
Everyone must be dressed in Biblical attire to enter the city. (We later had the Bishopric announce that we only encourage dressing don't have to!)
Bring a blanket for your family to rest on from your long journey, you may find that the inn is full.
Each family will be assessed taxes. Watch for tax notices.  (We had each family bring canned goods to be donated to the local food bank.)
A light supper will be available in the open market.
All taxing will take place on the date, time and place shown in the lower corner. Those disobeying this law to appear, will be sentenced to a holiday season without the true spirit of Christmas.
So let it be written. So let it be done.
After everyone had finished eating, we had a live Nativity.  I had asked Debbie Fox, our Primary Chorister to have the children learn a song or two to sing for the Nativity.  Debbie is FABULOUS and always has the coolest ideas.  Sure enough, she called me a couple weekends before the party and said she had some inspiration.  

Debbie came over and pitched "The Friendly Beasts" idea.  She was the one who came up with the "Noels" in between the verses, as well as using "The First Noel" at the end and finishing phrase.  All I had to do was arrange it.  Once again, I was electrified, and I knew IMMEDIATELY that this was truly inspired, and that if I would start it, it would come quickly.

I sat down with it on Tuesday morning while all the kiddos were at school.  It took 3 mornings to finish it, and I was able to deliver it to the Primary the following Sunday for our one-and-only rehearsal before the Ward Party!  The really cool part is that Debbie had found picture books of "The Friendly Beasts" story in the $1 section at Target, so she bought 25 of them.  That way, the Primary kids didn't need to memorize the words.  They could just hold the book like a choir, huh?!?!

The kids loved it.  Seriously, our Primary is probably the best Primary in the whole church.  These kids are incredibly musical.  They LOVE to be taken seriously.  They love a challenge.  Every time we've given them an arrangement to sing, they beg to do it over and over again. I love childrens' enthusiasm for music!

Rachel and Tim Young as Mary and Joseph, and their real live baby as Baby Jesus!
Yes, I know I'm not wearing Bethlehem attire...dude...I can't sew on a would I make a costume?!?!