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?!?!