The last few months I’ve been learning about orchestration but decided at some point that the best way to learn how is to put down the instructional material, sit myself down and try. Orchestra music feels pretty far out of my current reality since I’ve never played in an orchestra. Listening Star Wars music or some good ‘ole Beethoven has me dazzled but isn’t something I know how to replicate at the moment. (Maybe it’s because they are two of the finest orchestrators I can think of…). Anyway, I decided that writing for something I know and can understand may be a good starting place: Junior High Band. Not only did I play in one (french horn!) but my 1st son is currently in Junior High Band and my 2nd son will be there next year (shout out to trombones!).
This is what I came up with. The best part of this project was that I felt way more invested in the process than finishing and sharing the product. Writing music is just so dang fun!
This piece has changed titles a few times, from “Go and Do the Extra Mile” to “Go and Do” to “Polar Plunge” and now the one I settled on. I learned that you can sketch out a story for music that doesn’t have words just like you can for a song with lyrics. My story is essentially “The Little Red Hen” with a twist- the little worker flute is diligently working and her/his example causes the clarinet to join in. Pretty soon you get to hear how the brass section feels about the idea of pitching in (spoiler: not good) and as the piece progresses, the instruments have conversations and eventually all the instruments get on board with the flute’s vision of working together- even the lazy trombone (listen for that change of heart in the last measure). Enjoy!
The best way to get to know Rebecca Harper is to go to her home. Drive up to her beautiful house and watch as she throws the door open wide and stretches out her arms like you see in this picture. “Have I done some great favor to her?” you wonder, as she is positively giddy giving you and yours hugs and talking about the fun we’ll have together. Somehow, us coming to her home to benefit from her hospitality seems like the best gift we could have given. As Nathan and Rebecca play right along side your littles over the next few days, you wonder where they get there never-ending-energy. From hot tubbing to building Kinex to dancing her heart out, Rebecca is in the center of the action and delights in making us all feel special.
In the last post, I talked about the heartache of finding out that Aunt Rebecca had died in a car crash and family members were in the hospital. Our hearts ache for the months and years ahead for Rebecca’s sweetheart, Nathan, and son, Dallin without their sweet Rebecca.
Though we didn’t know that it would be possible when we received the sad news, we were blessed to be able to gather as a family despite the COVID 19 restrictions (outdoor graveside/funeral) last weekend. As we we shed tears together over Rebecca’s passing and talked about the past and the future, this scripture seemed to be the only way I could explain the way I felt:
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:7
The peace we felt was beyond what made logical sense. In the wake of such tragedy, how is it possible to feel such an overwhelming sense of love and hope and peace? The feeling of angels surrounding us and the strengthening power of Jesus Christ were real and evident in a way I had never experienced before.
There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that I read while I was in Idaho that described well the feeling I have had since I returned home:
“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” (Mosiah 24:14-15, Book of Mormon)
We as a family, too, have been visited “in our afflictions” and now I stand as a witness of the reality of Jesus Christ, His power to sustain, lift, strengthen, and comfort all of us. It is the truth that “When there is no peace on earth, there is Peace in Christ.”
I hope you enjoy this recording as much as we enjoyed recording it (not possible 🙂 ). It was a gift that all of the sister-in-laws on both sides of the family could gather and sing together. We presented this musical number at the graveside service.
This piece was written several years ago for my son, Gabriel and the sheet music is entitled “When Fear Creeps In.” Today I finished the recording which I dedicate to my sweet Sister-in-law, Rebecca Harper. On Sunday, she became a guardian angel and our hearts grieve her passing. As I wrote the title at the top, the title with fear in it didn’t feel right. As I have worked on this recording, I have kept calling it “Peace” and so that is what the recording will now be called.
The idea to make this recording came on Sunday night when my son, Gabriel, asked me to play a song for him on the piano as he tried to fall asleep. We had just been given the news of Rebecca’s passing and he felt scared and worried that he would have nightmares. I pulled out the binder with music I had written over the last several years and played through several, this being one of them. I thought of the message of peace that our Savior, Jesus Christ offers and how much we need Him. I find comfort singing about His peace and so I share it in hopes that you find some comfort here.
Several years ago, my mom shared this personal story by Michael Wilcox (found in his book entitled Walking on Water and Other Classic Messages).
When Michael was a baby, his father left his mother and she raised her children alone. Through the years his Dad’s choices caused a lot of pain and heartache for their family. As a teenager, Michael felt a need to pray for peace, healing and help forgiving his dad. So he did, and no answer came. He kept at it, and through the next several years, he prayed for the same thing. But no answer came. When he was in his 30’s (married, with two girls and two boys of his own), he was asked to give a talk in church about families. He sat down to decide what to say, assuming he would just talk about his mom. But the Spirit whispered “Talk about your Dad.”
My dad? He wondered. What in the world would I say? But Michael felt prompted to think about him.
Then his two boys, ages 6 and 2, came into the room and just stood there looking at him. In that moment, hundreds of memories he had shared with these two little guys flooded his mind- many little everyday interactions as well as bigger moments. And suddenly an answer came- I am now ready to answer your question. Now that you are a father, now that you know a father’s love, would you be the son who lost his father, or the father who lost his son?
He gathered his sons into his arms and cried and cried- for all his father had missed.
Here is the quote that sums it all up:
“Why didn’t my Father in Heaven give me that answer at fifteen, or twenty-one, or twenty-five, or when I was married, or when my daughters were born? He needed to wait until I was a father of sons and had enough experiences with my boys to understand what a sweet thing it is to be a father and share memories with sons. The holding place had to be carved in my heart, and as soon as I could really receive and comprehend the answer, the Lord gave it to me. Maybe we are in the fourth watch, but the Lord is saying to us: I’ll answer your prayer. I’m aware of your needs. It is recorded in heaven, and I’m going to answer it. But right now in your life there’s no place for me to put the answer. Life will create a holding place, and as soon as you are able to receive it, I will give it to you.”
I have retold that story so many time over the last few years, and have found it to be SO true in my own life. So many times I have wanted an answer but I didn’t have a place to receive it- yet.
For several years I have talked about writing a song called “The Holding Place” because this story touched me so deeply. But I find that sometimes that becomes a problem- something I care so much about becomes difficult to sufficiently express. So it has taken a long time to write this one. A few years ago, Jon (my sweetheart) jotted down a poem for me, hoping it would help me work through the creative problems that stood in my way of finishing it. I saved the envelope he wrote it on 🙂 and used some of his ideas for the bridge. I appreciate his constant support.
Another interesting tidbit is that I had a hard time writing the music for a while because I felt that I couldn’t totally relate to a father leaving his family. I had a very steady and loving home-life growing up, so I wasn’t sure how to express what he had experienced. When my youngest went to school last fall, he struggled each day going to school (fortunately he LOVES school now and is all smiles). Big crocodile tears would roll down his face and he would ask “Why do I have to go to school?” It was then, during the days when I had to send him to school with tear-stained cheeks and worry about him all day long, that I wrote “tell me the reason, I’ll try to be brave, but it makes no sense and I feel afraid…”
Musically, my favorite part is the bridge- where the momentum increases from a pensive, thoughful backdrop to a pulse. “What should he tell them of the years gone by? Of hurts and hopes and heaven? They will understand in time…” and that winds back to the chorus. That part was the most fun to write.
One other funny fact- if you were to compare the sheet music to the recording you’d see there are several (unintentional) differences. You’d think I knew this piece inside and out after writing and editing it for several years, but I still ended up unintentionally changing lyrics and timing during the recording process! I decided to leave the changes for now because I think they’re kind of a fun, spontaneous addition :).
Hi all! I spent the day recording and it’s time to pick up my sweet kiddos so this will be brief. I shared the song “Sunset” several months ago- remember? Well this one I promised to share as well and I’m just now getting it up here. My friend Norm wrote the words for this one also, and I really love how bouncy and fun it is. (Click on the link below to hear the recording!)