a tempo

Some of my small cadre of most excellent readers have wondered where I’ve been, even going to the extreme of emailing me. Thanks y’all. Things have been busy, and I got out of the habit of posting. I’ve missed it, even as I’ve been busy accompanying a singer in a competition (she was delighted with her second place finish, as was I), preparing for Easter (more on that below), making music in one form or other, including writing several pieces, and in general feeling that life was fairly full.

Today my Dad and I flew to Kauai for 9 days work on his condo in Poipu (well, um, I do plan on a couple bouts of serious golf). It is nice to get away, even as I feel that I’m leaving things on hold (including Marianne’s looong day trying to make sense out of our taxes; it was very unlike her to not remain for the party at the post office when she mailed our stuff this evening–clearly she was tired–and I was thankful for her hard work–she’ll undoubtedly have more to say to me on that matter…).

Easter was very nice. John Knox Pres in Dublin held two services rather than its normal one. Both well attended. I had decided a couple of months ago to have us present Don Francisco’s He’s Alive (listen to the composer’s rendition here. Marianne and I had seen Dolly Parton perform the piece on Leno a number of years ago, and we had performed it ourselves several times. I thought it would be a great piece to combine our 30-voice choir with our Praise Team (10+ singers, several guitars, bass, drums, keyboard) and a brass quartet we put together for Easter.

It took longer than I had hoped (part of the reason for my no-show here). The final score only came together less than a week before we presented the piece. Along the way, I got the idea of combining O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded with He’s alive. A couple of excerpts punctuate the first half of the piece, while the opening melody backs up the singer at a couple of strategic points. A quartet from the praise team also sings backup, while both singing ensembles provide a wonderful antiphonal effect at the final He’s Alive chorus.

I’d already started working on the piece, when it finally appeared on the rader screen of our pastor (a wonderful person with decent musical chops…plus he sings tenor!!!). We first thought it might function as scripture in song, but he had the brainstorm of combining it with his sermon. So a little more than two weeks ago, I’m back doing another rewrite.

It was worth the trouble. We alternated sermon and song, ending with the rousing finale of He’s Alive…followed immediately by the Hallelujah Chorus. It made Easter special for many of us who were there—even though we might like to fix up a wrong note here and a bad entrance there. As a composer, or rather, in this case, arranger, I was delighted both by the energy and enthusiasm of the musicians and the response of the congregation.

I’m hoping we got a halfway decent recording. If not, it’s about time to take on a special project, and a recording might just fill the bill. I’m looking forward to taking on some other compositional work after some relaxation and reflection on the last couple of months.

It’s been (soli deo gloria) music to my ears…

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