This is one of my submissions for the 2023 Church Music Competition. It is in the Contemporary Youth Category. I was working on this song for over a year and I think it pulled together well in the end.
The inspiration for this is from Jeffery R. Holland’s April 2012 talk, Laborers in the Vineyard. His phrase “It’s getting late,” hit me with the spirit so strong that I knew I wanted that line in my song. After I first played the finished work for my husband (he didn’t hear much of it before then) he said he liked it and even felt the spirit. I asked him what part he felt the spirit. He said when I sang the line, “It’s getting late.” That made my day! Also note that in the bridge I use the name “Master” as in Master of the Vineyard. He is who we hearken to.
I also used a few phrases that come from the prophet, Russel M. Nelson, like, “let God prevail.” In his most recent talk we learned to “think celestial.” Using that phrase would be way too cheesy so I came up with the phrase, “live for the gift of that celestial crown.” Same thought but less obvious.
Lastly, I wanted to thank my good friend Surjani for reviewing this song with me. I was totally stuck on how to transition from the chorus to the bridge. She gave me a list of 4 chords to use to get there and it worked! The magic of theory 🙂
When two brothers in my ward wanted me accompany them while they sang this song, I first looked for an arrangement. I found a great one by Nathan Howe but the song needed a violin for the 2nd and 3rd verses. We currently don’t have a violinist in our ward so I used Natan’s first verse (isn’t it a thing of perfection?!) and then I came up with the rest. Thanks Nathan for letting me post this!
Note about performance: I only added two of the four parts to the music, I did arrange it so that you should be able to sing any of the four parts in the hymn book. My arrangement is in the key of the hymn book to make it easier to use if you want it.
Lastly, the song is for men to sing and I’m sorry you have to listen to my struggling female voice if you want a glimpse to what it sounds like!
Just last week I posted an arrangement that took me about 5 years to complete. I wrote this in less than 24 hours.
The annual music competition at church has a November 1 deadline. I felt really prompted to write a primary song after struggling with a youth song for the last month. On October 30th, late at night I jotted down the words to this chorus and I had a tune going in my head. That’s it.
The next Halloween morning after dropping my kids off at school, I set to work. Four hours later (and just as it was time to get my kindergardner), it was pretty much done. I just made a few minor adjustments as I played it over and over until that night when I submitted it.
Never before have I felt Heavenly Father so closely leading me along in writing a song. The tune and chords seemed to spill out onto my paper. And these lyrics really needed a special feeling. They needed something hopefully yet sensitive.
When I had verse 1, I felt I needed inspiration for verse 2. I knew my time was short and I was worried about studying time (I often pour over General Conference talks). I was quickly led to this Ensign Article. Three short paragraphs. It gave me the exact concept I needed. When I play and sing this verse, the spirit touches me every time because of the inspiring message. I truly was guided.
If anyone ever taught this song to children, I would use the 3 key words in the chorus as a foundation: strength, hope, and knowledge. I love that the restored gospel does provide us with knowledge of the resurrection. It absolutely brings peace and joy to our souls. The soul is made up of our body and spirit, so of course our whole souls would rejoice in this knowledge.
This is my first Christmas piano arrangement. As always, I tried to capture the feeling of the lyrics with the music. I have long loved this telling of the background of this song and tried to create a similar feeling in my arrangement:
In my arrangement verse 3 & 4 in particular speak to me with despair turning to hate, then verse 4 with the bells retorting more deeply that “God is not dead nor doth he sleep.” The words are so powerful I would almost tell you that if you ever perform this song, tell people to open up their hymn books to 214 and read along as you play.
When I heard this song performed at General Conference October 2021, I was so moved. I had heard it before, but it had been a while. Because it is a slower song, I was able to listen to the words carefully and boy was I touched. “Ponder who He meant to save when on the cross he died.” That really made me think: me. He died and suffered for me individually, not a collective group.
At the end, I almost used a deep C octave to conclude the song but I was prompted to just hit middle C. I liked the softness of it and I immediately thought about how Christ is our center. He walked a perfectly centered, straight path and we are also asked to walk it. We mess up and go off course but because of the wounds in His hands, we can be placed back on the path back to our Heavenly Father.
Both the lyricist and compser have passed away but I truly feel they have left a mark on the world with this beautiful melody and these soul stirring words.
Last year my kids were asked to sing this song for a stake Christmas program. I didn’t see an arrangement, so I came up with it.
One fun part for me was writing to Patricia Kelsey Graham, the composer and lyricist, for permission. She actually played through it and gave a thoughtful suggestion. It made my heart happy to hear her say she really liked this, especially the piano that connects the two verses.
You can listen to my kids singing the song in all their cuteness. My youngest gets up and is totally distracted, but everyone thinks that’s cute, right? 🙂
I don’t remember what gave me the idea to put the beloved video’s words to music but I’ve had a blast writing an Irish sounding tune. I’ve never put music to a story before, so it’s fun to say I have a ballad on my repertoire.
The story of Samuel comes from Helaman 13-15 in the Book of Mormon. I have a testimony of this book. It has drawn me close to the Savior. I am so grateful for Him and how through Him alone, I can be saved. He truly is The Light of the world.
Also, I was amazed at how often the message of listening to prophet came up in this last General Conference. After hearing that theme, and playing this song again, it touched me even more of how blessed we are to have a prophet. I’ll add my testimony to those of the apostles and other church leaders, that God reveals His will for the church to prophets. As we follow the prophets with more exactness, we will be protected and grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, because they guide us to Him.
Back in 2012 I wrote this arrangement as a solo. Link to that post. Since then I have had a few requests to make it a choir arrangement. Well, I finially did it! This is a bright and joyful Christmas song and those are my favorite!
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind and the willing and the obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.”
The church announced that this scripture was picked because of how it relates to President Nelson’s youth devotional from 2018. I loved that devotional. It resonated with me. In the past I’ve thought it would be neat to write a song for the youth theme but I had other projects and a busy life 🙂 So, when this theme was announced, I felt a strong desire to write a song to go with it. I submitted it to the church but I’m not really expecting anything.
I studied and emulated some pop songs that I think youth (and I) like these days. I hoped to achieve and fun but spiritual mix.
So much good can happen in our lives
When we give our heart and have a willing mind,
Weed out wasteful time from the day,
Counsel with the Lord as we pray.
The world has been scattered. Our call is to gather.
Anyone can receive The blessings only the gospel brings.
Out of small things will proceed what’s great
As I sacrifice a little each day.
The Lord will always provide a way
For hearts to open and lives to change.
For hearts to open and lives to change.
A battalion has formed. Will you enlist?
This moment’s one to not be missed.
We’ll step away from worldly distractions.
Replace it with Christlike actions.
There is no more important cause.
Zion will flourish because
The stone’s rolling forward. Nothing can stop it.
Our duty is clear as revealed by the prophet:
The world has been scattered.
Our call is to gather.
We’ll help all to receive
The blessings only the gospel brings.
It has been a while since I put out a piano solo. In a comment on my site, a woman named Sheri said, “I love all your piano solos arrangements of church songs. Have any more? Or are you busy Momming? 😁”
It was seriously that comment that put me in front of the piano to write this. I thought, “Wow, someone actually wants more of my arrangements.” I was really touched.
I picked my favorite sacrament hymns and a few months later, it was done!