"Counsel With the Lord in all Thy Doings" Alma 37:37 (solo)
"Counsel with the Lord in All Thy Doings" Alma 37:37 (SATB)
I really, really do not like giving talks in Church. I would much prefer singing my testimony. One Father's Day, years ago now, I just couldn't convince the Bishop to give the assigned talk to someone else. As I was researching to find ideas for the talk, I read the account by Alma where he was giving counsel to his son. Here was a father hoping that his words would inspire his son to be faithful, to sincerely pray always, and to dedicate his life to serving the Lord. What a beautiful message for Father's Day! So I wrote a song and had my daughter and her friends sing it. (I still had to give the talk, but I felt better about it.)
"O, That I Were an Angel" Alma 29:1-9 (solo)
"O, That I Were an Angel" Alma 29:1-9 (duet)
Back in the early 2000's, I sang in a community choral society choir. The conductor was very kind to indulge me every time I asked him questions about composing. He was very supportive of my efforts and even complimented me saying that I had quite a flair for "melodic drama." He especially liked this piece.
At the time, my youngest child had also started school, and that left my days wide open. I decided to start writing sacred solo songs for myself to sing, and while I was at it, I decided I should write some songs that my vocal students might like. One of these students was a young tenor who got a mission call while he was taking lessons from me. I decided to write this piece for him to sing for his Mission Farewell. He really did the song justice with his heroic tenor voice.
A few years later, a Baritone friend from the Tabernacle Choir asked if I would create a duet version for us to sing together. So, I did that, too.
"How Exquisite Was My Joy" Alma 36 (solo)
The entire chapter of Alma 36 is written in chiasmus. That is an ancient poetic writing style that uses inverted parallelism to emphasis the most important phrase at the center of the passage. A friend from the Tabernacle Choir, Barbara Cramer, invited me to try writing a solo for her to sing at the 50th Anniversary Jubilee of the Discovery of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. Her brother Jack Welch had made the discovery while he was on his mission years ago and would give the keynote address.
She gave me a few phrases from the scriptures to concentrate on in the chiastic form ABCDDCBA. But, I really couldn't wrap my head around trying to write music in a strict chiastic form. Did the melody and accompaniment have to stick to the form and the inverted parallelisms?
Anyway, I decided that the scriptural phrases would stay in the chiastic outline, but the music would not stay strictly in those patterns. After all, I had to build up to not only the climax in the center, but save a little something for the ending.
Creating these songs was spiritually moving and testimony-building for me. I realize how fervent Alma's testimony of Jesus Christ was and how he wants us all to believe and put our trust in the Lord. All I can say is Amen.