Musicians shouldn’t move often. It takes time to establish and extend roots into a community. But I do move often which means I pray to connect with the right orchestras and musicians quickly in each new place.
For my most recent concert, the stars aligned. A friend passed my name to someone who was conducting a Christmas Concert in my new town and I was invited to play. At the first practice, some of my favorite arrangements were sitting there on the stand staring back at me, and a thick lump formed in my throat as I squeezed my eyes tight to keep the swell of emotion from spilling out in a room of complete strangers. It was overwhelming gratitude for music meant just for me, sending a message that I am in the right place at the right time in my life.
The production was for the community, to welcome the Christmas season, and was complete with a skilled choir, winds and brass, timpani, a harp, bells, full orchestra. Pretty amazing for so many to come together on short notice!
Still, Still, Still. The arrangement by Mack Wilburg is deeply moving and feels so sacred. It is by far my favorite arrangement of this Christmas hymn.
O, Come All Ye Faithful. This is another Mack Wilburg arrangement that is so powerful. The music matches the message and it is a thrill to play it.
Cantique de Noel. Ok, this is not exactly my favorite arrangement, sorry Chip Davis, but I have a special performance memory with this one that made it so special to be a part of again. When I was 25, I was invited to play this arrangement with many other Christmas pieces as a solo violinist with piano accompaniment for a Solemn Assembly in the Logan Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley. I will never forget that special setting and event.
My new favorite:
Et Misericordia. From Kim André Arnesen’s Magnificat, this is the virgin Mary’s song of praise to God after the angel Gabriel visited her with the message that she would be the mother of God’s son. In this setting, Arnesen expresses the emotions Mary must have felt: wonder, devotion, gratitude, humility, joy, hope and compassion. Arnesen sees the Magnificat as offering support and hope for all people struggling against adversity or in need of strength.
I’ve realized more and more how music connects me to God. While rehearsals and practicing are never convenient, it fills my soul and gives me so much joy. I hope you love these arrangements as much as I do.