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Over time I have written a number of songs. I will continue to add them to this blog so, please, keep coming back to see what's new.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

True to the Faith

There is strength in the rising generation--young people, valiant in their testimonies of Jesus Christ, standing tall defending truth and right.  They build upon the foundation of faith of those who have gone before. 

This arrangement of the hymn True to the Faith is for my sweet daughter-in-law, Elizabeth.  That’s her in the top left of the photo with her siblings.  It was taken a few years ago.  Elizabeth and I both love hiking along river trails in Central Oregon.  We love peach slushies from an unnamed fast food chain (*cough*Sonic*cough*).  We’re both rather fond of my son, Kenny, and we are both drawn to family history in ways that are hard to explain.  There is great knowledge and wisdom that can be gleaned from the past. 

Youth of today can find hidden treasures in their family’s heritage.  I know that I am constantly drawing upon the strength of my brave and steadfast ancestors as I plow through life’s challenges.  While writing this piece I reflected on how my grandparents and great grandparents seem to have a gravitational pull on my heart.  We are united not only by blood but in a common hope for eternity.  I love this line of poetry from Eliza R. Snow, “Our hearts beat upward and our spirits move in homeward currents, towards those we love.”  As the music reaches its climax at the final chorus I tried to simulate the rhythm of a heartbeat in the low tones for a few measures.  Hearts bound together.  “Blessed be the ties that bind generations.”  ~ Author Unknown.   

          True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
          True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
          To God’s command,
          Soul, heart, and hand,
          Faithful and true we will ever stand.

                                                           -Evan Stephens

Click HERE to download free sheet music - Piano Part 1
Click HERE to download free sheet music - Piano Part 2

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer

Those who know me best would tell you that the things I love most about Easter are marshmallow bunnies, spending time with family and loved ones, and celebrating the life and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ (not in that order, of course).

H.R. Palmer’s lyrics to the hymn Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer are heartfelt and stir the soul. 
I couldn’t decide which verse to share here, so I am including all three.

Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
Thy sweet message now impart.
May thy Spirit, pure and fervid,
Enter ev’ry timid heart;
Carry there the swift conviction,
Turning back the sinful tide.
Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
May each soul in thee abide.

Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
We are weak but thou art strong;
In thy infinite compassion,
Stay the tide of sin and wrong.
Keep thy loving arms around us;
Keep us in the narrow way.
Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
Let us never from thee stray.

Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
Thou wilt bind the broken heart.
Let not sorrow overwhelm us;
Dry the bitter tears that start.
Curb the winds and calm the billows;
Bid the angry tempest cease.
Precious Savior, dear Redeemer,
Grant us everlasting peace.

Click HERE to download free sheet music

Monday, March 27, 2017

Far, Far Away

I wrote this piece back when I was in college. It is the result of an assignment I had been given in my composition class.  I was asked to choose a hymn from the hymnbook and jazz it up.  I’m sure my professor was attempting to steer me in the direction of writing with more of a structured form in mind. He told me I could do anything I wanted with it —to make it my own, but I had to stay within the bounds of the chosen hymn text.    

I’m thinking I must have been in a Billy Joel kind of mood when I wrote it because it really gets to rocking.  I actually performed the arrangement in class with a friend who sang my new melody of the hymn, but for this version I went ahead and left off the lyrics opting for a piano solo instead.  It doesn’t especially lend itself to Sunday worship, but it’s really fun to play.

Click HERE to download free sheet music

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Lord Is My Shepherd

I arranged this piano duet for my amazing daughter-in-law, Lisa.  One of the things that we both love about this hymn is the beautiful alto line.   Some hymns have inner voices that can become routine and even monotonous, but not this one.  Thomas Koschat highlights his moving alto line to the point that at times it shines brighter than all the rest.  For this reason, I have leaned heavily upon that voice.   

Midway through the piece, it shifts into a minor key for a while.  I wanted the music to reflect the idea that Christ, the Good Shepherd, will leave the ninety-nine and follow after the one that is lost, then lead it to “where the still waters flow.”

He knows us.  He loves us.  We are his and each of us holds a place in his heart. 

Click HERE to download free sheet music

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief & Chopin’s Prelude in D Flat Major

Last Thanksgiving all three of our children and their families came home for the holiday.  When the whole crew gets together, more than at any other time, the sounds of music and laughter permeate our home.  What a blast!!

At one point I was puttering around in the kitchen when I heard someone playing the piano just for fun.  It wasn’t until I heard the familiar melody of Chopin’s Prelude in D Flat Major that curiosity got the best of me and I peeked my head out to see who was playing.  It was Mitch, aka Trekkers dad, aka Jesse’s soul mate.  The music he was playing was beautiful.

Now fast forward a month or two later when I am kicking around ideas of which hymn to arrange for Mitch.  I knew that A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief was one of his favorites. Then I thought back to the day he had played Chopin so I decided I would try to combine the two.

A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief was also a favorite of the prophet Joseph Smith.  He and his brother, Hyrum, requested that it be sung twice in the upstairs bedroom at Carthage jail the afternoon they were killed.  The lyrics to the hymn begin: 

A poor wayfaring Man of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not powr to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.

The verses that follow then mirror the message in Matthew 25:40: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

This is for you, Mitch.  Thanks for bringing your adventurous, brave, and fun-loving spirit to our family!!  You’re the greatest!!

Click HERE to download free sheet music

Monday, January 30, 2017

Choose the Right

A few months back when I noticed that the hymn Choose the Right would be included in the 2017 primary program I set out to write a piano accompaniment for it.  I wanted to write something that would challenge the singers a bit. 

With the second verse it is especially important that the children have a good feel for the melody as I have given the accompaniment a lot of freedom.  The lyrics and melody are straight out of the hymnbook, with the last five words repeated at the very end. 

I consider myself extremely lucky to have the opportunity to interact with such an amazing group of singers here in Bend, Oregon who are eager to join with me and record at a moment's notice.  Bekah, Brynlie, Cannon, Caroline, Christopher, Gavin, Kassidy, Oliver, Paiten, Porter, Sage, and Samuel — You Are Rock Stars!!  Thanks a million!!

“Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct our lives is God’s greatest gift to man.  Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give.”
David O. McKay

Click HERE to download free sheet music
Click HERE to download an MP3 audio file with the children singing
Click HERE to download an MP3 audio file of the PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT ONLY

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Beautiful Savior

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer the moonlight
And all the stars in heav’n above;
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer
And brings to all the world his love.

Fair are the meadows,
Fairer the woodlands,
Robed in the flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer.
He makes the sorrowing spirit sing.

Beautiful Savior!
Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I honor, praise, and give glory,
Give praise and glory evermore!

     -Anon., twelfth century 

This arrangement lends itself to contemplation in quiet hours pondering the life of Christ — from his first breath in the manger to his last moments on Calvary.  I love the idea that the very stars He created were looking down on him the night of his birth.  Luminous as they were, none could shine brighter than the Christ child.

The second verse speaks of the earth with her stunning meadows and woodlands “robed in the flowers of blooming spring.”  I devoted a full six measures trying to create the feel of flowers bursting into bloom. 

My heart overflows with gratitude to Christ for his selfless gift.  How can I ever thank him enough, my Beautiful Savior?

Click HERE to download free sheet music