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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.

Terri


Tuesday, June 25, 2024

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Introduced in the early 16th century, this powerful piece is one of the best known hymns written by German theologian, Martin Luther, who helped usher in freedom of religion into the world.   

A mighty fortress is our God,

A tower of strength ne’er failing.

A helper mighty is our God,

O’er ills of life prevailing.


He overcometh all.

He saveth from the Fall.

His might and pow’r are great.

He all things did create.


And he shall reign for evermore.

                                                                        

                                                             Painting by Greg Olsen




Click HERE to download free sheet music

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Lift Up Your Voice and Sing

I used to love singing this song as a child in Sunday school.   The words and simple melody would set my heart soaring.  


A song is a wonderful kind of thing,

So lift up your voice and sing!

Just start a glad song, let it float, let it ring,

And lift up your voice and sing!

We shall make music to brighten the day;

Music will help us to lighten the way.

Lift up your voice! Lift up your voice!

Lift up your voice and sing!


Music.  Who can live without it?  I can't.  One of the favorite go-to movies at our house is Mama Mia.  At the very end as the credits are rolling Amanda Seyfried sings ‘Thank you for the Music’.  It stirs my heart every time I hear it. 


Years ago I wrote a research paper for an English class.  The entire focus of the ten week course was to write just this one paper.  For my topic I chose to explore the motivation behind Antonin Dvořák’s New World Symphony.  For weeks and weeks I researched.  It was an exhilarating journey and I think I came close, but I never really felt comfortable declaring what was going through his mind while writing his masterpiece.  Evenso, my greatest discovery in writing the paper was stumbling upon the American poet Marianne Boruch.  Her words spoke to my soul.  I leave you with a few of the thoughts I gleaned from Boruch’s article Worlds Old and New

In Walt Whitman’s poem, “A Song of Occupations,” he philosophically reveals,  “All music is what awakens from you when you are reminded by the instruments.”  I love that notion — that the instruments simply remind us of what has been there, in the silence or in ourselves, all along.  Melody dips and turns and opens into the brain’s most secret part which remembers odd detail and feels it chill.  

So music rewards us with its abundant sorrow, a curious form of happiness … which stills and darkens even as it gives us the shining world.  What depths open in us when we are so reminded?  

Click HERE to download free sheet music 


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

It has been a decade since we lost my sweet mother-in-law, Naida.  Think of the nicest, most service oriented person you know,  multiply times ten, and you begin to have an idea of who Naida was.  She’s one of the most Christ-like people I’ve ever known.  She didn’t have a mean bone in her body.  Small in frame, she stood at just 5’1”, but the height of her character loomed above us all.  A mother of eight children, she loved and served others all her life without complaint.  Making others happy seemed to fill her with joy.



While in grade school, Chuck remembers walking through his front door after school every day and instinctively calling out to his mom.  From whatever corner of the house she was in, she would answer back, and then, reassured, he would go about his business knowing that all was right with the world.


As a young newlywed myself, it would amaze me how Naida could make a great meal out of nothing at all, just whatever was in her fridge. That’s one quality I am definitely lacking.  Poor Chuck went from his mom’s home cooking to mine.  It’s a good thing he spent a few years away from home before we met so that he wouldn’t always be reminded of the stark contrast.


I have many fond memories with Chuck’s folks as we travelled through Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, Canada, Mexico, and Washington DC.  Among my absolute favorites were simply camping with them at Big John’s Flat in Beaver Canyon.  In the evenings there was always a card game and a bowl of ice cream.  Naida was a great canasta partner. Her otherwise docile personality on occasion would give way to a devious grin right before laying down a hand of cards that would destroy the opposing team. No smack talk, just a smile and then she would get up to refill the M&M’s dish so the guys wouldn’t feel so bad. 



Naida always maintained a close relationship with her Savior, Jesus Christ, so it feels only natural to dedicate this arrangement of the Easter hymn 'Christ the Lord Is Risen Today' to Naida Hutchings — an angel that walked the earth for 92 years.  She was a blessing to us all and her influence is still felt in our lives today.




Click HERE to download free sheet music





Thursday, February 15, 2024

Onward Christian Soldiers & Beethoven’s 9th

These three little guys were all born within about a year of each other — one in South Dakota, another in California, and the other in Iowa.  One would lose his father at the age of three.  One would buy a fishing boat, but end up using it to teach half the town to waterski.  And one loved to dance.  They lived through two world wars and the Great Depression.  Each one holds a special place in my heart.  They are my grandfathers.



                Dave Crockett                           Kenny Nott                                   George Lambert


I was only six when my Grandpa Crockett died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 55.  It left a void in our family for so many years.  I have a few flashes of memories with him at his house on Sequoia, but so much of what I know of him was shared by those who knew him best.  


He had a cheerful disposition, a great sense of humor and a heart full of love.  Around the house he would often whistle and sing.  He loved to laugh.  He had an entrepreneurial spirit which had been gifted to him by his mother.  He was self-reliant.  He was a great barbecuer.  He loved the outdoors and going fishing, but his passion was golf.  He worked long, hard hours to support his family, but he could often be found on the golf course before work at first light.  He was loyal.  His employers loved him and his co-workers spoke of his integrity, kindness and unconditional friendship.  My dad once said that the greatest gift that his father gave to his children was for them to know for a surety that he loved their mother.  


Grandpa Nott was a huge part of my life.  He was there for just about every family vacation as I was growing up — pulling us on skis behind the boat, putting a fishing pole in my hand, going rock hounding, dragging us in inner tubes behind his truck on snowy roads by his cabin.  He taught me how to drive a stick shift. Not long after he was married, he jumped at the chance to dismantle army barracks and use the wood to build his home on Walnut.  He pulled every nail out and straightened it so that it could be used again.  He was a skilled hunter and fisherman.  He was the bravest of men, fighting for his country in the army during World War II.  


I have a memory when I was young of sitting next to him by the fireplace cracking open walnuts and eating them. I still think of him when I eat walnuts.  One winter when I was about five, I remember he made our house the most popular on the block.  He and Grandma had been up in snow country.  It rarely snowed in our hometown, yet knowing how much we loved to play in the snow, they filled the entire bed of the truck to the rim with snow before driving back down the mountain to us.   To our delight, when they arrived, he dumped his snow load in our front yard and the whole neighborhood enjoyed hours of fun.  


Grandpa George is my bonus grandpa.  He married my Grandma Jennie when I was 13 years old.  They were married in our home.  When they lived in Bremerton, they would go dancing three times a week.  I remember every time he would come to visit he would always have plenty of Juicy Fruit gum to share.  He had his workshop up at their home in West Point and he dabbled with his inventions.  He was a great craftsman and would build things like wooden toys and cradles.  He and Grandma Jennie made many great memories in their twilight years going on cruises and on road trips to see family.  


When I was a teenager, every once in a while when a group of us kids were singing around the piano, Grandpa Nott would come and join us in the front room.  If there was a lull in requests, he would ask us to sing Onward Christian Soldiers.  Whenever I hear that hymn sung, I think of him.


For years I have been considering pairing these two pieces, but it somehow seemed like I would be breaking some unwritten law by taking what many believe to be the greatest piece of music ever written and making it my own.  It just didn’t seem right, but this year I decided to brush away my fears and dive in. I wanted to utilize the full range of the piano, so it’s arranged for piano — four hands.  


This arrangement is for my grandfathers — my heroes.  With love.





Click HERE to download free sheet music


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Have I Done Any Good?

I’m starting off the new year with a hymn arrangement for children’s voices — Have I Done Any Good?  The melody and lyrics are just as they are presented in the LDS Hymnbook (hymn #223).  It shouldn’t be too hard to sing since I pretty much include the melody line in the right hand accompaniment throughout.  I tried to weave into the interlude and ending hints of a beloved piece you may also recognize.


Have I done any good in the world today?

Have I helped anyone in need?

Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?

If not, I have failed indeed.

Has anyone’s burden been lighter today

Because I was willing to share?

Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?

When they needed my help was I there?


[Chorus]

Then wake up and do something more

Than dream of your mansion above.

Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,

A blessing of duty and love.


There are chances for work all around just now,

Opportunities right in our way.

Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”

But go and do something today.

’Tis noble of man to work and to give;

Love’s labor has merit alone.

Only he who does something helps others to live.

To God each good work will be known.


— Will L. Thompson 



When I think of good works and service, I think of Agnes Bojaxhiu — Mother Teresa.  She lived a life of selfless service, touching hearts and lifting others along the way.  Her compassion and generosity set the standard for the world to emulate.  Through her light and love we catch a glimpse into heaven.  Here are a few of my favorite Mother Teresa quotes:


“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

“Love is a fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand.”

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” 

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”





Click HERE to download free sheet music


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

What Child Is This?

I marvel at the life of Mary, mother of the Savior.  She, being a descendant of King David, passed along her royal bloodline to her son.  She was highly favored of God, blessed among women, chosen to bring the Savior into the world, a world He would one day save.


Motherhood in and of itself is an enormous responsibility, but being tasked with bearing and raising the Lord, Jesus Christ, as a young woman is hard for me to comprehend.  Yet Mary courageously met the challenge with Joseph at her side.



Mary’s life was a faith-filled journey.  A loving mother and devoted disciple, she would often follow Jesus throughout His mission.  Looking on as she did as her son was lifted up on the cross seems unbearable to me.  And then after His ascension into heaven, she continued on, ever believing.


Margot Hovley stated beautifully, “Christmas is a season of giving, and Mary, as a central figure in the scriptural account, shows us the one gift that matters more than all others: the gift of ourselves, the gift of aligning our will to God’s, humbly accepting His mission for us and fulfilling to the utmost.  That’s what Christ did, as did Mary, His mother before Him.”




Click HERE to download free sheet music 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Prayer of Thanksgiving

“Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence. . . Gratitude is our sweet acknowledgment of the Lord’s hand in our lives; it is an expression of our faith.”   —Bonnie Parkin



We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;

He chastens, and hastens his will to make known;

The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.

Sing praises to his name;

He forgets not his own.


Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,

Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;

So from the beginning the fight we were winning;

Thou, Lord, wast at our side;

All glory be thine!


We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,

And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.

Let thy congregation escape tribulation;

Thy name be ever praised!

O Lord, make us free!


Text: Anon., The Netherlands, ca. 1626; 

      translated by Theodore Baker






Click HERE to download free sheet music