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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, 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?


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

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Before Thee, Lord, I Bow My Head

Before thee, Lord, I bow my head

And thank thee for what has been said.

My soul vibrates; my poor heart sings

When thy sweet Spirit strikes the strings.

How sweet thy word I’ve heard this day!

Be thou my guide, O Lord, I pray.

May I in patience do my part.

Seal thou the word upon my heart.

Do thou, O Lord, anoint mine eyes

That I may see and win the prize.

My heart is full; mine eyes are wet.

Oh, help me, Lord, lest I forget.

So may my soul be filled with light

That I may see and win the fight,

And then at last exalted be,

In peace and rest, O Lord, with thee.

Look up, my soul; be not cast down.

Keep not thine eyes upon the ground.

Break off the shackles of the earth.

Receive, my soul, the spirit’s birth.

And now as I go forth again

To mingle with my fellowmen,

Stay thou nearby, my steps to guide,

That I may in thy love abide.

-Text by Joseph H. Dean

Click HERE to download free sheet music  

Monday, August 28, 2023

The Iron Rod

There is a dream recorded in the Book of Mormon.  One night the prophet, Lehi, had a vision of a glorious tree unlike any other, whose fruit had the power to fill one’s soul with great joy.  There were many obstacles blocking the way to the tree.  However, along a narrow path leading straight to the tree was a rod of iron.  By holding tightly to the rod, one could safely reach the tree and its precious fruit.

In 1 Nephi chapter 11 the vision is explained.  The tree is a symbol of Christ and its fruit is the love of God. The path which leads to the tree is the way to salvation as we journey through life.  The iron rod is interpreted as the word of God, and represents an invitation to come unto Christ.

I have arranged the hymn ‘The Iron Rod’ as a piano accompaniment for children’s voices.  The first verse and chorus are pretty basic, but the accompaniment gets a little tricky after that.  You could always just use the first two pages and repeat back to measure 10 for additional verses if you prefer.  But if you are looking for a fuller sound, this in an alternative.  

The melody is exactly as it appears in the LDS hymnbook (hymn #274), with the exception of moving up a half step the last time through.  It is arranged for three verses. I have made the recording with strings representing the melody/children’s voices.  

I can tell you from my own experiences that life is hard.  Trials and experiences can knock us off our feet at times.  I love these sweet words of encouragement by Dieter Uchtdorf:

“Dear friends, if you find it difficult to hold fast to the iron rod and walk steadfastly toward salvation; if the laughter and ridicule of others who seem so confident cause you to waver; if you are troubled by unanswered questions or doctrines you don’t understand yet; if you feel saddened because of disappointments, I urge you to remember Lehi’s dream.

Stay on the path!  Never let go of the rod of iron—the word of God!  And when anyone tries to make you ashamed for partaking of the love of God, ignore them.  Never forget you are a child of God; rich blessings are in store; if you can learn to do His will, you’ll live with Him once more!”

Click HERE to download free sheet music 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Come, Come Ye Saints & Schumann's Träumerei

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;

But with joy wend your way.

Though hard to you this journey may appear,

Grace shall be as your day.

’Tis better far for us to strive

Our useless cares from us to drive;

Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—

All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?

’Tis not so; all is right.

Why should we think to earn a great reward

If we now shun the fight?

Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.

Our God will never us forsake;

And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—

All is well! All is well!

We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,

Far away in the West,

Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;

There the Saints will be blessed.

We’ll make the air with music ring,

Shout praises to our God and King;

Above the rest these words we’ll tell—

All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey’s through,

Happy day! All is well!

We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;

With the just we shall dwell!

But if our lives are spared again

To see the Saints their rest obtain,

Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell—

All is well! All is well!

Text: William Clayton, 1814–1879

Click HERE to download free sheet music