Apr 072014

The last couple of projects I’ve worked on have dealt with the visual arts. Let me help you to understand the irony of this.



I drew an avocado once, for an art class in high school. It even somewhat resembled an avocado. I have been so proud of this achievement all my life that I often mention it with pride to my children, a couple of whom are visual artists who put my poor little avocado to shame. “The Avocado” has become a bit of a legend in the DeFord household, complete with those clandestine sympathetic behind-my-back glances that so plainly say, “Poor mom!”

So, needless to say, when these last projects rolled around I didn’t do the visuals–just the music. :)

One project came about when I was asked to speak at a nearby Stake’s Women’s Conference in March. At the conference, they were going to display some really outstanding paintings by a member of the stake, Megan Rieker. (Check out some of her art here. Take a look at her “Women of Inspiration” gallery… gorgeous stuff! I particularly love this one.) A couple of weeks before the conference, Meg and I had a chance to talk a bit, and found that … drum roll… I had been wishing for slides documenting a beautiful painting as it progressed, and that she had a beautiful painting that she had photographed in various stages from start to finish. Funny how these things work out.

The resulting project is this video featuring “The Hour Draws Nigh” by Megan Rieker, set to the song “The Painter’s Hand.”

(There’s also a version without vocals, and download information… check the song page. :) )

The other project was an assignment from the LDS Church Music office, to arrange “I Am A Child of God” as background for a video to be shown during the 2014 General Women’s meeting. It presented a few interesting challenges: it was an 11th-hour sort of project, and needed to be done quickly; it was still in the planning stages, so there was no specific length, no specific voicings, no specifics at all, really!; and … well… spin it as I might, here was the real challenge… this beautiful children’s song has been arranged so many times by so many talented people that I was unsure whether or not I could come up with anything fresh. As it turned out, the video itself was so sweet it didn’t matter much what I did anyway!

David Zabriskie did the orchestration; the video footage features wonderful people from around the world. The sheet music is just piano and a melody line. For suggestions on how it might be used, see the “I Am a Child of God” song page.

So much better than avocados! ;)

Jan 192014

Last May, this song happened: “Only Love.” Last May? Yeah, it really was that long ago. I wrote this song in collaboration with Josh Weed, who has become one of my favorite people. Josh gives his take here on how we came to write it together. I’ll admit this collaboration was a leap of faith. [Read More...]

Dec 302013
Simply beautiful

A couple of weeks ago this lovely CD showed up in my mailbox. It came to me because three of my arrangements are included on it: “Be Still My Soul,” “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” The artist on this disk is Sara Noel Bauman, an extremely talented violinist, [Read More...]

Dec 012013
'Tis the Season

One of the greatest things about self-publishing is that you can write Christmas music any time you like. For example, during the Christmas season. One of the worst things about self-publishing is that you tend to write Christmas music at the wrong time of year to be useful. For example, during the Christmas season. Case [Read More...]

Sep 162013

Here, for your Monday entertainment, is a cover of my arrangement of “Be Still, My Soul,” recorded by Jenna Jackman Handy. She takes a lot of liberties with the melody… okay, scratch that… the melody is practically her own, and it suits her voice perfectly. I know one or two of you are wondering… do [Read More...]

Jul 122013

Here’s one of my absolute favorite modern compositions: “Behold the Wounds in Jesus’ Hands” with text by John V. Pearson and Music by David R. Naylor. This is a go-to standard in my library. The words are touching and sweet, and the music is beautiful. This video uses the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s rendition. Unlike some [Read More...]

Jun 142013

You know, I’m not much of a performer myself, and one of the things that makes songwriting so rewarding for me is listening to other people perform my songs. So many beautiful interpretations are posted to YouTube, that I thought today I’d share the wealth. First up is this lovely cover of “Be Still, My [Read More...]