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Hush the Baby: a tale of two melodies

A thing I do to drive myself a little crazier: “finish” something, make it public, and then regret it because it was just. plain. wrong.

I did that last December with my latest Christmas song, “Hush the Baby.” The melody and feel I had chosen were simply wrong. Not that I was smart enough to recognize that on my own. It wasn’t until I began trying to arrange it for solo voice and kept hitting brick walls that I realized maybe Heavenly Father was trying to tell me something.

As I struggled with the arrangement, here’s what my Facebook entry looked like:

A question for my creative friends out there: How do you deal with mental blocks? How do you kick-start your artistic engines? How do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling… blah? I’m there. And to tell you the truth, it’s a fairly unfamiliar place. No energy, no ideas, no nothing. And I’m usually full of it. 😉

And when I finally wised up…

Well, a follow-up here to my mental block of a few days ago. All of you gave me great suggestions, most of which made me sure I needed to go to Disneyland… which thing, unfortunately, didn’t happen.

I *did* try several of your ideas, and most of all lots of praying. The roadblock didn’t budge until I backtracked quite a bit and re-wrote the melody I was working on with an entirely new feel. When I decided to go another route instead of stubbornly pursuing the path I was on, things started to move again.

All the while I was trying to pray away the blahs and wondering why I wasn’t getting an answer, I should have realized that the mental block WAS the answer. The Lord wanted me to go in another direction, and there was no way in heaven He was going to remove that barrier until I got the message.

So hopefully I’ve learned my lesson from this stupor of creativity. I’m really glad He knows what He’s doing when I don’t. Which is most of the time.

Fortunately, the only place I had made the old version public was Facebook*. And nobody reads Facebook, right? 😉

Hush the Baby” is another song inspired by imagining what Joseph’s part in the nativity might have been. I’ve never taken “but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes…” too seriously. He was a baby, after all, and I’m sure he did everything that newborn infants do. Bearing a child under the conditions we ascribe to that first Christmas would have been tiring in the extreme, and Mary would have been in need of all the rest she could get. So this little lullaby is an invitation to Joseph to hold and comfort the newborn, while Mary get’s some much-needed sleep.

Hush the Baby” is, for now, solo voice only. Maybe I’ll hear it in parts one of these days… maybe not. 🙂

Here’s a recording, with vocals by Katie Bastian:

*BTW, if you’d like to join me on Facebook, you’ll find me at

There Is a Green Hill Far Away

“There is a green hill far away…” If ever there was a phrase designed to evoke images in the mind of a child, it’s that one. I think the author, Cecil Frances Alexander, intended it to be so since it was first published in her work, “Hymns for Little Children”. It certainly evoked images for [Read More…]

Baby Jesus

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In That Holy Place revisited

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Two Lovely Videos

Here are two old-but-new renditions in video form, with contributions from several wonderful people. First, here’s Tj Pini singing “Created in His Image.” The accompaniment has been reworked for this one. You can find it on the song page. The video footage was done by Natasha Nashadka, an erstwhile Colorado girl who moved away and [Read More…]

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Another beautiful voice: Tiffany Mortensen

Listen to the nice surprise that showed up in my in-box: So beautiful! Tiffany has graciously offered this to us for free download.* Visit her at *Click the icon at the top right that looks like this: Share this!

Damien and Lyric

Primary Music :)

Last October, a primary choir sang a medley of “Search, Ponder, and Pray” and “I Think When I Read That Sweet Story.” I was asked to arrange this specifically for the conference, and the sheet music was not then available. Now, thanks to the lovely folks in the Music and Cultural Arts office… ***drum roll*** [Read More…]


A couple of Christmas additions

Just a quick update this time. I’ve added an SATB hymn called “As Sudden Angels Filled the Night,” with an optional obbligato for two flutes. The words were written by my friend Toni Thomas, and the music is by yours truly. I don’t often write straight hymns, so this was fun (and challenging) for me. [Read More…]

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A Christmas Album worth hearing: Laura Pattillo – Oh Holy Night

Here’s a wonderful new album by singer Laura Pattillo to start your Christmas season off right. The arrangements are by Kurt Bestor, and the combination is gorgeous. I wanted to know a little more about her, so I asked her how she’d describe herself…

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Rain and Hope: The last “Gratitude Project” Installment.

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. ~Dr. Seuss One day back in the dark ages when I was about six, I sat at our living room window watching my hope for a day outdoors melting in a steady [Read More…]


How Can I Do Anything but Love Him?

I know that he died that I might be forgiven my follies, my sins, and be cleansed from them. How wonderful is this love. How can I, knowing this, do anything else but love him, my Redeemer?” Joseph Fielding Smith On the long list of things for which I am grateful, the Savior is at [Read More…]

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Hymn of Grateful Praise - Front Cover Pastel Lake with bars

Hymn of Grateful Praise

There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf Last year I determined that for all of 2015 I would write and arrange only songs that expressed gratitude. Music that asked for nothing, and gave thanks for the really wonderful things [Read More…]


Because you asked: General Conference Music

This lovely rendition of “If the Savior Stood Beside Me,” performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the Sunday morning session of General Conference, was arranged by Sam Cardon. The sheet music is, unfortunately, not available. (Neither is the conference center organ, or those amazing organists… so it’s probably for the best. 😉 ) This [Read More…]


Situation normal…

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Behind every good songwriter…

…or mediocre one, as the case may be, there’s a support staff without whom the magic wouldn’t happen. Share this!


Google is now officially too big for its britches.

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Personal Composer Demo

Until further notice, the Personal Composer Demo may be downloaded here: PERSONAL COMPOSER DEMO This is an .exe file. I do not know how your computer will respond to the attempt to download an executable, or what dire warnings it may give you. Happy transposing. I hope. Share this!


Another gorgeous voice: Mattie June

Here’s a sample track from a new release called “Noel” by Mattie June Millward. She recorded five of my songs/arrangements, featuring guitar by Clive Romney: O Come, O Come Emmanuel; A Manger Filled With Love; It Came Upon the Midnight Clear; Peace, Peace, Peace; and As Shepherds Kept Their Lonely Vigil. I’m just loving this [Read More…]


Jackman Music 2-for-1 Sale, Dec. 11, 2014

Just wanted to make sure you all are aware of Jackman Music’s buy-one-get-one-free sale, this Thursday, December 11. You have to buy multiples of two to get the sale price. This is a great time to stock up for the new year. Happy shopping! Share this!

Tabernacle organ manuals

If I Listen With My Heart – Ryan Murphy arrangement

In General Conference, October 2014, the Tabernacle Choir presented a lovely rendition of “If I Listen With My Heart,” arranged by associate director Ryan Murphy. Ryan has generously made the score available here so you can use it in your own choir. Here’s the performance from October: This version is deceptively simple. A friend in [Read More…]


All Tied Up With a Bow

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“In the Bleak Midwinter” and a new arrangement of “When the Son of God Was Born”

This is week three of the Christmas Music Deluge. I just realized (with a self-congratulatory smirk) that I have, so far, been able to meet my goal of one update per week until finished. We’ll see if that new leaf stays turned. Todays additions: In the Bleak Midwinter“–a new setting of the beautiful old traditional [Read More…]

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On a Still and Starry Night CD

“Gesù, Bambino” and a new duet setting of “Born to Wear a Crown”

In this latest installment of the Christmas Music Deluge, I’ve added a new arrangement of “Gesù Bambino,” (Pietro Yon/Frederick H. Martens) for Solo, SSA or SSATB choir. I love the original dearly just the way it is, so in arranging it I tried to do something a little different. This arrangement is designed to be [Read More…]

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On a Still and Starry Night (my 2014 Christmas Card Carol) and The First Noel

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The nice folks at a company I had not before heard of–Forte Notation software–contacted me and offered a copy of their Pro edition in exchange for a review here on the blog. Of course, one cannot review notation software without something new to notate, so I concocted a short, simple little accompaniment for LDS Hymn [Read More…]


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