What’s New?

 
Me, just taking what I require...
My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require.
(Sir Edward Elgar, 1857-1934)
  • Some odds and ends, because of…

    July 3, 2014

    …a new compilation CD. That I finally finished. Hallelujah. It’s called “He is My Song,” and here’s a list of what’s on the disk, with links to the song pages and a description of the new material that’s been added:

    Last but not least, the Personal Composer files are now done and posted for all the tracks included, so transpose to your heart’s content.

    Here’s a playlist so you can listen to the whole thing if you’d like, and info on where to get the album or any part thereof:
    Listen to this album…
    Get this album…
    …or any of its tracks using these links:

    As always, free 128kbps downloads for most tracks are located on each song page.

    There’s also an accompaniment tracks album available. Here’s the playlist and info for that one:
    Listen to this album…
    Get this album…
    …or any of its tracks using these links:

    As always, free 128kbps downloads for most tracks are located on each song page.

    Happy Thursday! Have a lovely weekend.

  • Lest we forget our home’s with God…

    May 5, 2014

    In the August 2010 edition of the Ensign magazine, a lovely hymn titled “Come Home” appeared. We used it in our ward choir, and I liked it well enough that when the composer, Michael Moody, suggested that I arrange it for choral anthem, I was thrilled at the prospect. Since Heather and I were working on a project at the time, I also arranged it for solo with equal-voice harmony, and we included it on the “Reaching for the Light” album.

    Here’s the result:

    The title is suggestive of music that might be appropriate for a funeral, and while the lyrics would certainly be suitable for that use, the broader message of the song is simply a warm invitation to each of us to return to our Heavenly Father, to live forever with Him as an eternal family.

    Scores for the arrangements of “Come Home” are available for SATB choir or for solo with optional equal-voice harmony. There is also a separate score for the obbligatos.

  • Video Fun and Games

    April 7, 2014

    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.

    Mmmmm....

    Mmmmm….

    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! ;)

  • ‘Tis the Season

    December 1, 2013

    Swirly Christmas TreeOne 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 in point: Here’s a new Christmas piece, titled “A Holy Child is Born,” for vocal solo (with optional harmony for the third verse) and violin obbligato. In this track, the vocals AND the violin are provided by my wonderful friend, Sarah Crowther. Needless to say, she didn’t do both at once.

    The lyrics to this one are unusual for me. I tend to write in full sentences–with (*gasp*) occasional run-on sentences thrown in for good measure. This particular song contains a lot of fragments–short phrases that I used to try to describe the picture of that first Christmas as I was seeing it with my mind’s eye.

    There are a couple more Christmas things floating around in my head that will probably show up here in the next week or two, just in time to be of no practical use until next year. I should put up the tree, flock my windows and bake sugar cookies in July and see if it motivates me to produce Christmas music any earlier. Hmmmm… since the thought of that is making me grin, maybe I will. :)

    Oh… I’ve been meaning to mention this for awhile, so this is as good a time as any. One of the questions that pops up quite often about site content is, “Why is this vocal demo in a different key than the score?”

    The answer lies in the way the vocal demos are produced. I write a song and send it off to a vocalist, and then the conversation tends to go like this:

    Seven Sharps et alVocalist: Can I have this 3 semitones lower?
    Me: Um, sure, but that puts the last verse in 7 sharps, and every pianist in the world is going to hate me.
    Vocalist: Oh, no problem.
    Me: Right.

    So I change the key, and the vocalist records the demo beeeautifully and I am thankful that I caved. But alas, when I go to publish the score, I proof it at the piano and realize that yes, every pianist in the world is going to hate me. And since I truly cannot brave the wrath of every pianist in the world, I publish the score in the original key.

    If, knowing this, you want the score in the key used in the demo track regardless of its billion sharps or flats, it’s because you have to brave the wrath of only one pianist. In this case, just download the .pc file (assuming it’s available) and transpose to your heart’s content. When I hear the explosion from over your way, I will plug my ears and smile in smug satisfaction, knowing I did my best and that this meltdown is, for once, not my fault.

    Happy December!

  • God Will Provide a Lamb; and a cantata finally finished

    October 12, 2013

    Last night was a landmark for me… I actually finished something. Something big. And complicated. And boy am I patting myself on the back!

    The Praise to the Lord Cantata page has been a placeholder for (oh my… **blushes**…) two years(!) while I struggled to keep up with life. Last night I finished formatting the last score and converting the last file. It’s finally available in its entirety. That means…

    The SATB version of “Lying in a Manger” is also available. Many of you have written asking me when it would be posted, and it’s finally ready for you. (BTW, I have begun to dread questions that contain the word “When…?” ) It’s actually SSATTBB… but you can omit the harmonies in the TTBB and SSA sections to make it a simpler SATB.

    Abraham and Isaac prepare to travel to Moriah

    This is a story that affects me emotionally in a lot of ways.

    It also means that another of the songs from Heather’s lovely project, “Reaching for the Light,” is now uploaded and available. This song is also from the aforementioned cantata, and is called “God Will Provide a Lamb.”

    Since I was old enough to read, I have been particularly affected by the story of Abraham when he was commanded to sacrifice his son, Isaac. I remember sitting on my mother’s bed with an old, old, old red-letter edition of the Bible, reading the story and looking at the full-page color plate that faced the scriptural page. (The picture was much less gentle than the one at the left!)

    It wasn’t until much later that I recognized the event for what it was: a real-life “parable” about the sacrifice that Jesus Christ would make for them, and that He has made for me.

    This song describes that real-life “parable.”

    Here’s Heather Prusse singing the track, beautifully as usual:

    The song is available in both SATB, and low- to medium-voice solo.

    Happy Sunday!

  63 Responses to “What’s New?”

  1.  

    How may I obtain your great arrangement of Jos. Smith’s First Prayer set to the Come Thou Font music for our choir? I have asked this before but haven’t heard from you.

  2.  

    Dear Sally, this is the second time I am sending a comment to you. I love your music and my choir does, too. ” Make Us One,” :I Have Not Seen, Yet I Believe,” are two of our favorites. I plan to have my choir sing more of your beautiful God-inspired creations.

    Question: I have spent hours and hours looking for a choral anthem of Philippians 4:8-9, and couldn’t find one that I like. Have you considered composing one for choir? I can be sure that it would be another beautiful one from you.

    I would really like the courtesy of a reply, Sally. May God continue to bless you as you use His gifts to bless us all.

    Ruby L. Agnir
    Choir Director

  3.  

    We just finished a Bi-Ward Musical Fireside with the theme, Come Unto Christ. It was beautiful. Many of the songs shared were yours. My daughter and I sang “A Place in His Arms.” Many people were touched by the spirit while we sang your words. May we share with you a recording?

  4.  

    i enjoy listening, playing the pieces and singing your songs. They are all heart touching. Thank you for uploading them here. May the Lord bestow His blessings upon you as you serve Him continually.

  5.  

    My utmost gratitude to madam Sally and to God for the talent He gave to you…I appreciate it so much your generosity of sharing your music freely…we have started singing your songs for our special numbers in church(solo, duets)…thanks for the site and everything in it, continue to be a channel of blessing.

  6.  

    thank you so much for your beautiful songs! i’m excited to play them all .. i love them so much.. thanks for it’s free! God bless you

  7.  

    Dear Sally, I am writing you to let you know how much my choir and I enjoy your anthems. We have sung a good number of them, and I am looking at new ones, not just for choir but also for solos and duets.

    God has truly given you a great talent which you are using to help others who are working in His vineyard. May the Lord continue to bless you and grant you many years of writing music for Him, to be performed by His children.

    In His Service,
    Ruby Agnir
    Choir Director
    Atonement Lutheran Church in Wesley Chapel, Florida

  8.  

    Recorded this the other day and put it on SoundCloud. “I Have Not Seen…” I did it on a whim – still sounds pretty good. Thanks for your music!

    Mike

  9.  

    Hi Sally -How may I get a copy of “How Lovely was the Morning” set to Come Thou Font” ? It is wonderful!

  10.  

    Sally, is it permissible to make an SATB arrangement of your beautiful song “An Angel to Watch Over Me”? As a Ward Choir we would love sing it in Sacrament Meeting on Mothers’ Day. As a choir leader I have been most grateful for your generous sharing of your wonderful music. Always inspiring and uplifting to both “performer” and “listener”. Thank you!

    Dee G

  11.  

    Dear sister Sally,

    I really praise the Lord of your kindness in sharing your talents with us. May the Lord continually use you to inspire others, to uplift their faith to God through your songs.

    •  

      Sally, thanks for your generosity. My husband and I are singing the Abide With Me, for our sons ‘not the homecoming’ with our daughter doing the obbligato on violin. The lower registry for the women works well with my voice. You have added in a terrific manner to a special occasion. We appreciate your time and website. Today I am going to search out someone that I don’t know well and do something nice. It’s the ‘pass it along from Sally’.

  12.  

    Last year I heard your beautiful arrangement of Joseph’s First Prayer done to the melody of Come Thou Font..I would love to get that for my choir but did not see it on the alphabetical listing.

  13.  

    I don’t know what my ward choir would do without your wonderful music. We use it all the time and I have even used
    your beautiful “For the Beauty of the Earth” with my beginning high school choir at a competition. Thank you so
    very much for sharing your talents. Merrilee Hunter
    Manila 5th Ward Choir Director
    Choir Teacher, American Fork High School

  14.  

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing your music. I have selected “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night” to perform in my ward choir in Aurora, Co. It was not easy to narrow the choice down since I love all of your arrangements. Thank You – I hope I get to meet you some day.

    •  

      I cannot express how much your music means to me and to the members of my ward. I’ve been the ward chorister forever (I believe about 18 years). As we started using your music in our choir, a new spirit came over us. It’s been unbelievable and so spiritual to see tears run down the cheeks of not only our congregation but of our choir members as they sing. It’s become a Christmas tradition in our ward to sing the majestic songs you have arranged for our Christmas program. We start out with “Angels We Have Heard on High” following with “Oh Holy Night”, we then sing in between talks as many of your arrangements as we have time for. This year as we ended our program with the choir and congregation singing “Silent Night” the spirit was so strong it was amazing!! Thank you, thank you so much!!

  15.  

    Sally,
    You have such an incredible talent, equally as boundless as is your heart!
    Thank you for the wonderful resource you are for other musicians.
    Certainly your Heavenly Mansion will most assuredly be elegant and delightful!
    Keep sharing your magnificent talents! God bless you!
    Becky in Idaho

  16.  

    Hello Sally,
    FYI
    Today in Church Vaughn Gibbs sang for the homecoming of two of our missionaries. We were talking and he said he used to sing and you would play in the ward he was serving…Mountain Shadows area when he was on his mission.
    He is our Elders Quorum president. He and wife are expecting their second child in 8 months.

  17.  

    Sally, really wonderful songs. I was searching SATB Sheet for Christmas carol. Your site i found it is free . Appreciating your effort

    Thomas

  18.  

    Hello Sally,

    I have been extremely blessed by your songs…God has indeed used you mightily. I am just wondering if is it possible also that you can compose some wedding songs appropriate for the church? There is not much of a selection of wedding songs available. Thank you so much and please keep on composing. It means a lot to me and my family…May God bless you more!

  19.  

    With 13 years as Ward Choir director behind me, I have spent a lot of time searching for music a limited budget could handle and I have found myself coming back to your site over and over. When my sister called to tell me she was a new choir director and “Help, what do I do?” I sent her first to your site. I also search for something to tempt my children to practice their violin, cello, or flute, and nearly always find just what I need on your site. I LOVE the new format. Thank you so much for sharing your talent.

  20.  

    Thank you very much for your wonderful music. The first song i used from your website (in church service) was “how great is the miracle” one year ago. Since then i performed this song in a gospel concert from epiphanias gospel choir last year in december and one more time in church service. I plan to perform it again on october 31st in church service and also in december in a concert in titus church in hannover/germany.

    The next songs i tried (but not performed in public yet) were “an angel to watch over me” and “when hope was born”. Maybe i will perform one of these songs this year in the gospel concert from epiphanias gospel choir.

    I really like your music and i want to thank you for this wonderful music and your website.
    Thank you and may the lord bless you..

  21.  

    Sister DeFord,
    I have been Ward choir director for five years now, so I feel my time in this position must surely be coming to an end; but, before it does, I must let you know how much your music has meant to me, to our choir, and to every member of our ward who has had the privilege of of hearing it performed.
    I am so amazed at your generosity! Really, there is no one like you. Sharing the beautiful body of work you have created without financial compensation is…. well, there aren’t really words for what it “is”, are there? I do know that your music and the way you choose to use it, is a true reflection of Christ-like love.
    Please know how deeply grateful I am (we all are) to you. You have given all of us, here, some profoundly beautiful musical moments.
    Margaret R

  22.  

    I just want to thank you for the beautiful music that you have for us to listen to. It really relaxes me after a long day. I also wanted to see how you get the voices for your song? Do you hold auditions? If so I am interested. Thank you

  23.  

    Our stake choir is singing this weekend while Elder Zwick from the Seventy attends to call a new stake Presidency. We are singing I Stand All Amazed and The Lord is My Shepherd. Sally DeFord music is regular fare in the Nampa Idaho South Stake and in my local ward as well. Thank you, Sister DeFord!

  24.  

    Sister DeFord, Today for choir we sang “If the Savior Stood Beside Me”. It was so beautiful. I unfortunately have a heart-of-stone when it comes to being moved to tears. It just doesn’t happen for me and I’m not sure why. But, today as we sang and I thought of the message we were trying to communicate to the congregation my eyes did actually fill with tears. The song really moved me in ways that I can’t adequately explain. When I sat back down with the Spirit still humming along my senses, I just felt an overwhelming desire to thank you for sharing your gift with the world. We have sung many of your songs in the choir and I have loved them all. You are so talented and your songs are so marvelous. I have tried to dabble around a bit with some songwriting and I am pitifully inadequate at doing it, so to hear and feel what you do is astounding to me. Thank you again. Thank you so very much.

  25.  

    Sister DeFord, what a great blessing your songs have been in my life. I have been looking for a place to send you a note and tell you how much I have loved the CD My All Is Thine. Music has been precious to me and through it I have found solace that has helped me through some very tough challenges. Now as I read your experience with the fires and your thoughts about everyone living through “fires”or “trials” which the prayers of others has sustained and blessed their lives, I can so relate. The statements of other to me “I’m praying for you” are also very precious and gratefully accepted. Some days I have cried through your songs, sometimes I sing along with the songs, and always I feel the great peace that comes from our loving Heavenly Father as He holds us in His arms and whispers in our ears and to our hearts. Thanks for your beautiful and precious talent that you so generously share with us.

  26.  

    I really love your songs sally! (From the heart) Thank you for sharing your talent. God will Bless you :)

  27.  

    Sally, I’m so sorry about the fires you’ve had to deal with. We live in the mountains of northern California and have had some bad ones, but luckily they were not in such populated areas. Our little ward choir has sung your songs for years . . . especially your Christmas numbers, that we sing at the Courthouse Christmas Sing every December. Thanks so much for sharing your talents so generously with us.

  28.  

    Dear Sally, Its a joy to listen to your lovely and heavenly compositions. God has really gifted you in a very special way. His name be glorified and may your work for Him draw many hungry souls to His Grace. Pray foe God’s abundant blessings for you. God bless.

  29.  

    Thanks so much for generously sharing your talent. On you site a few generations ago we could see in the alphabetical listing if a number had a flute or violin obbligato. Is there any way to locate those without simply clicking on each number?

  30.  

    Sally, I love your music and I love your friend, Melissa Rogers : )
    Thank you both of you for all you mean to me.
    Char

    •  

      Oh yes, Melissa is amazing isn’t she? :)

      •  

        Melissa is my cousin – sounds like you’re all fabulous if you are friends with Melissa ! I am the ward choir director and we just finished singing your arrangement of ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’. My favorite! Thank you thank you for Sharing your beautiful gift

  31.  

    I am looking for theme songs to do with family. I’d like an arrangement of “Families Can Be Together Forever”, for our choir. Other primary songs in choir arrangements. Any suggestions? “Love is Spoken Here” also. We have sung many of your arrangements over the years. Love them.

  32.  

    Absolutely love your music! Our ward choir has used so much of it. On a personal level, I would like to see more “piano solos”. Does there happen to be one of “In My Father’s House Are Many Mansions?”

  33.  

    Sally,
    We are SO blessed by your gifts of music that we share with others in church etc. My FAVORITE songs are your Christmas ones. Have you thought of “re-arranging” additional Christmas songs into solos?
    Your “Silent Night” is incredible. I would LOVE other SOLO arrangements of familiar Christmas Songs w/ different accompaniments – of course just do this in your FREE time :)
    thank you thank you thank you!

  34.  

    Thank you Sally, I am looking forward to Christmas. Our small church choir love to sing Guard Him Joseph. It is especially a great song because not many are written of him. God bless you for sharing.

  35.  

    Thank you so very much for your generosity with sharing your music with the world. As a private voice teacher and choir director for both stake and ward here in Southern, California, I go to your site first when preparing a special program and number. Again, thank you.

  36.  

    Sally I would love to have some arrangements for my younger lds students levels 1 thru 5 perhaps even some organ and piano duets for me to play along with them…

  37.  

    For some reason when I click on a link to view/print your music, nothing happens. Am I doing something wrong?

  38.  

    I am a Baptist, but with the beautiful music you write, I don’t think God minds what church I go to. I enjoy singing, and playing your music in my church. My pastor now visits your site, and also uses your music. God has surely blessed you with talent, and I am thankful.
    Thank you

  39.  

    Thank you so very much for all the wonderful music and their very meaningful messages. Thank you more so for freely sharing them too. Not only have you blessed us, but in our singing them in church has blessed many in our church.

    HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY!

  40.  

    Thank you for all the years I have listened to and used your music. You are so generous and I love your talent.

  41.  

    As others have said, I too always go to your music first for ideas. I have never been disappointed. I am involved in our Heber/Overgaard Arizona Community Choir and it is so tender and sweet to hear them sing your beautiful music. Of course our ward choir loves singing your musical sermons as well.

  42.  

    Sally,
    Thank you so very much for your generosity with sharing your music with the world. As a private voice teacher and choir director for both stake and ward here in Southern, California, I go to your site first when preparing a special program and number. Again, thank you.

  43.  

    I love all of your great work. Thank you so much. I am the choir director in my ward in Sandy, Utah and use your arrangements frequently. Love them. I also sing in a quartet and we have done “A Believers Prayer” with much success and enjoyument. I am hoping that you can provide more TTBB arrangments when you can. We enjoy them very much. thanks for much for all you do.

  44.  

    Thank you for sharing your gift to those of us who sing for HIM in our churches. It is delightful having wonderful, fresh material to add to the worship experiences. As an ex-professional performer, it is nice to have such good tracks to back me up, and I can now stand up, instead of sitting at the ol’ 88′s. John (2nd Baptist, Cumberland MD)

  45.  

    I’m looking forward to new Christmas songs. Our choir is anxiously awaiting your latest inspiration…….thank you so much for your generous sharing……chris

    •  

      You know, after last year’s drought, I’m looking forward to doing some new Christmas songs too! Fingers crossed. :)

      •  

        How does one listen to the music they have choosen? I do not know how to use this new set up. Sorry I do not like this new set up. It is not easy to get what I want.

        •  

          Sorry… I know I hate it when they re-arrange stuff at the grocery store. ;) You might find something on my Links page that you will be more comfortable using. Best of luck!

        •  

          To use the links to the sound on the website, you need flash-support in your webbrowser.Maybe you have to install adobe flashplayer (depending on your browser).

          You also need flash-support, if you want to use the link to soundcloud (soundcloud uses also flash to play the music).

          I hope this helps to use the soundlinks on the website. Sally was so kind to provide the sound also as downloadable mp3-files. at least these links should be usable (and these links do not require flash).

          •  

            Almost! The Soundcloud links on the song pages are HTML5 and do not require flash support. Some browsers do not yet support HTML5, but hopefully they’ll get with the program soon. :)

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