A QUICK NOTE TO BEGIN
Although we are all somewhat isolated in this "Safer At Home" season, we're all in this together and so I wanted to bring along a few special guests for some "virtual duets." Through the magic of technology they will each be "joining" me from their homes as well. Tonight's guest is Michelle Margiotta who also kindly lended her video editing skills to make this whole nutty plan work. For more information on Michelle, be sure to read the background & personal sections below (and do the same for each subsequent guest.)
Here's to being #alonetogether in this season.
Lord, as we look to our left and our right we see despair and destruction, but we ask you to be our wisdom, our battle shield, our inheritance and the place we fix our eyes during our time on earth until we reach Heaven's joys.
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art--
thou my best thought by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
thou my great Father, I thy true son;
thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my battle shield, sword for my fight;
be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tow'r:
raise thou me heav'n-ward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
In the 8th century a monk named Dallan Forgaill wrote the Irish poem, “Rop tú mo Baile” ("Be Thou my Vision"), to remember and honor the faith of St. Patrick. Legend has it, that St. Patrick lit a fire in defiance of a pagan ritual decreed by King Logaire of Tara. However, the king was so impressed by the missionary's faith, that he allowed Patrick to continue his work despite his disobedience. In 1905, Mary Elizabeth Byrne translated this poem into the English format of the hymn that we know today.
The tune, SLANE, is an old Irish folk tune that was published as accompaniment for Be Thou My Vision in 1927 by arranger David Evans. The name "Slane" is the county of Ireland where the St. Patrick's acts of fiery defiance occurred. The opening motive of this particular hymn setting was composed by Dr. Michelle Margiotta, a contemporary multi-instrumentalist, Professor of Music Composition, music educator, worship leader, composer, and arranger. In addition to having released several albums of her own music, her past accomplishments include leading worship at Times Square Church in Manhattan, playing many concerts with contemporary Christian artist Kathy Troccoli and composing orchestrations for Kathy Lee Gifford.
In 2013 I was involved in a particular series of Christian women's conferences and exchanged a large volume of very professional (and honestly dry sounding) emails with a person who I only knew as "Michelle, the accompanist." Needless to say, the image I had in my head definitely did not match the mischievous, brilliant, big-hearted New York Italian that I finally met when the first event rolled around. It was "friendship at first sight" and since then we've had the privilege to not only play music and travel together (and eat lots of crepes and drink more coffee than any human should ever consume) but also to walk through some of life's hardest and sweetest seasons as the kind of friends that you can call at 2am and know will answer.
A person only has to spend a few seconds with Michelle to realize that she is so steeped in Jesus Christ that her gaze on His face never falters...He truly is her vision, so I cannot think of a more fitting piece to choose as a duet with her than this one. This particular arrangement was written by Dr. Margiotta in 2016 and debuted that same year at St. Bartholomew's Church in Nashville, TN. It has not been performed again until now.
***my sincerest thanks also to Michelle for not only agreeing to do a song with me, but also volunteering to be my video editor and save from posting really terrible quality videos.
Lord, we like sheep are vulnerable and scared in these uncertain times, but we know that you will provide us with everything we need and we take comfort that you know each and every one of us by name.
"I Am Jesus Little Lamb" was written in the middle of the 18th Century by Henriette Louise von Hayn, and all accounts point to her having composed both the lyric and the music. In addition to being a gifted hymn writer, von Hayn was also a teacher at a girls school and later became tasked with taking care of the "invalid sisters" in the Moravian community of which she was part.
The writer of the lyrics of "Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Me" is unknown although it's earliest publication was in a songbook called "Hymns for the Young." The tune however, BRADBURY, was composed by William Bradbury expressly to accompany this particular set of lyrics. In addition to being an organist, educator, church musician and purveyor of pianos (jointly with his brother, Bradbury is best remembered for penning the classic sacred childrens' song, "Jesus Loves Me."
The topic of sheep and shepherds comes up often in Scripture both in narrative and analogy or parable terms, but I've pondered the concept of us being the Lord's lamb much more after becoming a mother: partly because one of my daughter's favorite books is "Found," an adaptation of Psalm 23 written for children by Sally Lloyd Jones, and partly because I'm now learning to care for my own little one, tending her needs and watching her grow.
When I was little, my mom would sing a song to me called "I Am Jesus Little Lamb" that she had learned in Lutheran school as a child. And now as part of her newfound role as a grandmother, she has passed it along to my Clare (who has embraced it with gusto.) As I pondered which songs to include in this project, "Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Me" came to mind as it has also always been a favorite, so it seemed fitting to combine these for this second day of Hymns From Home...and of course having my own "little lamb" make a cameo made it all the more special. I hope she brings joy to your hearts and that you will remember our good shepherd that is caring for each of us and calling us by name even, nay especially, in the midst of crisis.
Lately things have been uncertain and downright scary. We’ve all been forced to slow down in one way or another which I have personally found both an inconvenience and a gift.
I wanted a way to reach out and encourage you each, and as I thought about how to do that and what to do, I decided that I wanted to give you a moment to make the most of this time you have to be still. As of midnight last night, Nashville is under a #SaferAtHome order. Maybe your area is too, or maybe you are choosing to shelter in place voluntarily as a way to support ALL your neighbors: those you know, and those you don’t.
So for the next two weeks, starting tonight, I’m bringing you “Hymns From Home.” 5-10 minutes of instrumental hymns posted at 8:00pm *almost* every night. Each night I will have a thought or a verse for you to meditate on while you listen, or you can use it as a soundtrack for your own prayers or reading. Whatever you need this time to be...it’s your space.
I’m hoping you’ll join me and looking forward to pressing in to some “corporate solitude” as we “social distance” in this season.
For each video I'll also give you a prayer prompt, a related passage of Scripture, and a brief bit of information on the piece of music should you choose to utilize them, or you can use this time to pray or reflect as you need to. It's your tool to use as you need. Praying for you each.
The Lord's Prayer
Lord, thank you teaching us how to pray. May your will be done even in times of uncertainty for we know that your power and glory are everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:2-4
The lyric for this piece is taken from the passages of Scripture that recount when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13 & Luke 11:2-4). This tune was composed in 1935 by American composer, organist and pianist Albert H Mallotte. While he toured both domestically and internationally as an artist, served in the armed forces and composed extensively for film and for the church, this setting of The Lord's Prayer remains his greatest remembered accomplishment.
Update: This is now a past event although the link is still live. You can check details for this past concert at bethanybordeaux.com/stbs
Any of you who know me know that I adore my church and often find excuses to bring it up in conversation, so I'm incredibly excited to announce that they are being gracious enough to allow me to do something I swore I'd never do: a solo show in Nashville, TN.
As intimidating as it is to play a show in a town where practically everyone is a musician, I'm delighted to get to share some of my very favorite fiddle tunes and violin pieces with each of you. I'm at a loss to articulate what being a violinist means to me, and I'm humbled to have the opportunity to contribute to the musical landscape of my community in some small way. This show is free and open to the public. An offering will be taken to benefit the St. B's Music Ministry.
The crew of folk that has agreed to play with me might be one of the best bands of musicians imaginable and I know you'll be blown away by their talent and graciousness as I am. I'm also SO excited to get to feature three friends sharing their versions of some powerful tunes. Stephen Mason is a multi-instrumentalist-turned-master-barber who rose to fame as part of the band Jars of Clay before opening his own barber shop and becoming known as "The Handsomizer." George Rowe also spent many years in the music industry as a solo artist before launching a highly successful career in real estate, and most recently heading up the Nashville branch of Compass. Jonathan Noël currently serves as the Director of Worship Arts at the Church of the Apostles in Raleigh, NC, often plays piano for singer Fernando Ortega and is a brilliant musician and songwriter. These guest appearances will be huge musical treats for your ears.
And speaking of treats...we'd be delighted if you'd be our guests at a reception after the concert is over. Grab a bite and a drink and linger with friends or make some new ones - I've no doubt it will be a warm and welcoming crowd.
So mark your calendars and bring your kids, family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, favorite barista - whoever you choose, and sit back for some fiddle and good folk.
(I've put all the details below.)
Bethany Bordeaux (and Friends)
Live @ St. B's
August 18, 6:30 pm
St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church
4800 Belmont Park Terrace,
Nashville, TN 37215
Reception to follow
An offering will be taken to benefit the St. B's Music Ministry
Stephen Mason - Stephen Leiweke - Brian Langlinais - Adam Wirdzek - Jonathan Noël
David Madeira - Mark Lickey - Matt Rhea - Joy Pratt - Meg Settle
WITH SPECIAL PERFORMANCES BY:
George Rowe - Stephen Mason - Jonathan Noël
A Note From Bethany:
I started this blog about 2 months ago and got sidetracked and honestly, wasn't sure what I wanted to say, so I never finished it. But this morning as I was thinking about the new year and reflecting all that has happened and what may come, I realized that this was a story that I wanted and needed to share. A story about God's love and provision...of how He hears when His children call and still shows up in miraculous ways. Pardon the length. Learning to be concise is on my list of 2016 resolutions. But I'm not there yet.
Now, the story:
Besides being a violinist, I have had the privilege of being a road manager for the past several years. A large portion of my job is focused around travel and the task of getting myself and those traveling with me from point A to point B as smoothly as possible. Over the years I've learned how to navigate the world of airports and flight issues and rental cars and hotels and travel clubs and how to plan an itinerary. If you've ever traveled with me, you know that I'm a planner....that I make incredibly lengthy PDF documents bursting at the seams with details...that all my schedules feature the ever famous "cushion;" a buffer of extra time where I plan for things to go wrong and then pray that they don't. All this to say, that planning travel is part of my day-to-day. It's something I'm comfortable with.
This past fall, I was asked to play a concert at the Brooklyn Tabernacle with Christian singer/songwriter Laura Story. I decided to fly up two days early on Friday to visit some cousins in New Jersey and then a friend on Long Island before the Sunday afternoon show in Brooklyn. I knew when I planned my trip that getting from Long Island to Brooklyn on Sunday morning in time for soundcheck would require careful planning, but it didn't worry me. I'm used to complicated travel, and if nothing else, I'm excessively resourceful. My plan A was to drive my friend Michelle's car into the city (she was coming a few hours later in for the show with a friend and could drive it home). Plan B was one of two train routes that I'd mapped out with the help of friends and my born-in-New-York mom.
I had a fantastic Friday/Saturday in Jersey with cousins and friends (but that's another blog) and headed to Long Island late Saturday afternoon to stay with my friend Michelle, when my plans began to systematically unravel. As we drove along we started to see signs reminding drivers that basically Every. Single. Road. into the city would be closed the next morning because of the New York Marathon. Oh, and the World Series was Sunday as well. Hmm. So, the plan to drive in wasn't an option. No big deal. I'd switch to plan B....taking the train.
As soon as we got to Michelle's I hopped on the internet to purchase a train ticket....only to find out that the two train lines I'd need to take were closed for "routine maintenance." I called another friend who lives in Manhattan (which is closer to the Brooklyn Tab than Long Island) to see if I could drive in that night and stay with her. She graciously told me I was welcome and could figure out some sort of sleeping arrangement for me, but mentioned that she already had company. I checked the subway routes from her apartment and they seemed super complicated. It wasn't looking like any better an option than staying where I was.
I started to feel a familiar adversary rise up in the back of my throat and through my chest. The gripping anxiety and almost claustrophobic feeling of being faced with a situation where all my options seemed to be shutting down one by one. I felt overwhelmed and my mind jumped to the worst-case-scenario: I wasn't going to be able to get to Brooklyn for the concert that was the entire reason I was there in the first place.
When anxiety starts to take root in me, it can be crippling. All my problem-solving skills and level-headed thinking go out the window and all I can focus on are irrational, unlikely outcomes and the helplessness that I feel. I've walked with the Lord long enough to know that these moments are when I should turn immediately to Him and seek His comfort. But if I'm being honest, (and apparently I am because I just wrote a paragraph and a half about anxiety), that's not always my first reaction. And it wasn't in this case. I cried. I worried. I Googled everything I could think of pertaining to the New York City transit system. I got so worked up that my poor friend Michelle needed a "lifeline" to deal with crazy Bethany and literally "phoned a friend," Taryn, who fortunately is organized, and had zero emotional involvement in the situation and could still think clearly.
I knew I needed to step back. I went and sat in the next room and thought about what I found most overwhelming about the situation and realized that it wasn't necessarily all the road closures or defunct train lines, (although they were certainly the acute problem at hand.) I felt alone. Despite being surrounded by friends and family all day and even in that moment as I worked to find a solution, I didn't have anyone who was available to travel with me in the morning. I was facing a difficult set of circumstances, and I knew that I was going to have to face it alone. And that was what I found most impossible. And then I began to hear the Lord. He reminded my heart that I was not alone...that He was with me, and that if I were to seek His will in all I do, that He would make my path straight (Proverbs 3:6). That He is my refuge and my strength and my ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). That if I call on Him, He will hear me (1 John 5:14).
I began to pray and asked the Lord to calm my spirit, to show me the way, and most of all to provide someone to go with me in the morning so I wouldn't be going alone...however it was that I was going to get there. I felt a stillness and peace that the Lord had already planned my journey long before I asked Him to.
I wandered back to Michelle who was still on the phone. She covered up the mouthpiece and said, "Hey...we've found a train route that's open, but it might be a little confusing. How would you feel about traveling with people you don't know? Would that be comforting to you? Taryn has a co-worker and her husband taking the train in the morning...they go to church at the Brooklyn Tab and can go with you every step of the way."
The next morning, I dropped Michelle at church, drove to the West Babylon train station, parked her car and waited in the lobby for two people who I'd never met. The Levchucks, it turned out, made the hour drive each way every Sunday morning to attend church. Two weeks prior when they found out that the roads in would be closed that day, they almost decided to just skip. But Rick said that he had this nagging feeling that they needed to still go for some reason, so he chose a train route and bought their tickets. Sure it would be a hassle, but wasn't it worth it to worship the Lord? So when Majella's phone had lit up that Saturday night with a text from Taryn asking if the friend of a friend could ride with them on the train in the morning, they had said "Yes" without questioning it...as if escorting a nervous, Southern violinist into the city was the sort of request that came across their paths every day.
Rick and Majella were the loveliest couple who helped me purchase the right ticket, switch trains, navigate the subway when we got to the city and couldn't cross the street due to hundreds of marathon runners. They listened to me share my story, encouraged me, rolled my suitcase for me as I toted my backpack and violin, and shared their faith with an inner-city schoolteacher as we bumped down the train tracks, packed in like cattle. You might not be able to get to Heaven on roller skates, but I'm pretty sure I caught a glimpse of it aboard the Long Island Rail Road that morning.
When we finally walked through the front door of the Brooklyn Tab, I turned to them and teased, "Is this the part where you guys disappear and I find out that you were both angels?" They chuckled and said it was really no big deal. They'd been happy to come with me. (I've since received a Christmas Card from them so I can attest that they are real people. And in bonus "too fantastic to be true" news, their street address is nearly identical to mine.) The rest of the day was incredible and I could (and might) write at least 3 more blogs on the things the Lord showed me that weekend. But I keep coming back to the provisions the Lord made for me over that Saturday night and Sunday morning.
And He is willing to do these things for me every day if I only seek Him and believe. So as we start 2016, may you too seek Him always, in the big and the small.
Stories and thoughts and current happenings in music and life
Bethany is a freelance violinist/fiddler and tour manager who works with artists & events such as Kelly Minter, Cultivate: A Gathering Around The Word and Laura Story. She and her husband Keith live in Nashville, TN with their daughter Clare, cat & 6 backyard chickens. For more info on Bethany, visit her bio page!!