"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:2, ESV
About 6 years ago I hit a season where I was dealing with extreme anxiety that centered specifically around airports and flying on planes. This wouldn't have been so terrible for someone who doesn't travel, but for a girl who not only flew an average of twice a month and who also held the role of Road Manager, meaning I had to be the calm one who fixed any travel hiccups that arose...lets just say it was a huge issue. The low point by far was a trip home from the DC area where my entire flight was forced to deplane because the aircraft had a hole in the roof and rain was pouring through the ceiling into the laps of about 6 rows of passengers, myself included. When I got back to the gate, I sat on the floor, leaned against a column, called my husband, and dissolved into tears the minute he answered.
Music has always soothed my soul and had a profound experience on my physically as well and as I worked through how to overcome this anxiety, I made a playlist of calming tunes to listen to on repeat whenever I did have to fly. The bulk of the playlist was composed of songs from Michelle Margiotta's "No Words: Volume 1" (which you can actually download for free if you join her email list). But somewhere along the way someone recommended I check out this tune by Fernando Ortega and it became a staple in the mix. And by "staple" I mean, this one song on repeat play for entire cross-country flights.
I'm thankful to say the Lord has given me lots of victory over that anxiety in recent years. But that tune has remained a favorite. When I heard it, I instantly imagined my dear friend George Rowe singing it and sent it to him and for about 2 years we schemed that some day we'd play it in church, so when I had the opportunity to do a concert last summer, it was the first song that went on the setlist. With the advent of the pandemic, our musical director David Madeira has been creative about ways to continue to bring music that involves more musicians than we can safely bring together on a Sunday morning and his latest vision was to bring this song to life. He arranged the tune for piano, violin, viola, cello, flugelhorn and clarinet and George once again lent his voice to the lead vocal. (I'm re-posting that video above, see permissions below.)
I can't accurately articulate the deep peace and healing Fernando's original version of this song has brought to me over the years. And I'm deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to play a small part in re-creating it as part of this incredible ensemble of musicians. I pray it brings you the Grace and Peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ as well.
Musicians of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, Nashville, perform Fernando Ortega's "Grace and Peace."
Lead vocal: George Rowe Instrumentalists: Bethany Bordeaux (violin), Doug Carpenter (viola), Mark Lickey (flugelhorn), Paul Nelson (cello), Joy Pratt (clarinet). Musical adaptation and video production/editing by David Madeira. Audio mixed by Tim Lauer. Videography by Matthew Shepherd and David Madeira.
Words: Philippians 1:2. Music by John Andrew Schreiner and Fernando Ortega. © 2006 Curb Songs, Cerdo Verde Music, and John Andrew Schreiner Music; admin. Curb Records, Lori Kelly Rights & Licenses, and Curb Music Publishing. Used by permission. CCLI#4854694
Originally a Facebook Live video, this 38 minute clip gives you a sneak peek into the second day of the fiddle recording process as I worked through the fiddle part for "What A Friend We Have In Jesus." Lots of playing the same thing over and over trying to get a good take! You can hear my conversation with producer Stephen Leiweke (off camera) as we talk through what works, what doesn't, and then the entire process of getting enough useable takes of this gorgeous hymn.
Thought I would hop on and bring you all a little update from day one of tracking fiddle in the studio! We had an amazing first day and got three tunes done (plus the It Is Well that we had tracked back in June.) Below you can catch a peek of what it's like to be in the booth with me while we work. Lots of playing the same thing over and over trying to get a good take! What you can't hear is Stephen Leiweke talking to me through my headphones, but still a fun behind the scenes look!
Super excited to head back over tomorrow and Friday and watch this record come to life!
Lord, our hope truly is in You alone...our hope for tomorrow, for comfort, for joy. We cry out to you and ask for only even a whisper in return to bring light to our darkness and calm to our anxious thoughts. Amen.
Soft as the voice of an angel
Breathing a lesson unheard
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers a comforting word.
Wait, till the darkness is over
Wait, till the tempest is done
Hope, for the sunshine tomorrow
After the darkness is gone.
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice.
If in the dusk of the twilight
Dimmed be the region afar
Will not the deepening darkness
Brightin' the glittering star.
Then when the night is upon us
Why should the heart sink away
When the dark midnight is over
Watch for the breaking of day.
Oh how welcome Thy voice
Making my heart
Any sorrow rejoice...
Both the words and music to “Whispering Hope” were written by Alice Hawthorne, pseudonym for songwriter Septimus Winner. Published in 1868, the hymn gained instant success in churches and has been published in hymnbooks continuously since that time. Winner was quite the accomplished writer of songs including “where oh where has my little dog gone” and “ten little Indians.” He used his music to take various political stands and was at one point thrown in jail for a particular tune advocating a highly controversial political opinion.
An accomplished musician, Winner not only wrote songs, but was well known as a violinist, music teacher and ran his own music shop as well. He frequently contributed to a magazine edited by Edgar Allen Poe and although he died in 1902, he was posthumously inducted into the songwriters’ hall of fame in 1970.
Tonight's special guest is my own sweet Mama, Barbara Daniel, on guitar. Read on for more info on her!
My mother, Barbara Daniel, is bar-none one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever met. Born to first-generation-American working class parents in the Bronx in the middle of the twentieth century, opportunity to participate in organized extracurricular activities was limited to say the least. She had a brief run at guitar lessons at 13 on an instrument intended for someone twice her size. These lessons were short-lived and would prove to be both the beginning and the end of her childhood formal musical training.
But Mom is the kind of person that disregards the lack of something and creates her own solutions in space where there previously were none. When I was a baby, she decided to take piano lessons on an ancient upright given us for free by a friend who was happy to get the rat-nest-filled behemoth out of their barn. Her teacher was a saintly woman who not only taught my mom, but also rocked me on her lap as she taught. Although the demands of motherhood also cut short piano study, when Mom enrolled me in violin lessons a few years later, she sat through each of my lessons taking notes so she could help me practice and began to learn violin herself (although violin would also be placed on the back burner for many years, in order to return to school and care for aging parents). When she finally retired from her post as a health and fitness instructor in her 60's, she decided to return to her long-deferred desire to learn the guitar and began jamming with a local Celtic and Bluegrass Gospel group and practicing as diligently as any musician could. To this day, on any given Thursday night she can be found playing both the guitar and the fiddle at "Pickin' & Grinnin'" in Ardmore, TN...a community jam session that includes players of all ages and skill levels and is just about the most charming slice of Americana to be found.
I couldn't imagine doing this series without including the woman who not only gave me actual, physical life, but who sacrificed to give me opportunities she hadn't had as a child. Opportunities that ultimately led to the vocational life I would later build for myself. As with most of my guests, I let her choose the tune, and although I wasn't familiar with "Whispering Hope" when she sent it to me, I found the gospel flair fitting to her, and what better topic than hope to celebrate alongside one of the most cheerfully optimistic and encouraging women I know? I'm so incredibly proud of her and all her accomplishments. Her example is like hope whispered to me each and every day.
Based on Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil,” the text of the song refers to the anchor that keeps the soul unwavering — the “Whispering Hope” for all Christians.
Lord, thank you teaching us how to pray. As we find ourselves facing illness, political and racial division and other difficulty, may we consistently turn to You in prayer for these times are temporary and we know that your power and glory are everlasting. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
on earth as is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours.
now and forever.
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 particular setting was composed by composer/arranger/music director Dr. David Madeira in 2015. As The Lord's Prayer is an element of our service that we sing weekly during Sunday morning mass, Madeira originally wrote this because he wanted a new singable, congregational setting of this beautiful prayer that could be done in any instrumental context - traditional, contemporary, or blended - and still work well.
If you are interested in using this particular setting for worship with your congregation, it is available for purchase on his website by clicking HERE. I appreciate his permission to allow me to feature this arrangement on this series.
Both my special guests tonight are repeat-performers on the Hymns From Home and need no introduction. Pianist David Madeira has been previously featured on Episode 7 [Be Still My Soul/O love That Wilt Not Let Me Go], Episode 15 [Spiegel im Spiegel: A.Pärt/Together] & Episode 16 [Give Me Jesus/Were You There When They Crucified My Lord] and organist Jane Metcalfe played on Episode 21 [I Know That My Redeemer Lives].
Although the very first episode of Hymns From Home featured a popular arrangement of The Lord's Prayer, I wanted to include this version in the series as well because the music is so beautiful and honestly, we can never spend too much time in prayer.
When the pandemic first began, our amazing church was suddenly faced with the need to figure out how to broadcast our services so that the congregation could continue to worship "together" each in our own homes. While I have always volunteered on the music team, my participation has been a fairly minimal every-once-a-month or so sort of thing. However, suddenly faced with months at home as my weekend travel was cancelled, I've had the incredible privilege of serving alongside Jane, David and our vocalist Mary-Grace every single Sunday morning. While I certainly look forward to services returning to normal and getting to play with the other volunteers again, it's been a gift to be able to partner with these folks each week and lead the congregation through this odd season.
Yesterday was the last Sunday of this particular setup and I thought it was worth commemorating in tonight's episode. We recorded this video after church...clad in our masks, and yes 6 feet apart. In our Sunday morning liturgy, the Lord's Prayer is sung during the preparations for the taking of Communion. May it be for us also tonight - may this be an anthem that ushers in an experience of communing with God...and our fellow man.
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!!