Nearer, My God, To Thee

One of my favorite things about being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the abundance of quality music literature found in the church. I’ve done a lot of arrangements of hymns for various church functions and music is an essential part of how I share my testimony of Christ. This project is a mixture of old and new arrangements, many of which are the simple result of me doing my favorite thing in the world: playing prelude. I plan on transcribing and adding free sheet music as well as I have time; please contact me if you are interested in a specific piece as I would be happy to notate that one first.

This album is available for free download on the music page.

ABOUT THESE ARRANGEMENTS

1. “Nearer My God to Thee”

When I was in seminary classes in high school, I attended an extra early class for all of the students in zero period Jazz Bands in the district; we joked that it was the only seminary class you had to audition to get into. Because we were filled with musicians, our class was always invited to perform a special musical number at the end-of-year fireside. This is the piece we played my freshman year, although then it was arranged for a few trumpets, horns, trombones, and violins along with a four-hand piano accompaniment. I adapted that arrangement for solo piano while I was in the Provo MTC.

2. “O My Father”

I wrote this arrangement after reading the Book of Mormon with a particular emphasis on learning about how I could prepare to be an effective husband and father. One thing I particularly focused on were messages given by prophets directly to their children, such as Alma to his three sons (Alma 36-42), or Helaman to his two sons (Helaman 5). I tried to ask myself “Why is he giving this message to this child at this time?” While I have my own conclusions from this study, I recommend this exercise to all. Our Father in Heaven has taught me in ways personal to my needs, and I hope that I can effectively teach my own children according to their situation someday.

3. “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”

Like Nearer My God to Thee, I originally arranged this song for my seminary class. We did this number my junior year of high school with a violin, three horns, and some trumpets and trombones. While I was in the Provo, MTC I wrote a reduced version of the song for just piano and violin. After my mission, I expanded the arrangement to four-hand piano and violin, which I recorded with my dear friends Zach Griffin and Emma McNeely. I enjoy the feeling of triumph that I feel this arrangement conveys.

4. “Come Come Ye Saints”

I was asked to perform Come Come Ye Saints at a music fireside hosted by the Po Lam Ward on my mission in Hong Kong and this is what I came up with. This arrangement is somewhat based on the arrangement by Mac Wilburg often performed by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. I would cite Mac Wilburg as one of the most influential composers on my tastes and styles in general when it comes to my own writing. I do have pioneer ancestors and it makes me sit in silent awe whenever I consider the physical suffering that they were forced to endure because of their religion. I try my best to treat all people fairly and equally regardless of how they may be different from myself.

5. “Praise To The Man”

If you’ve listened to a lot of my music you might notice that I like keeping the same note in the bass for a long time. This arrangement is a good example of that. The arrangement in general is fast and quite short; I made it that way because the life of the prophet Joseph Smith was also fast and quite short, but he filled people with joy and hope, even as they were forced to move from one place to another and suffer all sorts of afflictions. This song to me is a celebration of all the good that he did.

6. “I Stand All Amazed/Savior Redeemer Of My Soul”

There’s a funny story about this particular arrangement: I was asked to do a musical number at a zone conference rather early in my mission and I asked the zone leaders what song they wanted me to play. They threw out a few suggestions and I grabbed these two songs, thinking they could fit together nicely. I had to look at Savior Redeemer of My Soul in the hymnbook as I was unfamiliar with the hymn. I’ve since heard the Rob Gardner version of the song and am quite confident when they suggested the hymn they were referring to his setting of the text, not the original hymn version. I think they were still happy with the result though.

7. “When I Am Baptized”

I wrote this arrangement during my mission for the baptismal service of Sister Liu, who was taught by another companionship in the same ward as me. She and her two daughters were invited to our English class by a friend of theirs and they were embraced by the members in our area and progressed quickly. This has always been one of my favorite primary songs.

8. “Let the Holy Spirit Guide/Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy”

The symbolism of light is one of my favorite images in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He declared that “I am the light of the world,” but commands each of us “let your light so shine.” If we are worthy and willing, we will be guided by the light of the Holy Ghost to know how to uplift and brighten the lives of those around us.


“Savior Redeemer Of My Soul” by Harry A. Dean © 1948 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc

“When I Am Baptized” by Nita Dale Milner ©1989 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc

“Lord, I Would Follow Thee” by K. Newell Dayley © 1985 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

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