Archive for February, 2006

The Merrill Bradshaw archive

nice website at BYU about LDS composer Merrill Bradshaw. It features sections on His Life, His Music, and His Words. He wrote an a cappella piece set to the text of the Articles of Faith as well as many other excellent LDS religious works. Here is a picture of him at the piano with my grandfather, Ralph Laycock (who is standing at the left).

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23 February 2006 at 2:03 pm 2 comments

Ralph Woodward and Church Choral Music

In 1975, Ralph Woodward, Professor of Music and Choral Director at BYU, wrote an essay titled Choral Music in the Church. Woodward gives guidelines and sets standards for selecting choral music for use in sacred services, such as sacrament meeting. The three page article is worth reading.

At the end of the essay I was excited to see his recommendation for an Easter Cantata, The Seven Last Words of Christ, by Heinrich Schutz. I have been thinking about what the choir could do for Easter. I found an SATB arrangement of Seven Last Words at SheetMusic Plus and ordered a couple of copies to look over.

Woodward’s essay was part of a unique 1975 issue of Dialogue that was all about music in the Church. There are some other interesting articles I plan on reading. One interesting bit of history I gleaned was that, during the passing of the sacrament, the organist used to play music. In “The Future of Music in the Church” Reid Nibley describes his memories of this in his childhood.

What is your ward choir planning to do for Easter Sunday?

20 February 2006 at 12:21 am 1 comment

Sources of Ward Choir Music on the Web

As you can probably tell by the links I am compiling, I have been trying to identify sources for good ward choir music on the web, especially places where you can download and print music directly from the site. I will gradually be highlighting and reviewing these sites in future posts.

Today I added a new site to the list: Michelle Willis’ Teton Music. Sister Willis has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Boise State, and also graduated from Ricks College (BYU Idaho). The free items on her site include 9 excellent hymn/song arrangements, and a refreshing original composition inspired by David Bednar’s Conference Talk “The Tender Mercies of the Lord.” The song is available in SATB, SSA, and Solo arrangements.

There are MIDI files for each of her LDS religious works so you can hear them – just click on the checkmark in the MIDI file column, and open the file in whatever your computer offers to play them with. To download the printed music, you will need Adobe Acrobat (free) to view the PDF files. I know you are probably saying, “doesn’t everyone have this?” but through personal experience of helping others with computer questions I would bet that many still do not.

Willis also offers three free “LDS Hymn Bridges.” These are short interludes to play between two songs to make it easy to modulate from one to the other. There are also other religious, and even a few non-religious (e.g. Mixed-Up Mother Goose) compositions you can purchase.

Thanks to Spencer Willis for e-mailing me and making me aware of Teton Music. If you have a web site with free (or inexpensive) choir music, please send me a note. Or if I have identified your site already, let me know if you would like to be featured in a post on this blog.

12 February 2006 at 4:49 am 3 comments


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