My Arrangement of How Great Thou Art

How Great Thou Art 400.

My arrangement of “How Great Thou Art is now available. Yes!!!

Sheet Music Available For:

Also available at: Sheet Music Plus | Musicaneo

Accompaniment Tracks: Vocal Solo (High, Med, Low) | Vocal Duet | Instrumental

MP3 (Piano Solo): Download | Youtube | Spotify Amazon Music | Apple Music | iTunes | More

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High Version sung by Jen Petersen:

 

The Story:

I’ve arranged several hymns for people before, but this one has a cool story. With my fiction writing obsession, my music has taken a back seat lately. Which is fine. I love music and writing, and I’ll do whichever I’m in the mood for, because if I force either one, it never turns out great.

Cool thing #1

About a month ago, I was in a musical mood and sat down at my piano and started goofing around. Before I knew it, I was plunking out a piano arrangement of “How Great Thou Art.” Not sure why that hymn since it’s never been on my top-ten favorites list, but okay. I grabbed my manuscript paper and scribbled (literally) all over it. My musical handwriting is worse than my regular handwriting, which is scary enough. But the music was coming faster than I could write. I haven’t written a song that fast in a LONG time.

Low Version sung by Erica Soelberg:

Cool thing #2 came a week later

A man in my ward was asked to sing a solo at the Detroit Mission Home Fireside. He approached me to see if I would accompany him. I said yes and asked him what he wanted to sing.

He said, “I’d love to sing How Great Thou Art, but I don’t want to sing it straight out of the hymnbook. I want to do some kind of an arrangement. Do you know of any?”

Now, at times like this my personality begs me to clam up and say nothing. I HATE my personality. But I went for bold, jumped uncharacteristically out of my comfort zone.

“Actually . . . I’m working on an arrangement right now. It’s mostly finished but it’s for a piano solo. But, it wouldn’t be too hard to switch it over to a vocal solo. What do you think?”

He was nice enough to trust me, so we gave it a try. Not sure how he got through that first rehearsal. I was scribbling and scratching things out as he sang. But he put up with me. He even tolerated the funky timing I added.

Cool thing #3

The song went great at the fireside — Thank you, Scott! I even had someone I don’t know ask for the arrangement afterward, which is the nicest compliment anyone can give. When I told her it was my arrangement she wasn’t completely shocked — another compliment. However, I only had one copy, and it had more scribbles on it. I handed it over anyway, hoping I would remember my last minutes tweaks. I rushed home, made the changes, and had the thought — I should publish it. Might as well, right? It was finished and a whole two people liked it. I’ve had less motivation before. :)

Then came the hard part. Most hymns are so old the copyrights have expired. You can arrange to your heart’s desire and not worry about anything. “How Great Thou Art” is not one of them. In fact, you can’t even copy it out of the hymnbook without permission. That’s okay. I’ve been working with publishers and copyrights for eight years now, so I decided to take the plunge.

Cool thing #4

I did some research, wrote about 10 emails, and now it’s approved for publication. Yay! So that’s the long story for my short announcement. My arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” is available.

Funny how life works.

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Who is Rebecca Belliston?

(composing)

I’ve been in a musical mood of late. Yes, I’m still writing, trying to finish Augustina (sequel to Sadie) before I get back to my trilogy. But this week I’ve been drawn to the piano. And the guitar. And to my manuscript paper. I arranged a song last night, How Great Thou Art, in the fastest time I think I’ve ever arranged a song. And I didn’t do it for anyone but myself. Maybe that’s why it came so quickly. I’m often asked by others to arrange things or compose things and I always say yes because I love it! But it’s been so long since I’ve goofed around and composed for the fun of composing. Now to get it onto paper…

Part of this musical kick inspired me to move my compositions to a new website, called Musicaneo.com. It’s a great website if you want to check it out and it allows me to–hopefully–get my music to a broader audience. Right now, I have 13 songs up (including sound clips). Hopefully when I get time (HA!!) I’ll add more, including this newest one.

But I had a dilemma. Musicaneo asked for my bio. In my mind I was thinking, I have several. Which do you want? And then I realized, ugh. None of them. None of my online or book bios really capture the musical side of me. Time to write a new bio.

Unless you’ve had to write a bio for yourself recently, you may not fully understand the dilemma of defining yourself to others. It’s a crazy thing. A little neurotic at times. Narcissistic at others. How do I sum up 36 years of a million memories, experiences, hobbies, and/or obsessions? I don’t know. There’s probably as many ways to write a bio as there are experiences. This music bio ended up quite different than my website one, or facebook one, or my twitter account, or goodreads account, or heck, even the bio here on blogger. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. My head is spinning a little, but so be it. I figure I’ll keep writing bios and tailor them to whatever venue is asking for them. Until then, here’s the musical side of me from Musicaneo.com:

I love music. I love the way it affects me and changes bad moods into great ones. I’ve loved it since the day I was born–or so I’ve been told. 
I started playing piano at four (officially) and haven’t stopped since. I teach piano. My husband plays piano. All my kids play–a must. It’s just a part of who I am. I studied music at Brigham Young University and Utah State University, and while I never got a degree, the classes have stayed with me and increased my appreciation for the mechanics of music. I also play guitar and organ, and have sung in, accompanied, or directed amateur choirs for twenty-some years. 
Almost as soon as I could play the piano, I started writing songs. My Christmas choral number, For There’s A Savior Born , is a best-seller at Jackman Music. Some of my other compositions are on this website for your enjoyment.
Besides writing music, I also write fiction. I have one novel published, Sadie, which has music interwoven into the plot. What can I say? I couldn’t resist. 
You can find me online at rebeccabelliston.com

*sigh* 
Do I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions? Yes. Do I absolutely, completely, and obsessively love it? 
YES!!!
Call me crazy. (Everyone else does.)
How about you? Have you written your own bio lately? How did you do? Do you have different bios for different places? Do you have any chocolate you can send to me? I’m in serious need.

New Music in an Old Way

(composing)

FYI, I added some ‘new’ music to my website today. Not ‘new’ as in written, but ‘new’ as in I finally added them to my website. However, the music needs a little explanation.

I have always loved music. Not just liked, but LOVED music. I write to music, I clean to music, and at any given moment, I have a song stuck in my head. In fact, it’s a game in my family to ask, “What song’s stuck in your head now?”

I also love all types of music–yes, even country. I know I’m a total nerd but I really love classical music, specifically classical piano. My dad got me hooked on it when I was younger. Since I love to play the piano as well, this was just an added bonus.

I like finding a challenging piece and then pretending that I can play it. It’s tons of fun. My favorite composers have varied through the years. In my high school days I liked Chopin and Debussy. After that I had a long obsession with Rachmaninoff (which is why he made it into Sadie). Recently though, it’s been all about Beethoven. I love Beethoven’s Piano Concertos and his 32 Piano Sonatas. I even bought the music and have attempted to play them the last few years. They’re hard but so. much. fun!

Since I also love to compose music, I started composing songs in the Classical Piano style. I don’t know if anyone does that anymore because, wouldn’t it make sense for a composer living in the 21st century to write 21st century music? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, the four songs I’ve added to the MUSIC page listed above are songs inspired by the classics.

The first is my pride and joy (so nobody trash talk it). It’s Sonata in A minor and yes, it has three movements. That’s because it was inspired by–you guessed it–Beethoven.

The second is Fugue in C minor inspired by Bach.

The third is Etude in Eb minor inspired kinda sorta by Rachmaninoff. Kinda. Sorta. (sorry about the horrible English. I’m still dragging from two nights ago. See previous post.)

And the last (for now) is Prelude in G major which was written when I was in high school and I guess if I had to pick, would probably fit the Bach category again.

If you happen to enjoy classical piano, give them a try. They are all FREE, my gift to anyone brave enough to give them a shot. As are most of the other songs already on there (some piano arrangements of LDS hymns and a few Christmas choral songs). The only non-free song is a song published with Jackman Music, entitled For There’s a Savior Born. 

(I know it’s weird for me to put music up on the same website I have my book stuff, but hey, I’m weird. Plus, I promised a few people–including my mom and my hubby–that I wouldn’t let my music go by the wayside when I pursued this writing thing. I haven’t really composed much lately, so this is me pushing aside some guilt.)

Enjoy the rest of your day! I’m headed to bed!

PS — Any other Classical Music nerds out there? Or pianists? Which composers do you like? Which songs?

Sadie Extras

Since the official SADIE release date is only two days away (11-11-11), I added some extra Sadie stuff to my website and thought I’d post it here as well. Enjoy!




 

 
 
First off, here’s a list of the characters described by Sadie herself
Guillermo: the charismatic, rich, heart throb, who, for whatever reason, has singled Sadie out as his girl. (FYI, the Spanish pronunciation of his name is [gi’ʎermo]. That was helpful, wasn’t it? No? Okay. Let’s try something different. Pronounce his name, GUI (as in gui-tar) YER  MO.  Unless you’re from Argentina like Sadie’s mom, then you’d pronounce it slightly different, but I won’t confuse you.)

Sam: the quiet intellectual who loves fruit flies and brushing up on his Spanish.

Kevin: the lanky, class clown who wears a smile and his camera round-the-clock.
Trevor: the self-absorbed Stud man with hair as wild as he is.
Josh: the overprotective son of a cop who can cook marshmallows to perfection and tease relentlessly. 
Rocky: the big, black–and incidentally quite smelly–beast.
Marcela: Sadie’s best friend and mother with the tendency toward the dramatic.
Madsen: the agent who looks and acts more hardened business man than federal employee. Sadie really can’t stand that man.
How Sadie describes herself: 
“I’m the problem. I mirror whichever guy I’m with. Around Guillermo, I feel poised, sophisticated, and maybe even a little charming. But with the guys, I’m real. Laughing or crying, depressed or ridiculous, none of it’s an act. It’s just me. 
Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic.”
And while she might be pathetic, there’s one thing she knows she is not : a victim.  No matter what anyone says, she refuses to wear that awful and incredibly insulting  word. She refuses to become the nothingness she became on Christmas night. She can’t–she won’t–be nothing again.


There’s also a playlist for SADIE on the website, plus the full lyrics to the song I wrote on page 167.  
Check it out here
 
 
 
 

Happy Day!

My book is here at last! And it’s so beautiful! An author doesn’t have a lot to do with the cover, but I really do love what Deseret Book has done with it. It’s stunning—at least to me.
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It’s so crazy/surreal to be holding a book with my name on it and my words in it. It’s been a very long, but exciting process. Deseret Book really has done a beautiful job with it and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Cory Maxwell and Jana Erickson specifically since they are the primary reason I’m holding this book in my hands today. I also really appreciate my editor, Leslie Stitt putting up with my obsessive/compulsive protectiveness of my characters. She really was very patient with me.
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Happy Day!
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This picture does not do my exuberance justice. My husband may need to leave the house for a few days until I calm down.
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I suppose I should explain why I’m sitting at a piano with my book. First off, I love music. I really, really, really love music. I’ve been playing the piano longer than I can remember. I grew up in a musical family and married a musical man. I teach piano. I play piano. I write piano music. I love it.

I wish I owned the beautiful, baby, black grand piano I’m sitting at, but we are ‘baby-grand sitting’ it for some friends of ours who moved to China for a few years. While I still have and love the upright I inherited from my grandmother, there’s nothing in the world like playing on a grand piano. (Thanks again, Kathryn. You’re the best!)

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But that’s not why I’m sitting at a piano in this picture–or at least, not directly. I wrote some of my love of music into Sadie. In fact, there is a beautiful, baby, black grand piano that is the focal point of one of my favorite scenes. I’ve thought about posting a playlist of songs that are mentioned in the book or that I wrote to. Maybe I will in the future.
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But for now I’m anxious for everyone else to meet SadieAs soon as I get a release date I’ll post it here. It should be sometime around Thanksgiving. But it will definitely be in the next Deseret Book Christmas catalog.
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Happy Day!