Video of the Week: "All Creatures of Our God and King"

Today's Video of the Week celebrates my love for hand bells and is a two for one!

I have been playing with a group from Central UMC in Lawrence, KS for the last couple years.  I was so glad to find a church that had a hand bell group when I moved back home from Kansas City.  We recently played an arrangement of "All Creatures of Our God and King" during Sunday worship.  I am so proud of our two newbies that were playing for with us for the first time.  I'm the first person on the table on the right wearing dark glasses and hopefully smiling.  

"All Creatures of Our God and King" 
played by the Central UMC Lawrence Bell Choir

One of my fellow bell ringers was experimenting with her smart phone and took video of herself playing during rehearsal.  I of course had to give that a try.  I was able to prop my android smart phone right above my music while using my reading lights to keep it secure.

I think there are quite a few uses for videos like this.  An obvious use would be to check your form and watch how you ring.  A fun thing might be to have each ringer make a video and then create a video mash up of everyone ringing their part.  I would definitely do this again.    

"All Creatures of Our God and King" 
Featuring Emily Elliott and the Central UMC Lawrence Bell Choir

If you love hand bells like I do check out this cool Facebook page!


Holiday Music at Your Fingertips

Source: Koerts Music
It's that time of year when musicians are hurrying to put together their holiday music.  I usually like to have most of my Advent, Christmas and Epiphany selections chosen months in advance so that I have time to rehearse and plan.  This year I have not been so lucky.  I started a new interim music director position a couple months ago so November and December planning has been rushed quite a bit.

The list I have created below are some of my favorite websites that I go to again and again for sheet music of all kinds.  Each one makes downloading and printing at home easy so you don't have to wait for it to come in the mail.  I also love anything I can get for free especially with the limited budgets I usually work with in music ministry.

I hope these resources help you wrap up your holiday season planning and give you some extra time with your family and friends.  You deserve it!


  • Holiday Sheet Music has a great collection of PDF's you can download for free to use when caroling this holiday season.  

  • I love Susan Paradis and her collection of music for piano and teacher resources.  She has been my go to place for several years now.  Her collection of seasonal music is awesome.  I especially like the early non-reader arrangements so even my youngest piano students just starting out can enjoy playing a song for the holidays.  

  • Worship Together is my go to place for free contemporary Christian music resources that are hot off the press.  They have compiled a list of 10 original songs for you to use this holiday season.  Each song has a free lead sheet and links to buy full accompaniments and recordings when available.   

  • Making Music Fun has quite a few pieces for piano that you can print and use whenever the spirit moves you.  Their list is arranged by level making it easy to find the perfect holiday song for each of your piano students or yourself.  There are also midi recordings of each arrangement to aid in practice.  Check out the Jazz piano Intermediate level 4 arrangement of "Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella".  

  • Do you work with a children's hand bell group?  I would encourage you to visit The Inspired Instructor.  There is a wonderful collection of Christmas songs already marked for your color coded bells.   

  • Joy Morin at Color in my Piano has a fantastic list of free Christmas music from all over the web.  She continues to update it so don't forget to bookmark this site for next year.  

  • 8notes.com has another collection of easy sheet music that is helpful if you are working with many different instrumentalists.  You pick the song and the instrument that is going to play it and download the arrangement.  These are also good choices when you want simple arrangements or are working on sight reading.  

  • Free-Scores.com is another wonderful site for free sheet music of all kinds.  You can search by instrument and find arrangements from all over the world.  I have been thinking about borrowing a xylophone for the holiday season so I can play a few carols along with piano accompaniment.  I was able to download a free arrangement of "O Holy Night" that will do quite nicely.  

  • Koerts Music offers a nice arrangement for piano of "Joy to the World" matched with "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" for free download.  I downloaded this one for myself this year.

This is no where near an exhaustive list of what the world wide web has to offer.  Tell us in the comments your favorite site for sheet music.  


Quote of the Week: "I would maintain that..."

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of though, 
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."
~G.K. Chesterton


So, how are things?

Happy Tuesday and welcome to the first day of October!

I had plans to share a long post today about my experiences at Leadership Institute 2013 this past week.  Unfortunately due to many different things it's just not quite ready yet.  I'm shooting for tomorrow.  

I've been busy with a few projects I have yet to share that I can't wait to explore with you.  One, is my new position of Contemporary Music Director at Central United Methodist Church in Lawrence, KS.  I have hit the ground running and playing a little catch up to prepare for worship for the last few weeks.  This hasn't left much time for writing but I am confident my schedule will settle down once a few more things are organized in advance.

I have also been doing a ton of reading about the United Methodist Church and the future of our denomination with an eye towards worship and the arts.  We are looking at ways to rethink what it means to be a church for the future.

In addition to all that reading I have created the rough draft of a vision statement that I have been mulling around for the past few days:

Connecting people of all ages and enriching people's lives with music 
in the church and the greater community.  

Easier said than done for sure but it's a great goal and one that I feel is worth striving for.  I can't wait to see this evolve in the next couple months.

So, how are things with you?  Are things getting busier for you this month?  What are you doing to stay sane?    


Looking Back: Reviewing 2012

After reading this annual review and a list of music goals here, I was finally ready to start thinking about what I had done and experienced in 2012 and what I would like to accomplish in 2013.  This post was planned to be part-one in a two part series that would reflect on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Life happened and I didn't get around to posting.  I figure it's never too late to reflect and do some goal setting.  So, let's start by looking back.  

Here are some of the high lights from 2012:

-Started the Certification for United Methodist Musicians paperwork process after finishing my last class to complete the education requirements in December of 2011 at Saint Paul School of Theology

- I celebrated my 30th year!

-Put together a music resume CD.  
-Read "Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality" By Donald Miller
-Certification paperwork was sent and references collected.  Background check was not completed due to lack of funds.  First paycheck of 2013 should fix that up quite nicely.   


Quote of the Week: "Prayer is not asking for..."

“Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine.” 
 - Kathleen Norris in Anne Lamott's “Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith”


Video of the Week: Masterpiece by The King's Singers

I met Simon Carrington and Bob Chilcott while I was a junior high student.  Southwest Junior High's Bel Canto choir was chosen to be a part of an American debut concert and to sing Bob Chilcott's "Singing by Numbers".  I didn't realize then how amazing that kind of invitation was.  I have wonderful memories of that concert.  

I continued to get the opportunity to work with Simon Carrington throughout my time in junior high, high school and even in college while he was the Director of Music at the University of Kansas.  But I will have to admit that I wasn't as familiar as I should have been with the music of The King's Singers.  One way or another one of their CD's finally made it into the house and for awhile there it was in regular rotation.  Thanks to YouTube I have caught up even more.  

I have too many favorite arrangements to list here but I was able to narrow down a piece to share for this week's Video of the Week.  Imagine 400 years of western music all wrapped up into 9 minutes.  Take a listen to "Masterpiece" sung by The King's Singers.  Enjoy!

The King's Singers Sing Masterpiece

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Quote of the Week: "Life is too short..."

"Life is too short.  Don't let anything come out of your mouth that isn't true."
~Allison Krauss


Video of the Week: Even in the Darkness You'll "Find the Light"

Happy New Year!

I wish for you so many wonderful things in 2013.  I have been inspired by this week's video pick that reminds me that "Even in the darkness you'll find the light.".

I gave NoiseTrade a try a few weeks ago and have fallen in love with several artists and music groups that are new to me.  I can't wait to feature a few of them in upcoming posts.

I am enamored with David Ramirez's intimate style and have read in several places about how humble he is as a writer and a performer.  You can experience more of his music at  http://davidramirezmusic.com.   Enjoy!

David Ramirez "Find the Light"

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I will share my musical goals and dreams for 2013 in a couple future posts.  What are you excited about doing in the New Year?


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