This page is devoted to the stories behind each of my compositions/arrangements, since every song has a story to tell! :)
"A Child's Prayer" (Fall 2009)
Here is another great Janice Kapp Perry song that I'm finally getting around to writing an arrangement for! And another long-time goal is completed in an arrangement that spends most of its time in the treble clef on both hands. The left hand gets pretty hairy, but with lots of practice one can get it down. The ending is quite pretty, I'm really proud of it. The easy piano version is much simpler if the original is too hard.
"Abide With Me" (Winter 2000)
This is the first posted of a long list of advanced piano solos, my forte. It was written for a friend and uses a lot of
ninth chords, which I particularly like. I sincerely hope ANYONE can enjoy my piano solos, from young children to more elderly people who listen wearing Miracle-Ear hearing aids. The piano is a sound that can transcend most musical preferences. Summer 2012 update! I have adapted my first posted piano solo to my first posted easy piano solo! Again, this is the first in a long line of simplified arrangements I plan on posting.
"Abide with Me Tis Eventide" (Summer 2010)
I wrote an arrangement of this hymn near the end of my mission a decade ago, and always planned to put it down for the website...but whenever I'd start, it just didn't feel right any more. Which is quite strange, because it had a lot of good moments. But oh well. Lately it's been on my mind again (thinking about how it applies to my life right now as we've taken on three foster kids on top of our five wee ones and my desire to get closer to God, embellishing it in the Bountiful temple chapel, etc.), so I tried for a few weeks to find that right arrangement. I tried an interesting 5/4 meter with a more vintage Jim Brickman feel to it, but that didn't work either. Then, after a quick prayer, the going up and down the scale theme happened...and it felt right! Finally! So I ran with it and out it is! I'm very happy, there's a simple beauty to it that's hard to place...I think it's the spirit...
"All Creatures Of Our God And King" (Fall 2004)
My wife has wanted me to do piano solo arrangements of "All Creatures" and "Now Let Us Rejoice" since we got married, and
in 2004 I finally got around to it! Both use a more simplistic techinic, and fast tempos, which Amber enjoys.
This number works its way down the keyboard from top to bottom, then has a slow section alternating
between 6/4 and 4/4 (nice!), then back up and a tempo. Amber loves it.
"All That I Have" (Summer 2002)
I had the splendid opportunity of being primary chorister in a ward for a few months. I loved those kids! One time a teacher
asked, "We know that boys have the priesthood, what do girls have?" One little girl confidently responded, "FAITH!" I
wrote "All That I Have" for the kids right before we moved out of the ward.
"Army Of Helaman" (Spring 1999)
While other missionaries spent P-days sight-seeing in Paris, I spent most of mine at the piano in the church, trying to write
something nice with the oh so much spare time I had. :) My "mission solos" all tend to have the same roller-coaster feel,
conveying the ups and downs of mission life. "Army" fits that theme to a T.
"As From The Dust" (Winter 2007)
This song is a Joe Olivas adaptation of the scripture in the Book of Mormon, which I've tried to beautifully set to music. It
is a stirring power ballad that will be a hit off of our "Believe" album to be released in February 2008. This is Amber's
favorite tune on the whole album!
"As Sisters In Zion" (Spring 2010)
I wrote this and my "Ye Elders of Israel" piano solo on the same day so as not to leave the Relief Society nor the priesthood out! :) And I don't konw why all my piano duets end up being 1P3H. It just happens this way...I hope my first Relief Society endeavor goes well, that it gets played in many many Sunday Relief Socity meetings (why don't we have musical numbers in priesthood opening exercises?!).
"Baptism" (Fall 2007)
Every once in awhile I actually DO write for a specific audience! :) I can see in my mind so many beginning LDS piano students
getting ready for their baptisms at the age of eight and wanting to play something special, even with their teachers or
family members...voila! This is a nice, simple arrangement perfect for baptismal services, a little gift from me to you!
"Be Still My Soul" (Spring 2008)
I turned to Amber one afternoon and asked, "What's a super-popular hymn I haven't done an arrangement of yet?" Her response
was, "well, how about 'Be Still My Soul'?" Voila, quoi! I like how the moving sixths worked out, nothing fancy, but still
"Beautiful Savior" (Summer 1999)
I served my mission in Paris, France (OUAIS!), and this male chorus a cappella arrangement was written for the final zone
conference of my beloved first mission president, Dennis K. Brown. I admit it has a few bugs, but I love the spirit of
thanks with which it was arranged. I sang the high tenor part, by the way...
"Because I Have Been Given Much" (Fall 2010)
An AW.com history lesson: I began arranging hymns in 1998, writing almost exclusively for piano solo for a good three years. Then I dabbled for a long time in choral arrangements. When the website launched in 2005, it became very clear very fast that piano solos would be my niche, so once again I went back to that genre. Well, as much as I love writing for the piano, every once in awhile I get back into that choral mood! There's nothing like a good sounding choir to help us feel the spirit, and this arrangement is a shot at that once again.
"Benediction (God Be With You)" (Spring 2005)
Music and composition are a release for me, my favorite ways to de-stress. After a long, hard week full of work, school and
kids, it's nice to unwind and just write for awhile. "Benediction" is a release. I love the tight chords, they make
me happy! This number can be used in all sorts of settings, including funerals and missionary (insert the dreaded f-word
we're not supposed to say anymore.), etc. I can hear MoTab singing this in my mind, and I hope it becomes a popular number
on the site. And of course this makes a nice piano solo, which is now available...I even play it on the organ every Sunday
as the last postlude in my ward.
"The Call" (winter 2007)
And now for something completely different! :) I've never written anything quite like "The Call" before, it's a rousing
missionary clarion coming from the Lord. It will sound wonderful sung by my good friend TJ Dick on the upcoming album
"Believe," with words and music by Joe Olivas and Aaron Waite.
"Child Of Mine (God's Lullaby)" (Fall 2007)
It is an honor to put to music some poetry of my friend (and 2nd counselor in my bishopric) Joe Olivas of St. George, UT.
He is a man of God, one of the finest brothers I have ever met. Although I have a good inch on him (which is saying something!),
I look up to him in every way. In my mind I imagine the context of this song being the premortal existence. My loving Father
takes me in His arms one last time before sending me on my way to the world of corruption, so He sings His final lullaby, telling
me He'll always be there. Then off I go, into the loving arms of a mother who sings yet another lullaby. I love the intimacy
of the words. Thank you Joe! :)
"Christmas Allegro (With Wondering Awe)" (Fall 2009)
Here's another completely different composition that makes me feel good about myself! :) Sounds like it could come straight out of Mozart's Sonata album, eh? Not much to it, just a fun little classical-sounding piece that sounds great for intermediate students for Christmas recitals. I got a lot of requests for more Christmas piano solos this year, and this is what came out!
"Come Come Ye Saints" (Spring 2007)
The planets just aligned for this one...I attended an evening priesthood meeting and finally appreciated this hymn (after a
decade of cursing its "All is well" chorus because of the passage in 2 Nephi) for its strength. About the same time I received
an email from an LDS cello teacher in Washington state, encouraging me to write more for strings. Voila! The instrumentation
is really up to you, but three violins and two cellos sounds the best in my head. As of this writing in Feb. 2007 I don't
know why I've been favoring a more "old school" approach with my last few works (piano trio, classical-type piano solo, string
quintet); must be a phase...:)
"Come Join the Ranks" (Spring 2002)
I was made aware of a choral composition competition at Jackman Music Co., the leading publisher of LDS sheet music in the
world. The competition's theme was missionary work/raising the bar, and was required to be in SAB format. "Come Join" was
my submission. Well, it obviously didn't win because Jackman didn't publish it, but Jerry Jackman, president of JMC, did
give me some professionally positive feedback. I would say this work "conforms" a little more than normal, if you catch
what I mean. But the awesome piano accompaniment keeps it exciting. The hymn version was developed shortly after the SAB
arrangement but not 'laid down' until 2004.
"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" (Winter 2008)
I have had several friends "bug" me to do an arrangement of this cherished hymn that found its way out of the current hymnbook (ten bucks says it's
back in next time around!). Again, though, how can I write something nice when I think Mack Wilburg's arrangement is the best ever?! I've been puttering
with an arrangement for about a year, but in one day threw it all out and got this just right...hope all my requesting friends like it!
"Come Unto Him" (Winter 2005)
I have always loved the words to hymn #114, but have never liked the music (my apologies to Hugh Dougall), so I thought I'd
give the text a new setting and new voicing. This is a real try at something my wife can call "beautiful," too! She's
currently obsessed with the MoTab "Consider the Lilies" album, and goes on and on how beautiful it is...this one's for
you honey; hope you like it!
"Come Ye Children Of The Lord" (Spring 2008)
My sister-in-law Michelle is a wicked trumpet player. While visiting over Christmas, she requested something on my website
for her to play...and I LOVE requests! :) I had been working on this arrangement for some time, and easily put in the obligatto,
which is pulled from "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." That tune's message really works with this tune's message, as well.
"Dearest Children God Is Near You" (Spring 2006)
One night while rocking my infant son to sleep, I was struck with how lullaby-ish this hymn is, so I sang it to him,
put him to bed, and worked out the harmonies for this arrangement for female choir. It's inspired in part by the "Lift Thine
Eyes" trio from Mendellsohn's Elijah oratorio, one of my favorite major works. And Dayson will fall asleep to it until he
doesn't want to anymore! :)
"Faith" (Spring 2009)
That's all it really boils down to, eh?! :)
"Faith Of Our Fathers" (Summer 2007)
This super-simple rearrangement for men's choir is a fitter for the back of the current hymnbook, and I've always liked how the
text is fit for missionaries and priesthood. I hope it's good enough to stand by the nice arrangements of "I Need Thee
Every Hour" and "Brightly Beams" in the late 330s...and how could you not like a song whose acronymn is FOOF?! :)
"Fanfare (Rejoice The Lord Is King)" (Summer 2006)
I received an email from a sister in Atlanta asking me if I had any organ arrangements. I graciously apologized that
I had never tried my hand at an organ work...then thought to myself, "Self...WHY NOT?!" :) So Linda, this one's for you! I
am pleased with the way it sounds on my digital piano, and don't think it needs any register changes; just loud and full, the
whole way through, like good ol' cheek-shakin' Clay Christiansen would play it on the Conference Center organ!
"Gloria (The Angelic Anthem)" (Winter 2007)
Every great composer (ahem!) has to write a Gloria in his/her lifetime, and here's mine! It is set for SSAATTBB choir with
piano and narrator (reading the heavenly visitation story in Luke 2), and is a whopper. Lots and lots of Eric Whitacre-style
chords! In it I try to really REALLY portray what the choirs of heaven must have sounded like that blessed night. Feel free
to omit needed notes to satisfy your ward choir (gosh, we don't even have 8 total members!). I hope that the feeling of glory
and wonder is felt in this music, it's a labor of love.
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Fall 2009)
More Christmas piano solos, my fans request! 2009 adds this typical AaronWaite.com arrangement of one of my favorite Christmas tunes. Actually, this chord idea (stolen a little from Yanni's [a teenage favorite of mine] Marching Season) went through two other Christmas songs before settling on God Rest Ye for its home. This arrangement may be just a tad too much for sacrament meeting, make sure you get it approved before playing! Really bring out the hidden melody in the third verse, that's so me!
"God Speed The Right" (Summer 2008)
This one just sorta came, you know? I had been toying a lot with a very very syncopated, battle-of-the-hands-type arrangement for
quite a long time, and this just seemed to fit. Incidentally, I know I could have written the left hand differently on the
sheet, but felt that the tied sixteenth-notes made it easier to read (easier?!).
"The Goodbye Song" (Fall 2006)
As of this writing, Amber is serving as ward primary chorister. She has had a few occasions where a primary child is leaving
the ward for another across the country, or going on to Young Women, etc. The primary president wanted to sing a goodbye song,
but none are to be found in the big book! So, naturally, Am asked me to write one! :)
"Guide Us O Thou Great Jehovah" (Fall 2012)
I love it when inspiration strikes!
"Hark All Ye Nations" (Spring 2010)
"He Is Born the Holy Child" (Fall 2010)
Hear heaven's voice! Oh I love this hymn...and a violin solo is not what I imagined for it, but that's what came, you know? The piano part is a little tricky but very repetitive: once you get that syncopation down in one measure you've got it down in them all.
Careful, this one is going to get stuck in your head...this is a FAMOUS french carol that they sing over there just as much as we sing Silent Night, though not many Americans know it. I heard it for the first time (of course) on my mission and have really liked it ever since. Needed some AW bling! So I pulled out all the stops and did a duple factory. I have always wanted to do an arrangement with lots of duples on top of triplets, because it's one of my pet peeves when I hear people play it wrong (see "Baptism" in the Children's Songbook). Not much Christmas thought to it, I admit, plus it's probably not reverent enough for sacrament meeting, but it IS fun to play! :)
"He Is Risen Today" (Spring 2011)
This is another collaboration with my good friend TJ Dick. The concept behind the medley of He Is Risen and Christ the Lord is Risen Today is his, and I'm just there to write an accompaniment! :) I really like how this mix for Easter turned out, especially with all of the key changes! That's one of my weaknesses and one of TJ's strengths. Thanks Teej!
"He Is Savior" (Summer 2001)
The atonement, crucifixion, and resurrection are usually a bit too much to cover in one song, but "Savior" does a good job,
I think! It was written with the intention of glimpsing each event from a more personal perspective. Notice how the
point-of-view changes from Christ to Mary Magdalene, with the chorus changing from the Savior to MY Savior.
The original choral version has been adapted to a popular SA duet (can be unison female chorus, but doesn't have the same
effect) and an unpublished female trio, sung by Amber, Amber, and Amber :) on the audio track.
"He Is There" (Summer 2003, Fall 2004)
Fun story, a lot like "Like the Wind" below: While living in Arkansas, Amber was asked to sing at a wedding. We looked through
our music, and she didn't find one she liked. In frustration, she said, "Oh, you just write me one in five minutes." So I did!
:) The tune was called "What Is Love?" and was for voice and guitar (I had a shiny black Ovation at the time). "What Is Love?"
is not a very good name for an LDS song, eh? So I re-wrote the lyrics to what they are for current distribution. I had a
particularly fun time nailing down the fingerpicking tab for the piece. For any experienced guitar players, I actually use
a capo up three frets and play and sing in the key of B major...2012 UPDATE! I am once again humbled to announce that "He is There" was listed among the winners in the 2012 Church Music Submission contest! And, astonishingly, once again it was for the text! I have now been on the list of winners thrice in six years, twice with words! Holy cow, I'm a lyricist! :) It was only fitting to make this a hymn...
"He Knows, He Hears, He Cares" (Summer 2007)
Oh, the stress a big calling in the Church brings! Amber was serving as primary president at the time of this song, and just
needed a pick-me-up to know that our Creator is on her and our side. I love the lines "He knows how long you've been there
kneeling" and "He hears, but waits to give you rest," they're truly comforting words.
"Heavenly Father Loves Me" (Spring 2005)
Since before I can remember, this has been my mother's favorite primary song. It's such a beautiful, simple little song
about God's creations, including the wonder of the human body, and how these miracles prove we have a Creator who loves
us. I love my mom, and this was her Mother's Day present. Spring 2007 update! Based on some feedback, this piece
has just been changed to an easier key to play, plus made into a cello solo as well. Hopefully it will become more popular
due to the changes! UPDATE AGAIN! I've made a piano solo arrangement, making this the first fully "DeFord-ified"
piece on the website.:)
"Help Me Teach With Inspiration" (Summer 2005)
There are four high priests in my great ward that would be a dynamite barbershop-like quartet...if they ever got together! One
morning I was thinking about this and realized I needed to write them something and get the ball rolling! I love it when
songs practically write themselves, like this one. Hopefully my friends will sing it!
"Homesick" (Spring 2009-Summer 2010)
This song is an adaptation of a pretty poem my wife wrote, entitled "Homesick for Heaven." I hope you enjoy it! It is the catalyst for the big AaronWaite.com vocalist competition, which took place in the summer of 2010.
"How Great Thou Art/The First Noel" (Winter 2000)
This was my first crack at a string arrangement, and it does have a few bugs in it, but overall I think it worked out quite
well. It was written around Christmas time for the visit of a General Authority to my singles ward. I love the cello above
all other instruments because of its heavenly tone, and I will learn to play it before I die! Tell my wife that this is a
"How Great Thou Art" (Spring 2005)
She dislikes the cello arrangement so much that I felt I needed to make it better! So here's a different version, for baritone
solo. Hopefully she'll like this one better! I LOVE YOU AMBER!!
"How He Came" (Winter 2002)
I promise there's much more Christmas music coming! We lived in rural Arkansas for a while pursuing a business venture, and
attended a small branch, where I served as Young Men president. Around Christmas time, the Young Women president challenged
me to write a new Christmas song, and "How He Came" was the answer to that challenge. It's a nice piece showing
"the condescension of God." We've performed it at many venues, always getting positive feedback.
"I Am A Child of God" (Spring 2008)
When AaronWaite.com was launched in January 2005 with 12 songs, my dream was to one day have 100 different pieces available to
the public. With this posting, I HAVE REACHED MY GOAL!!!! And what better song to be my 100th posting?! I am in LOVE with
the simplicity of this arrangement, meant just to praise our Heavenly Father and all that He is. Here's to 100 more!
"I Await My Savior's Coming" (Winter 2004?)
Amber is that righteous kind of person that is filled with excitement rather than dread over the subject of the Second Coming.
In truth, for those prepared it will be a glorious day. She's always wanted me to pen a hymn about this. I wrote the
lyrics quite quickly after many failed attempts, and found a wonderful melody in a Methodist hymnal. I changed the harmonies
to fit my liking, and really enjoy the final product. An interesting side note is that the tune name of the melody (written
over a century ago) is "Restoration." Fitting! :)
"I Beheld Round the Throne" (Spring 2004)
Joseph Smith himself coined the verses after receiving Doctrine & Covenants 76. I first heard the poetry during April 2004
conference and thought it deserved an appropriate setting. After getting the Ensign I worked on the music over three
days, primarily the "different" second and fourth phrases. Hey, I've collaborated with the Prophet! An arrangement with
organ accompaniment is coming soon.
"I Believe In Christ" (2003?)
To be honest, I can't remember when this arrangement popped into my head! That must mean I'm getting old...anyway, it's about
our Savior, which most of my songs are about, but that's for a reason! I am so thankful for a Redeemer, a Messiah that went
through the atonement just for me. Without Him I am nothing, and with Him I am everything. Because of Him I get the chance
to live forever with my beautiful wife and children. Boy, I need to repent more...
"I Feel My Savior's Love" (Summer 2006)
I have always wanted to do an arrangement of this cherished primary song, an arrangement that I could be supremely happy with.
And, as often happens with me, in trying to make it beautiful I got in over my head! The original piano accompaniment
fought way too much with the choir, so in the end I rewrote most of it to be, well, an accompaniment! The third verse's choir
voicing seemed too much as well, but I just couldn't bring myself to let it go, so I just deleted the piano! :) I hope website
visitors will love this arrangement; there's a lot of heart and soul in it, mixed with refinement and longing for simplicity.
"I Know That My Redeemer Lives" (Spring 2010)
I have been waiting SO LONG to have the right music come for this wonderful testimony piece that everyone loves. Finally came in a very simple, minimalist theme; so minimalist, in fact, that 95% of the bass line is the same two measures over and over! I usually don't go this simple, but it's right, you know? The thought is centered around Easter, this beautiful spring morning where the birds have just woke up, the sun has just peeked over the horizon, and angels announce the most miraculous act of all. Cool.
"I Know That My Savior Loves Me" (Spring 2011)
**This arrangement is available by special agreement with Tami Creamer and Derena Bell** Well, this primary song has taken over as the new favorite of a ton of people, has it not?! I am no exception, I love it! I listened with joy to the arrangement by Ryan Murphy sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the April 2011 conference, and shortly thereafter was approached by my bishop, who wondered if we could get ahold of that arrangement to sing in our ward choir for ward conference six weeks later. I told him I would try, and subsequently contacted both Taylor and the Choir's secretary to try and get it, but to no avail as they told me the original copyright owners were not having the arrangement published or distributed. I told the bishop and the ward choir director. We stood there in silence for a moment, then we all got a slight grin on our faces...and I said, "So, would you like me to write an arrangement?" :) The bishop laughed and accepted, asking for one special request: that we include the melody line for a group of primary children to sing with the choir. That of course got my wheels a-turnin' really fast, and within four days the piece had written itself (as the best ones always do!). I am so pleased and humbled by this work, which gets its strength from the simple testimony of the words. The final chorus where the children and choir all sing together in unison is a truly spiritual moment for me, I hope you feel it too! Many in our ward say they do. The rest of the story: a member of the ward choir said at rehearsal that they had heard that one of the composers of I Know lived in the city next to us. I went to the phone book and voila! I sent her a letter requesting permission to publish the song on AaronWaite.com and outlining a royalty agreement. Within a week I had a phone call from her and an email from the other composer, both giving me their blessings. AND THEN THEY CAME TO OUR WARD CONFERENCE!
"I Love To See The Temple" (Spring 2007)
"I love to see the temple, I went inside today. I felt the Holy Spirit, I listened and I prayed." The St. George temple
(the oldest functioning temple of our dispensation) has always been a symbol of peace in my life. It's where I received my
endowment and where my wife and I were sealed (in the same sealing room as my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents).
But when my 30ish-year-old brother-in-law received his endowment in January 2007, we attended the ceremonay at the San Diego
temple. I have NEVER seen such a beautiful building, outside or in! It is a real-life ice castle. It is worth a drive across
the country to be in that San Diego celestial room, and I will never forget how close to God I felt there. Fittingly, Janice
Kapp Perry's primary song got an ornamentation good enough (hopefully) to make me think of my new favorite temple...
"I Need Thee Every Hour" (Winter 1998)
I first started dabbling in hymn arranging during my mission, as I often spent a few blessed minutes each week on the piano
during prep day. This was one that just came out like that and has stuck with me. Nothing really to it, just a nice low number.
If you can't tell, all of my earliest stuff was really influenced by Jim Brickman and Yanni, two keyboardists I listened to
a lot before my mission. Lots of syncopation. It's really interesting to look back and see how the "Waite style" has changed...
"I Often Go Walking" (Winter 2006)
One night I lay awake in bed thinking of how much I love my wife (awwwww...), wanting to write her a quick "I love you," and
this arrangement popped into my head, just like that! I love it when that happens, and I LOVE YOU AMBER! :)
"I Saw a Mighty Angel Fly" (Spring 2011)
In my notes on "My Confidence is Grounded" you'll find out that I am a classically-trained pianist and love the greats. Lately I have garnered a strong liking for Ralph Vaughan Williams, and am noticing his melodies popping up everywhere, including my arrangements (see If You Could Hie to Kolob and All Creatures of Our God and King). I wanted to do another of his works to have a triumvirate of RVW numbers on my site. Voila! I hope this is what the soundtrack to a flying angel would sound like! :)
"I Stand All Amazed" (Spring 2007)
Prior to its release on DVD, I had only seen the Church-produced film "The Testaments" once in my life, a long time ago. We
received the DVD as a gift and watched it on a Sunday afternoon. By the last scene, our kids were wondering why mommy and
daddy were crying! I kneel all amazed at the feet of a merciful Savior that died for me. It seemed only fitting to arrange
this classic hymn in honor of my love for Jesus.
"I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" (Fall 2001)
I don't play a string instrument, but hope this try at a violin solo brings out the skills of the performer. The running
line in the second verse (an octave higher than originally written, based on feedback from more than one semi-pro player)
really gets going, but you can handle it! :) The nice accompaniment coupled with the great string sound makes for probably
my favorite hymn arrangement written. So far, the violinists agree. You can make this a nice piano duet by playing the
violin part an octave or two higher than written; I'll get that version out some time...UPDATE! The piano duet version
I've been longing to put down is finally done! It's a 2H+1H arrangement, perfect for my wife and I to play together...
"I'm Sorry" (Winter 2011)
One of my most gratifying musical experiences was in the spring of 2009, when I was able to adapt my Lead Kindly Light string duet (probably my favorite of my arrangements) for a vocal duet and have my beautiful and talented wife sing it at stake conference with another member of our stake whom I'd always had much resect for and much desire to perform with: Jenny A. Smith, an incredible singer and arranger. Our practices were very euphoric as Jenny nailed so much of my expressive desires without thinking. After a few months and our family moving to the Wasatch Front, we started the AaronWaite.com vocalist contest, and of course invited Jenny to participate, and of course she knocked the socks off of Lead Me to the Manger and Sometime We'll Understand, making it very easy to pick her as a "featured". (Those of you who actually read these stories know what happens when I write about other people!) And it came to pass :) that in late 2011, Jenny emailed me an audio file of a primary song she had written for her primary class about repentance. She wanted to capture the steps of repentance and the effects. I feel the song is very simple and profound. Jenny asked me to transcribe the piece so she could give the sheet music out, to which I obliged. And then I thought I'd add a little AW.com flare to it! And "I'm Sorry" is the result. I absolutely LOVE collaborating, especially with true talents like Jenny.
"I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus" (Winter 2007)
My three darling kids sing this song so well, and I thought I'd add to the piano solo selections on the site with one of their
absolute favorites! I LOVE YOU ARIA, TRINITY, & DAYSON! :) Hopefully one of them will like this arrangement enough to learn
to play it...ya think four is too early to start piano lessons?!
"If You Could Hie To Kolob" (2002 sometime)
The concept behind this arrangement went through lots of drafts in my mind before the finished product became what it is.
I've always loved David Naylor's (what a nice man!) arrangement for mixed choir available from Jackman (it was performed
at my mission farewell, even), and some of my piano solo arrangement is influenced by that piece...Naylor's number is very
beautiful, check it out! :) UPDATE: As of November 2005, this is the website's most consistently popular piece, and it's
deserving! Check out the feedback page for numerous comments. Fall 2012: finally an easy piano version!
"In His Embrace" (Spring 2009)
It's been over a year since I've written something completely original that I'm proud of! One of my most favorite sayings ("Without Christ I'm nothing and with
Him I'm everything") is the genesis of the piece and of course is incorporated. I also love the lines about the two things Satan can do when we let him. The
dedication is influenced by the current YouTube well-deserved hype for "Britain's Got Talent"'s Susan Boyle. Man oh man, talk about pure talent! What an
inspiration. For me, Susan Boyle is mid-50's Mike from my last ward, who has the voice of an angel with absolutely no training. Susan has inspired me to
contact Mike and ask him to record this song for my website, that's why the audio is still forthcoming!
"In Humility My Savior" (Summer 2008)
This simple SSAA a cappella arrangement sprang from my now commonplace practice of writing an arrangement of a hymn sang in
my sacrament meeting the day I wrote it! Come home and mess around with something while everyone else is taking their "day
of rest" literally. :) I also employed a lyric change in this arrangement like on "My Savior's Love," making it more personal
for the performers and audience.
"Inside" (Fall 2007)
Working with lyricist Joe Olivas is such a joy! It's so easy to write music with great words already there...however, sometimes
I have a tendency to cut and edit a bit too much, and I often feel guilty for "slashing" his great works to fit the tunes. So,
with "Inside," or "Would I," as Joe would call it :), I tried to stay as true to the original poetry as I could. The result is
a quicker, catchier, probably-not-perfect-for-sacrament-but-perfect-for-the-radio-or-an-album ditty that is probably my fave
"Israel Israel God is Calling" (Spring 2011)
One of my favorite playing and composing styles is "bombastic," with huge chord in the right hand and way down low syncopated octaves in the left. Hmmmm, does this arrangement fit that style?!
"Jesus Lover Of My Soul" (Summer 2007)
It's amazing how inspiring an empty chapel with a lone organ playing can be...this has always been one of my favorite hymns
(I actually sang a solo of it on my mission in a crowded marketplace!), and I'm happy with this quick arrangement, written
in about 30 minutes. I've always liked the simplicity of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and Vince Gill's "Go Rest High," and you
can definitely hear their influences in this piece.
"Jesus Savior Pilot Me" (Spring 2009)
"Jesus The Very Thought Of Thee" (Summer 2009)
Our best friends in the whole wide world are TJ and Kari, fellow music lovers and proud parents of almost as many kids as us! :) We've been best friends for almost forever, dating back to before TJ and my missions. TJ earned his degree from BYU in music education and was a popular choir teacher in Wyoming for a time. In other words, a REAL musician! :) One of our favorite things to do is get our families together for a two-hour dinner/visit...which always ends up being about six hours because Teej and I can't stop talking about music stuff and Amber and Kari are having too much girly fun too. It was on one such visit that TJ asked me for some help with a piano accoompaniment for his stake choir. The stake president requested "Jesus Savior Pilot Me" for stake conference, and he had a nice counterpoint line for the men to sing along with the melody. Voila, quoi! I am SO pleased to FINALLY start working with my talented best friend, and hope this is the beginning of many more choral collaborations.
A la Mack Wilberg. That has a nice ring to it, eh? :) Every once in awhile I consider a challenge to match the style of another, more famous
composer and make his/her style my own. I am a HUGE fan of Mack Wilberg (who isn't?) and just love his arrangement of "Away in a Manger." My "Jesus the
Very" is a mimic of the "Manger" style, in the same key, with an organ and flute to back up the choir, with an a cappella last verse. I'm very proud of
this piece, hopefully someone will mistake it for a Wilbergian number!
"Joseph Prophet Of The Lord" (Spring 2005)
I love the times when Amber is asked to sing a solo in sacrament meeting, and after finding out the topic she turns to me
and says, "write me something." "Joseph" is a song from one such time. I really wanted to go simple, not too bombastic,
focus on the grove and what it meant. Sort of a modern "Oh How Lovely." Amber actually likes it more than I do!
"Joy To The World" (Fall 2008)
Did you know that this is really an Easter hymn?! We all relate it to Christmas, though...There's not much to this piano solo,
just trying to match a nice, "jubilant" feeling of worshipping our newborn King. Watch the cross-overs, they are a bit
difficult! Of course, you may omit notes that you don't think you can play.
"Lead Kindly Light" (Spring 2006)
There are two phenomenal violin players in my ward, and I'm always wanting to write nice stuff for them to critique. This
arrangement is a try at really bringing out some passion in the playing, especially in the "free" sections that aren't part
of the original hymn. The piano part is a constant flickering of a small candle, while the violins are the praying voices,
pleading for refuge from the storm. Truth be told, I really really like how this turned out, and hope my friends love it
too! Spring 2007 Update! I've just posted a nice cello duet version, too! Spring 2009: I finally found the motivation to turn what has become
my favorite hymn arrangement I've written into a stunning vocal duet! It's in the only key (D-major) that will keep the music as close to the original
version as possible, and I admit it's a pretty difficult one to sing (the 1st part has to have a 2-octave range, with the 2nd only a few notes less),
but gorgeous in its execution. How else can I say it but to sing like violins?! :) Expression is the key, and I'd be happy to walk anyone through it via
email...Fall 2010:There's an SATB version available now, too, hopefully this will finally push one of my favorite arrangements to the place it deserves!
"Lead Me To The Manger" (Winter 2006)
This is a contemporary Christian-type Christmas song that expresses a heart-felt plea: "I long to see the baby/I'll brave most
anything/To make it to the manger/Give my gift to my King." I really enjoy the lyrics that fit nicely with the music
(actually written first). Amber does a great job on the audio track of taking us through the emotions of getting to Christ
and giving Him (as the late Neal A. Maxwell said) the only thing that's truly ours to give: our will.
"Let Glory To Him In The Highest Be Given" (Summer 2006)
Moving from Cedar City to St. George was hard, but only by the grace of God did it happen! I'm grateful to a Father that is
involved in the details of my life. Our first Sunday after moving I penned the text (12-11-12-11 meter, I'm so proud!) and
set it quickly. Hymns are not my favorite genre to write, nor are they very popular on the site, but I do like this one,
especially the message.
"Let Zion In Her Beauty Rise" (Spring 2006)
Amber was called to be our ward choir director in January 2006, and has done an amazing job! Of course, living with the choir
accompanist has helped! :) J/K Honey! After doing David Naylor's "Kolob" arrangement (see above) and a DeFord piece, she decided
she needed something peppy...and I can write peppy! She gave me free reign in the hymnbook, as long as it was a "rejoicing"
number, and "Let Zion" was my gift to her. She really likes it, and our choir will perform it in the next couple of months.
The second verse can be a cappella for a nice MoTab feel, and watch that surprising F in the final verse, sopranos! :)
"Letter From Emma (To This End I'll Live)" (Fall 2007)
Emma Smith is a controversial figure in Church history, but an amazing woman in anyone's book. Lyricist Joe Olivas wrote
this piece of poetry to try and clue us in on Emma's thought process while Joseph was in Liberty Jail (hence the date introduction).
The song is a mournful yet comforting passage to Joseph, letting him know he really isn't alone. I can't imagine how hard it was
for him during those months, but it must have been even worse for her. We owe Emma so much more credit, and Joe and I hope we
do her emotions justice.
"Like the Wind" (Winter 2001, Winter 2004)
After receiving an answer to a long-suffering prayer, I wrote an a cappella choir number called "Finally." I really liked
it but assumed it would never go anywhere. It sat in my composition binder for three years. Then, when I was preparing
to launch the website, I ran across "Finally," read the lyrics, and decided they needed to be a little more "blunt,"
spiritually speaking. I needed a phrase with three syllables to replace "finally," the main word used, and "like the wind" popped
into my head. The new lyrics, a simile for the spirit of the Lord, came to me in the middle of the night. I'm very happy
with this 'new' version, and hope it is more performable.
"Little Baby Jesus" (Winter 2007)
I am honored to put this little, inspired text by my dear wife Amber to music for our 2007 Christmas song. In it, she captures
the beauty and essence of the two great comings of our Lord, past and future. I love you Amber for your excitement for the next
coming, and your constant challenging to make us prepared! On a side note, this is the first piece that I have ever written
that contains choral intervals greather than an octave. And let me tell you, putting that down on the computer required the
use of my tongue! :( Hope y'all like the free primary song version...
"Lord Accept My True Devotion" (Spring 2011)
For my arrangements, I really like changing hymn texts in the hymnbook from plural possessive (we and our) to single possessive (I and my). I think it makes the message more intimate, more personal, more prayerful. I've wanted to do this for "Lord Accept Our True Devotion" for some time now. I wrote a quick, simple arrangement for cello to "Lord Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing" (which BTW wouldn't work well with the text switch!), then got an email from a featured vocalist asking "Anything new you'd like me to try?" And the idea popped into my head to adapt the cello solo to something singable. And the meters are the same. And voila! Put a modulation in there and you've got another accomplished idea!
"The Lord Can Work Wonders" (Spring 2005)
I always have spaces of time where nothing comes for weeks, then in one night a whole song comes out. "Wonders" is another
example of that truism. It's in 6/8, which has been occupying my thoughts for awhile, and is a reaffirmation that if the
Lord can do "it" for so many others, He can do "it" for me too! That's what I really needed to know at the time it was
"Lord Grant Me Breath" (Winter 2007)
My 2007 hymn came oh so suddenly one cold Sunday morning. It just fits with the verse portion of "Bless Our Fast, We Pray," so
forgive me for not writing an original tune! I pray that God will grant me breath to constantly serve Him and sing His praises.
2009 UPDATE! I'm truly excited and humbled to announce that "Lord Grant Me Breath" won in the 2009 Church Music Contest for
its text! Wow, what an honor to have my WORDS awarded! In honor of the win, I finally sat down and penned my own music for the text, hope
you like it!
"The Lord Is My Light" (Summer 2008)
I had the humbling pleasure of having a visitor to our ward come up to me after sacrament meeting and exclaim, "You're Aaron
Waite! I am your biggest fan!" Can't help but be a little flattered by that, can I?! :) She was so tickled to meet me, and I
of course was very happy to learn that a lot of people in New Mexico know who I am. The most important part of our conversation,
for me, was when she said how different my music was. I asked in what way, and she responded, "Your music brings the spirit."
With tears welling up in my eyes, I said, "That's what it's all about, Shannon." And it is. It is so nice to hear my name
shouted from a rooftop for good, but it's even more rewarding to know that others are feeling God's love, and I'm simply the
instrument through which that love is felt. The Lord truly is my light, so why should I fear? Thank you, Shannon.
"The Lord Is My Shepherd" (Spring-Fall 2005)
Let my take you all through a very complex creative process; after all, stories like this one are the reason for this page!
I play the piano for the local Methodist congregation, and one morning in February the pastor's sermon centered on Psalm
23, which was printed in their bulletin. It hit me: "What a gorgeous text, it deserves my own music setting." So I went home
and pulled out my scriptures and tried to get to work...but I just couldn't get past the music of my two favorite settings
(this is Psalm 23, don't-ya-know!). I started thinking about an adaptation, and then it hit me: "Sheep May Safely Graze" by
J.S. Bach, the personification of celestial music. I've always enjoyed the number for its extremely pastoral, shepherd-like
feel. What piece could possibly work better for a setting of Psalm 23?! I imported the sheet music from England (which cost
like 13 dollars), pulled out my scriptures and tried to get to work...but I just couldn't get the text to fit the music
without compromising the beauty of one or the other. The project seemed doomed to my "Works in Progress" folder. And then it
FINALLY hit me: open the hymnbook, duh! And there it was, hymn #108, "The Lord Is My Shepherd." With two months of creative
juices ready and raring to get used, the arrangement wrote itself (as they so usually do). From the offset, the main goal
was to stay true to both pieces, at the same time sounding like each other but not being distinguishible. In other words, to
sound like they were meant to be together, destined to be linked by some composer. I'm proud to be that composer, and am SO
happy with this work!
"Love At Home" (summer 2006)
I have a confession to make: I don't think I'm a good dad! :( Amber and I try and try to be good parents, but sometimes raising
three kids born in three years is a physical and emotional struggle. Over the past month or two we have tried to have better
tempers, softer voices, and gentler actions towards our greatest treasures. We have started to see ever-so-slight improvements
in us and our kids. "Love at Home" is that tried-and-true LDS anthem for the home, and as a gift to my family (including
myself) I wanted to write a calming, peaceful arrangement that we can all listen to to bring harmony into our home. So,
naturally, I chose the cello, since it's my most favorite instrument! I hope that this arrangement (used more as a recording
than a live piece) will help the love grow in many homes...but especially in mine.
"Love Is Spoken Here" (Summer 2004)
It seems like moments in my life where I really need the comforting hand of the Lord are the moments that I write my best stuff,
and I REALLY needed the Lord that summer! :( Looking back, that season produced this piece, "Now Let Us Rejoice," "All Creatures
Of Our God And King," and my best work, "Witness." I'm glad that God is in the details of our lives...This piece is fun to
play because of the triple meter (4/4 originally), makes for a pleasant change!
"Love One Another" (Winter 2004)
This is the first number written after the website was conceived! It's officially for you the internet surfer! It's
written for chorus, although it's mostly two-part unison. The counter melody's text is 1 John 4:9-11, the second
scripture listed in the hymn book under the original hymn. Makes a good counterpoint, doesn't it? I love the
simplicity of the work, it was my main driving force during the four-day writing process. Spring 2007 UPDATE! A brother
in Columbia just translated this very work into Spanish for a stake conference performance there, so this website is now
"Mary's Lullaby" (Fall 2010)
"More Holiness Give Me" (Spring 2009)
Viola, an arrangement of the Children's Songbook's most popular Christmas song! :)
This actually started as an arrangement of "Search Ponder and Pray" from the children's song book! I had lots of nice choral chords I wanted,
but didn't know how to put a piano in...so I changed the song and threw the piano out! :) The last six measures or so would work perfectly
for the last few measures of "SP&P." Amber wants me to write more stuff for choir (six years or so after she told me to stop!), so hopefully
there's more choral coming in 2009...
"The Morning Breaks" (Spring 2008)
I've always loved the first hymn in our current hymnbook, and finally got an idea one day on the way home from church. I tend
to have about four different styles I write in, and this piano solo fits in the "Now Let Us Rejoice," "Army of Helaman," "We
Thank Thee O God," etc. model, with not many chords and a nice running feel.
"My Confidence Is Grounded In My Savior" (Summer 2008)
I am one of those "weird" musicians that actually HAS some musical training! For a long time, my major in college was music,
with an emphasis in theory and composition. Too bad professional musicians can't feed six mouths (hence the website!), oh
well...Anyway, my list of absolute, beat-all, favorite composers is very short: Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff. And
lately, "Brother Felix" has been occupying all of my musical mind. I recently bought a book of Mendelssohn's "Songs Without
Words" and have absolutely devoured it, to the point of driving my wife crazy ("Okay honey, enough classical, you can go
back to composing again")! This piece is adapted from one such piano work, with lyrics by me. Hope you forgive me for a little
classical music? :)
My confidence is grounded in the Savior of all mankind, Jesus Christ/With diligence in heeding His commandments I shall
obtain eternal life/If I am faithful, striving to be like Him, I'll stand with Him in the celestial day/Clothed with the glory
born of His suffering, I shall enter into His glorious kingdom/To hear God say, "Well done, thou, good and faithful servant,
enter into my rest.
"My Savior's Love" (Spring 2007)
Ever since hearing Larry Beebe's arrangement of "Our Savior's Love" I've felt like I couldn't write an arrangement, for fear
of stepping on his! But this soulful, humble vocal solo just came out and I couldn't get away from it. Emotions are running
close to the surface nowadays when I think about my Redeemer. I love Jesus! I love God! That's why I changed the lyrics to
"MY Savior" and "MY Father." Man, if I could get Alex Boye to sing this, he would be perfect...:)
"Near" (Fall 2001)
A good friend of mine, Adam Crosby from Kanab, Utah has a gorgeous super-low bass voice, as well as a real knack for lyrics.
"Near" is our collaboration. It's written for alto/low bass duet (the bass gets down to a low E-flat!), and is a prayer
and response. The two lines are thrown together in beauty at the end. We've received a lot of compliments from those we
have performed this for, they say it's wonderful. You can thank Adam for that! If you need a version a little higher (in C),
"Nearer My God To Thee" (piano solo version: Spring 2009)
Wow, a lot of different angles for this story! First off, I have never been happy with the "doable-ness" of a choral arrangement (since removed from AW.com) I wrote
oh so long ago. I was just experimenting at the time, and I'm sure it's very hard to perform (I've tried many time without success to record it). To be
honest, I actually feel guilty every time someone buys the SATB because they haven't heard it and they don't know what they're in for! So this piano solo
is meant to make me feel better about this great hymn that everyone loves. So...I decided to go completely opposite of the big, brash, bravado accompaniment
of the first version to a very Very VERY simple piano solo. Perhaps the simplest piano solo I've ever written, in fact! But that's a good thing, because I
tend to write whatever comes out, not thinking about a paying customer being a beginning piano student and such. So this arrangement is really for that kind of
piano player, maybe a 12-year-old Beehive that has been asked to play a special number in YW or New Beginnings and has no idea what to do and yikes all of
this AaronWaite.com stuff is way too hard for me! Problem solved! :) But what this piece is really about is my grandmother's brother Jay Welch who passed
away just two weeks before I wrote this arrangement. He was an associate conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for almost twenty years, and head
conductor for two. A musical genius as quoted by many many musicians around the country, he studied in New York and France and was the head of the University
of Utah music department for many years. The world lost a key contributor when he died. And I lost the pinnacle of the musical talent that ever-so-slightly
runs in my blood. This website would not be possible without the musical heritage from "Uncle Jay," and I know I will never EVER be anywhere close to his
talent, but I can bask in his glory for so long and sing or play my praises the same way. Above all, he was humble, and so this, an arrangement of Jay Welch's
favorite hymn, is humble.
"Nocturne for Cello" (Spring 2011)
My wife has started studies at the University of Utah and has roughly two hours of homework every night, leaving me with plenty of time to work on the website! One of my new commitments is to just write down any good idea that comes out, even if it seems too simple or minimalist. I have scratched dozens of pieces in this mold over the years, but no more! "Nocturne" is the first in what I suspect will be a long line of simpler pieces added to AW.com.
"Now Let Us Rejoice" (Summer 2004)
My wife has wanted me to do piano solo arrangements of "Now Let Us Rejoice" and "All Creatures" since we got married, and
in 2004 I finally got around to it. Both use a more simplistic technic and fast tempos, which Amber enjoys. We tried the
BYU thing (unsuccessfully) the summer of 2004 and moved to Springville, UT. We unloaded the piano out of the moving van,
and this arrangment was the first thing I played. It came out, off the top of my head, just like that. I love it when that
happens, it makes me feel like Chopin! Spring 2007 update! A fiddlin' version is now available, thought it sounded
nice in my head, wotcher!
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" (Fall 2009)
One of the nicest emails I've received regarding my Christmas music told me that the piece "really took me to Bethlehem." I've tried to capture that peaceful, holy moment again in this short and simple arrangement of another Christmas favorite. It is my hope that all AW.come Christmas music helps us get closer to Bethlehem, closer to the manger (that's really a theme for me), closer to the infant Savior of the world. Without Him we are nothing, and with Him we are everything.
"Oh Come All Ye Faithful" (Winter 2005, Fall 2009)
I LOVE REQUESTS! It brings such joy to me when someone asks me to write an arrangement for them. This time it was our ward
chorister, Steve (a big fan of the site), that came to me and said "We're putting together our Christmas program for
sacrament meeting, and we're missing a nice arrangement of 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful,' think you could write up a
congregational number with your big fat piano trademarks?" Yup! Voila, quoi, as the French would say! This is a really easy number to incorporate into sacrament meetings, just have the congregation sing right out of the hymnbook, watching a little half-time finale. 2009 UPDATE! Last Christmas we sang two congregational numbers arranged by Sally DeFord for piano and organ, so I just HAD to change this to the knock-out full effect! :) Boy, this is fun fun fun now...
"Oh Holy Night" (Winter 2008, Fall 2009)
Have you EVER met anyone who has said they haven't liked this song?! Well, I'm no exception! :) I have struggled over the years to write a good arrangement of this beloved Christmas song with absolutely stunning lyrics, always trying to get more and more flashy, bombastic, out-of-this-world. And I finally realized, that's not what this song needs, it just needs simplicity. The chord structure is so easy on this arrangement, it really gets you to focus on the message, which is what the song is all about. I still made it a little different, though! Instead of omitting the second verse like so many people do, I made that second verse the focus, keeping it as Christmas-y as possible. And my favorite part of the whole song is the note that creates a seventh chord with the piano near the end of the first verse. It's usually overshadowed by the high high note on the next chorus, but I love that seventh so much, I almost left the high note out all together! But, I couldn't...just so you know, I don't like that high note! And please forgive the key signature. I do get complaints some times about hard key signatures, and I often move the notes slightly to make it easier to play, but this time it just sounds best in D-flat...don't worry, you can handle it! 2009 UPDATE! I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, just KNOWING that I needed to turn this into a killer violin duet, so here it is! Watch out, first violinist, you get WAAAAAAY up there!
"Oh Lord" (Summer 2001)
Every time I ask myself which of my songs is my favorite, I keep coming back to this one, time and time again…
The text comes from the Psalm of Nephi (2 Nephi 4). The original version (a cappella choir) also includes a script from
the scriptures, accessed here. "Oh Lord" is an attempt to
let us hear what the choirs of heaven would sound like. I love this song because it makes me think of the temple. The aria
version (coming soon) was written for Amber for our CD.
"Oh May My Soul Commune With Thee" (Summer 2009)
I wrote this arrangement in the midst of the huge AW.com facelift and decided to hold out posting it until the site was done...which ended up being over a month after it was written! But here it is, finally...plus, it's the last song needed for the second piano eBook. This arrangement is an interesting mix of "old school" Aaron Waite and "new school" Aaron Waite. When I first started writing piano arrangements, every single one changed each time I played it, with a very improvisational feel along chords structures or playing patterns. It wasn't until the website was created that I started being more "concrete" in my notation, delivering a completed project so patrons could play exactly what I wrote. "Oh May My Soul" meshes the two with a section near the end for improv based on a chord structure, with an example of course in the audio file. I encourage players to do something different each time, letting emotions of the moment inspire. Incidentally, a week or so after I completed this arrangement, a former co-worker of mine was tragically killed. "Oh May" now means much more to me. Rest in peace, Misty.
"Oh Say What Is Truth" (Fall 2005)
It always seems like I have to write one new piano solo each year, and I was worried that 2005 was going to be the first
blank piano slate since I started serious composition in 1998. Well, the streak's still alive! This arrangement was another
one of those moments where the piece practically wrote itself. You can start the right hand slow and work up to speed (dotted-
quarter at about 116), watching the crossovers very carefully. I actually play a crossunder! :) The only group of people I've
played this for said they thought it sounded like Christ descending in millenial glory. I like that image.
"On My Baptism Day" (Fall 2001)
When my niece Riaunna was preparing for baptism, Amber and I wanted to give her a unique gift...voila quoi, as the French
would say! Amber sang the song at Ri's baptism, and I was honored to perform the ordinance. I love writing primary songs,
they always end up being in triple meter for me! :)
"On The Morrow He Comes" (Winter 2004)
The text for this ethereal (I love that word lately!) Christmas song comes from 3 Nephi, when the Lord lets Nephi know that
"This night shall the sign be given." We've always needed a Nephite Christmas carol, so here it is! :) It was written for a
performance at the St. George Utah Festival of Trees, and we will perform it again at this year's Cedar City America Childrens'
Christmas Festival. I really enjoy this piece, it gets stuck in my head quite often.
"Praise To The Man" (Summer 2006)
I'm currently reading Rough Stone Rolling, the new Joseph Smith biography (a Christmas present from my brother). What
a man our dear Prophet was! From those humble roots rose the man that has done more for the salvation of man than any other
except Christ. I remember the exact moment I gained a testimony of the First Vision, and I testify that it really happened.
Praise him! A quick performance note: it's hopefully obvious that the repetitive C-D in the right hand is thematic, so
really bring that out every time it's played. Summer 2007 UPDATE! I am truly honored and humbled to announce that "Praise" just won a
"special Recognition" award in the 2007 Church Music Contest! The only reason I submitted it this year was because I felt the spirit direct me
to, and look what happens when we follow the spirit! :) What an honor...
"Sabbath Day" (Spring 2001, Spring 2006)
A funny thing happened on the way through my uncompleted compositions...my "favorite hymn" selection changes every month or two,
and "Sabbath Day" was my preferred around the time Amber and I were married. At the time, I sat down quickly and wrote the
beginning of what I wanted to be a great TTBB arrangement of the hymn. Of course, it was never finished and sat in a binder
for almost five years. Pulling it out one recent Sunday, I realized it was just fine with the harmonies written so
long ago...so it was finished after all! This is a very simple arrangement, good for quartets that are just starting out.
"Silent Night" (Winter 1999-2005)
Yes, you unfortunately read that right...it's taken six years to finally come up with a full arrangement I could be proud
of! The backbone was written on my mission for Christmas zone conference, and it's gone through many different versions
through the years, but a strong start and finish were lacking. Those strong elements were discovered in 2005, making it ready
for the notation software. Now it's on to the same process with "Away in a Manger"...
"Simon" (Winter 2001)
This song gives a voice to Simon of Cyrene, the man that carried the cross to Golgotha for Christ. The published version
contains a tiny lyrical change from the original, which took a little bit too much artistic liberty (I cry out to the
soldiers/Place this cross on my shoulders). My good friend Josh Tenney, a member of Lex DeAzevedo's Millenium Choir, sings
the audio track with the "false doctrine" lyrics.
"Softly And Tenderly" (Summer 2007)
This has been a favorite of mine since hearing it at the Methodist church a few years back, and it deserved a lullaby-ish
arrangement by yours truly! :) It's for my wife who just got called as primary president! Good luck Amber!
"Sometime We'll Understand" (Spring 2007)
How do we make sense of tragedy? Why do the best die young? Why doesn't the Lord stop a Trolley Square or Virginia Tech massacre
or prevent a Salt Lake City bishop from losing almost his entire family in a car crash? As Ebeneezer Scrooge says in a defining
moment, "How can we bear it?" With these questions heavy on my mind, I found solace in the 1948 hymnbook edition's hymn #267,
"Not Now, But in the Coming Years." With all respect to James McGranahan, I felt Maxwell Cornelius' moving text needed a better,
more emotional setting. And here it is. Amber loves this song and is excited to sing it on the audio track. I feel this song
would be very appropriate for grieving, funerals, etc.
"Son of God Please Forgive" (Spring 2002)
I tend to write long songs for lower voices. "Son of God" was an attempt to break out of both of those habits. Alas!
I still like its simplicity and pure pleading for the Lord's mercy, for we truly are lost without the Lord. Without Him,
we're nothing, and with Him, we're everything!
"Teach Me To Know" (summer 2008)
This simple two-part choral medley of "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" and "I Know My Father Lives" is actually the brainchild
of my beautiful wife Amber! She came home from church with the idea to put them together, actually wrote out the way she wanted
the final verse to sound, then turned to me and said, "Okay, hot shot, put these together so they sound good!" :) I had to work
on the piano part a little, but once the chord structure came it was quite easy. I absolutely LOVE helping out with ideas, and
am so honored to put my wife's name on the "credits."
"Then He'll Calm My Aching Heart" (Spring 2001)
Some songs just seem to be more important than others, you know? I was in a singing group at the LDS Institute of Religion
in St. George, Utah. I played the piano for "Inspiration," and incidentally ended up marrying one of the sopranos!
I loved that group more than life itself, and wanted to write a song everyone in the group could identify with, love, and
embrace. I wanted to write the perfect song for them to perform. I slaved over pages and
pages of paltry lyrics, each word falling short of the feeling I wanted. Nothing inspired came. Then, one night I fell to
my knees in desperate frustration. I pleaded with the Lord for words that not only I and my friends would be pleased with,
but words that He would be pleased with as well. I gave it all up to God. Halfway through my prayer, the phrase "Then
He'll Calm My Aching Heart" came into my head. The rest, as they say, is history… Within 15 minutes, I had
created a lyrical poem revolving around judgment day and the realities of the atonement. Although at times I have not lived
worthy of it, I declare that the spirit of the Lord inspired every word. Tears fell freely down my cheeks as I played the
first chord progression, which seemed to write itself. It was so easy relying on the spirit…This was my gift for
Inspiration, borne of divine inspiration. The song is set for choir, with soloists coming out of the choir to sing at
various times. It's personal for this group, as every member had at least a two-bar solo. My friends embraced the song
totally, internalizing it as I had hoped, crying with me during multiple performances where the spirit was so strong. Some
friends still talk about the influence "Then He'll Calm" has had on their lives. It's those tears that
make it all worth it for me, because I know a heart has been touched the way my heart is touched by powerful messages.
"There Is a Green Hill Far Away" (Spring 2010)
I realize this might be a tad cheesy for me, but I can dip down in my pensieve and see a small group of followers at Golgotha, looking up in adoration of their Lord and Savior, suffering on the cross. I see Mary Jesus' mother there, and John the Beloved. I feel the agony the mother of the Son of God must feel to see her precious child being tortured and killed. Her emotions are contained for a moment but rush out in a heave of sorrow. Then Christ gives his mother to John, and she feels a deep love for the One who saves her and who cares for her deeply, so tenderly to see to it she is taken care of. What grace.
"They The Builders Of The Nation" (Summer 2005)
I LOVE REQUESTS! It brings such joy to me when someone asks me to write an arrangement for them. This time it was my illustrious
ward choir director Dr. Jim Harrison of Cedar City's famed Master Singers. Being his pianist, we were looking at some 24th
of July music, and he just wanted a "fancy" arrangement with a glorified piano part and the voices how he said. Well, I can
do a glorified piano part, I can! Plus I added the congregation in the third verse after the key change, because it just
feels right. I assume it's a little late for Pioneer Day for everyone but our mega-talented 17th ward choir, but there's
always next year...
"Three Hymns for Two Violins" (Spring 2009)
Or, in its complete silly title, "Three Hymns for Two Violins in One Key with No Accompaniment" :), is a very-happily completed project that began in 2005
with the writing of a simple two-violin arrangement of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief," written for my little sister and a friend for the Joseph Smith
celebration. I'd always wanted to write more arrangements like that since due to their ease, perfect for beginning or early intermediate violinists. Some time
in 2007 I started toying with a like "Spirit of God" arrangement, but never finished it. Then, in December 2007 when I started charging for my music, I felt
really guilty that someone was paying $1.60 for some dinky little song, but it has been quite popular! So to give patrons more for their money, I finished
the "Spirit" arrangement (in a cool 3/4 meter), and added a slower middle piece, "Ye Simple Souls Who Stray," (which as of this writing is my current fave
hymn), and stuck the "Poor Wayfaring" song at the end. Voila, a violin concerto! :)
"Through Your Hands" (Winter 2000)
I was invited once to participate in a musical number at one of the only hearing-impaired branches in the Church. I played
the piano while a group sang and another group signed the lyrics of the song. I was so impressed with the members of the
branch, these saints that worshipped with so much more than words. It was an inspiring experience. I returned home from
the meeting and wrote "Through Your Hands," top to bottom, lyrics and all, in about 30 minutes. It's turned out to be the
song of mine that most people have called their favorite. My dream is to one day see "Through" performed with
'singers and signers.' That would be cool. Please note that this sheet music version is very open to interpretation; it
will have to suffice until a longer, more written-out version becomes necessary.
"Thy Holy Word" (Summer 2006)
As is often the case, I stumbled upon this great hymn tucked away in the hymnbook and immediately heard those darn voices
in my head! I can just hear my wife singing this...we'll get to that audio file soon! :)
"Tis Sweet To Sing The Matchless Love" (Summer 2007)
The sacrament is such a sacred part of our worship. We rededicate ourselves to our baptismal covenants and remember the atonement,
the whole reason we can return to God. Because of its sacred nature, I've always stayed as much away from sacrament hymn arrangements
as possible, but couldn't resist mixing the two great tunes for this reverent text. In putting the two together for the third verse, I only
slightly changed a few notes, hopefully keeping the spirit of each individual melody to make a great polyphony. The piano chords
are very purposefully uncomplicated, simple, sacred. I never want to get in the way of the spirit.
"Today I Go to the Temple" (Fall 2001)
This primary song was written for my brother Nate when he received his endowment shortly before his mission to Brazil. I
wrote the simple song with simple doctrine to express the simplicity of temple worship. After all, the temple is simply
about ordinances and covenants.
"True To The Faith" (Summer 2008)
The one thing I don't like doing is falling into compositional "ruts," meaning just writing the same kind of piece again and
again (My music history teacher once said it's common knowledge that Vivaldi wrote the same symphony 200 times, but that's not
entirely accurate...he wrote the same two symphonies 100 times each!). Right before this arrangement was written, I noticed
myself falling into the rut of writing piano solos that were real fluid, with only one or two notes played on each hand at a
time. This arrangement, full of huge, big chords and tremendous bass, is a response to that rut. I love the lyrics to this
hymn, and will be a little remorseful that a choral arrangement didn't come out...
"We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet" (Spring 1999)
Oh, I am so HAPPY to finally get this one down on paper! :) I wrote it during my "genesis" mission days, where all of my piano
solos have that syncopated, Jim Brickman-ish feel to them. This one is special, though, because of how the meaning has changed
for me over the years. When it was written it was dedicated to Gordon B. Hinckley, whose biography we had just watched at a
district meeting. As it stuck in my head and was performed back in the states, "fans" associated it with Joseph Smith and
requested it as a tribute to him. But it now is reverenced for my favorite prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, whose Teachings
is the second-most read book in our house (after the scriptures). He and all the prophets before and after are truly oracles
of God, and I'm so pleased to have this arrangement to pay homage to them all.
"We Three Kings" (Winter 2006)
If you've read this far down on this page, congrats! :) This piece came in the middle of the night, and turned into a
monster before I realized it. It is of course not appropriate for sacrament meeting worship, but is a perfect number for ward
Christmas parties, etc. In it I have found a piece for my brother and sister to play with me. Combined we have 50 years of
piano-playing experience between us! I have enjoyed finally getting to sit down and play an ensemble with my siblings, and
hope they have enjoyed it. Thanks Nate and Z for making a dream of mine a reality. And Merry Christmas!
"When I Am Baptized" (Fall 2012)
This has been a favorite primary song of mine for a long time, so happy to see it in the programs this year!
"When Joseph Prayed In A Grove Called Sacred" (Summer 2009)
After winning in the hymn text category in the 2009 church music contest with "Lord Grant Me Breath," I guess it's okay to say I'm
pretty good with lyrics! :) I always loved when President Hinckley would refer to the area of Joseph Smith First Vision as "the grove
called Sacred," so I wrote some hymn lyrics quickly one afternoon to parallel the famous hymn in the hymnbook. Incidentally, my wife
was asleep when I wrote them down, so I didn't have access to a notebook...so I wrote the words on a napkin! :) I'm JK Rowling!
"While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" (Fall 2008)
Amber is always pushing me to write more Chrismas music, and this year she started pushing in July! So in October I finally got
in the festive mood and got ideas for the "Joy to the World" piano solo and this advanced violin (fiddle, actually) solo. I
say advanced because I think only a really good violinist could handle what I throw out in this number! Lots and lots of fast
notes make this one I'm sure hard to play, someone please let me know how it goes! Also, this might work for sacrament meeting,
but probably better for ward parties, etc. Make sure you run it by leadership first, I don't want to get anyone in trouble!
"Why" (Fall 2007)
In the spirit of "Near," lyricist Joe Olivas and I bring to life a question to and response from Christ to answer that all-inclusive
question WHY? I am so happy to work with Joe, his words are so easy to put to beautiful music. This duet is more simple and
direct than "Near," plus shorter and more singable. We hope it is a popular song on the website.
"Why I Pray" (Fall 2007)
Lucky for me my parents are big fans! Their ward choir has performed some of my music, and the director, David, just so happens
to have a knack for lyrics! So he sent me some and I promised to have some music for him "in about a month" (fans of the site
can guess where this is going)...24 hours later I had "Why I Pray" ready for him to distribute to the choir! I'm proud of the
sequencing in the bass line, it's actually very mechanical. Many thanks to the lyricist; I find it so easy to write when
others have fought half the battle already!
"Witness" (Summer 2004)
This song is loosely based on Elder Bruce R. McConkie's final conference address before his death. After a particularly
long and trying spiritual time in my life, I personalized his testimony, making it my own. "Witness" is a result. Of all
the songs I've written to date, this is the first one so far that's really "mine." It's my testimony in my voice range.
This song marks a level of maturity in my music, I think, that I tend not to reach. Boy, if I could get Kenneth Cope to
"Wondrous Story" (Winter 2007)
A continuation of the "Child of Mine" story, this is the first lullaby sung once we arrive on earth. And it is the greatest
story ever told. Many thanks to Joe Olivas for the moving lyrics and the trust he gave to me in all of his poems to cut and
paste where necessary! :) I hope you enjoy the recording from the album "Believe," sung by Amber and two of her best friends,
Julie Kohler and Kari Dick. We used three separate voices on purpose to make the song more universal.
"Ye Elders of Israel" (Spring 2010)
I wrote this and my "As Sisters in Zion" piano duet on the same day so as not to leave the priesthood nor the Relief Society out! :) Can't you just hear the army of the Lord rising up from thh distant hills, passing by on their way to battle, and fading off into the sunset? My wife loves that hidden melody, says it sounds like two people playing. "O Babylon, O Babylon, we bid thee farewell" is something I constantly strive to say.
"Ye Elders of Israel" MEN'S CHORUS (Spring 2010)
This is the very first time that I have written two different stories for the same arrangement, and there's good reason! This men's chorus arrangement of "Ye Elders of Israel" will always be a significant contribution to this website for its logistical breakthroughs. With this piece I FINALLY learned how to erase lines of empty measures for voices not singing/playing during the piano introduction, like the first 7.75 measures of this arrangement. My notation software has said that it lacks the capability to do so, but while searching for how to put clef changes mid-measure (see below) on finale's support discussion board, I came across a user who shared how to get around the "measure optimization" problem with my software (it involves two different mass editing tools...very exciting for me, but probably boring as heck for you)! Voila, quoi! Secondly, "THEY" said that those pesky mid-measure clef changes couldn't be done either...BUT YOUR'S TRULY FIGURED OUT HOW TO CHEAT IT! It was quite a process, cutting measures down to 2/4 and even 1/4 to put in the clef change, then combining the measures back to 4/4. I CHEATED THE SYSTEM!!! The five-year-long debate in the Waite household on whether or not to upgrade another $200 to another notation software ends with a resounding NO!! I'm so cool...read the piano solo page for the original story.