Monthly Archives: April 2014

writing “A Father”

Time really does fly!  I remember writing this song when the girls were a certain age – just 4, and not even 1, respectively.  This project came as a commission – to be written for a member of our church choir who had passed away.  And here’s the beautiful thing for me about the creative process: it can be so transformative.  Sure, we could do gigs just for the pay, etc., but we can also be open to each experience leaving a mark on us.  And so it was with this piece…

The family who commissioned this picked the poem because it was one that their mom had written about her own father.  But for this family, they had come to think of these words in terms of their own father (the husband of the author) – and so on down the generations the figure of father is passed.  So for me, in writing the piece, I thought of my own kids.  about being their father.  about writing a kind of melody that they would associate with our relationship.

So the song became a dialogue.  The piano part literally represents the father (or the memory of one).  and that final line!  “when the way seems dark, the journey too long, he points to a clearing or sings you a song…”  The melody the piano plays throughout (that eventually becomes the “ah’s” at the end) are meant to be that very simple song – something sung to and with a young child…a melody to remember for a lifetime.  And before very long at all, my oldest (barely 4) was singing along to the melody :-)

Every night when she went to bed, I would work on the music (after first playing through George Winston’s “Lullaby” of course).  And she would ask, “Daddy, are you going to play the Father song tonight?” She looked forward to it so much!  And now this piece, this commissioned song that could have been “just another project” has left its mark on our whole family.  This is why I love what I do!

The girls at the age when I wrote “A Father”

Ah, the new(-ish) piano…what a wonderful workstation!
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