Sunday, April 08, 2007

A Joyful Easter Cantata

This is the 17th year that the Colorado Springs Stake/Colorado Springs North Stake has held an Easter cantata with music by Sally DeFord who lives there and orchestrates and conducts the affair.

After hearing about the event for a few years from Keryn's sister who has participated as a pianist and as a singer, we decided to make the journey from Utah to Colorado to hear the performance. We attended the performance last night. What a blessing it was!

Sister DeFord would probably want to deflect attention from herself in this matter and would prefer to focus the attention on the Savior, and that is appropriate. But I wanted to pause for a moment to publicly thank Sister DeFord for her generous contribution to the music of the church. She has a wonderful musical gift and she feels she is in a position to share that gift freely with the world. She makes her music available at no charge on her website. Not all artists have this luxury and we are blessed that Sister DeFord is in a position to do it.

The cantata that was performed was "Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee." This was the second time the work was performed, the first being two years ago in this same venue. The music for the entire program was written and arranged by Sally DeFord. All of the songs are original works except for the title song which is an arrangement of a well loved hymn.

The instrumentation is simple: piano, organ, violins, choir. The resulting music is swelling, powerful, and spirit-filled. What a powerful witness of the Savior and his divine mission! My favorite songs from the cantata was one about resurrection morning, "At the Rising of the Sun," one about the crucifixion, "They Know Not What They Do," and one about the healing power of the Savior, "The Mighty Wonder of His Love." (Sheet music for all songs in available from the cantata's homepage.)

CD's of the event may be made publicly available. I will update this post if that becomes true. If you are looking for some great Christ-centered music to use for solos or choral pieces in our own ward or stake, I highly recommend this work by Sister DeFord.


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  • Our ward choir has done many DeFord pieces. I have performed some of her piano solo pieces. She has a tremendous talent. She weaves beautifully simple melodies, blends them in marvelous harmonies, and pens fitting lyrics to boot.

    The fact that Sister DeFord not only gives her music away for nothing, but also makes it easily available is beyond most measures of generousity. Unless you have composed music and lyrics, and put together websites that make PDFs of formatted music and MP3s of performances available, you don't really understand what a sacrifice she has made.

    By Blogger Scott Hinrichs, at 4/10/2007 1:57 PM  

  • We too, here in Australia, have utilised many of Sally DeFord's compositions and arrangements.

    She has an amazing talent, and we are all so impressed by her music. The spirit the music invites into the room has been such a powerful witness to many a fireside and sacrament meeting, and I'd like to let everyone know that I think she is an inspiration to us all.

    We are currently planning to run "I Stand All Amazed" in Easter next year - it is another of her incredible cantatas, and from a music student point of view wish to point out that she is a very talented composer, who uses the most fascinating chords and melodies.

    I hope that Sally DeFord's music becomes more and more recognised and is played and sung in more and more places. God bless her for the way she has used her talent.

    By Blogger Sam, at 9/12/2007 3:17 AM  

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