Monday, December 07, 2009

I have a confession to make

I can be downright prideful about my music knowledge. No, I'm not a master theorist or composer. I can sing OK I guess but can't really play an instrument, so I'm not talking about any of that.

I'm talking about my ability to remember music, know who wrote it, performed it, and what era it's from. I have a very good ear and music memory and, yes, I confess to giving in to pride in this area.

A few years ago I was blessed to attend Michael W Smith and Point of Grace's combined Christmas concert for two years in a row. Both times I was overwhelmed by Heather Payne from POG as she sang a song called All is Well. I don't cry a lot, but when I do it is usually as a response to music. I cried at the beauty of her voice, the instrumentals, and the message. The first year I was determined to learn more about this song. For the next couple of weeks, I asked everyone I knew -- even my daughters' piano teacher -- if they had heard of it. No one had. We drove to Memphis for our family Christmas celebration and as we pulled up to my sister's house, a BEAUTIFUL choral arrangement of the song came on the radio. I made my whole family sit in the car and listen until it was over.

This arrangement was completely different. A choir. Strings. Less repetition of the words, and more instrumentals. This arrangement made me think, "Hmm . . .maybe it's an old British carol and Heather Payne just modernized it and put her own stamp on it." I decided that's what it must be, so after Christmas I returned to my quest of learning more about this song. My revised question was, "Do you know anything about an old British Christmas hymn called All is Well?" I was so certain. I just knew it.

Imagine my surprise later that spring when I read an interview with Michael W. Smith. He was asked, "What's the best song you've ever written?"

His answer? All is Well

Michael, I have to agree with you.

Turn up the volume (this one is very quiet) and close your eyes, and listen to the angelic version of All is Well. Tomorrow you'll get the Heather Payne version. She will blow you out of the water.

All is well all is well
Angels and men rejoice
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love's light
Sing A-le
Sing Alleluia
All is well all is well
Let there be peace on earth
Christ is come go and tell
That He is in the manger
Sing A-le
Sing Alleluia

All is well all is well
Lift up your voices and sing
Born is now Emmanuel
Born is our Lord and Savior
Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia
All is well

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