ORDER ONCE UPON A TREE ON MY ONLINE STORE
THANKS TO EVERYONE...
who presented "Once Upon a Tree" this year. I've enjoyed reading your many emails about the remarkable response you have received from your choirs and congregations. My goal was for people to experience the emotional and spiritual power of the real story. Judging by your feedback, the work succeeded beyond my expectations.
A musical published by Glorysound A7481 or HL 35016181
Here is a mp3 of excerpts. (“Guilty of Innocence” and “Father, Forgive Them” are repeated.)
on blue titles to hear RealAudio files.
Once Upon a Tree
This was written several years ago and has been one of my best sellers. It has become something of the theme song for my writing. I think particularly of the final verse, "What tale of human love could ever be told, what song could compare with the one I hold?" Such is the song of Luke who devotes his life to the telling of the story.
This was the first piece written for the new musical and came to set the tone for this dramatic work. Notice the introducion which conveys the excitement and anticipation of the crowd: "Our waiting is over and now the Messiah is here!" Throughout the musical I tried to make the choir a vital part of the drama - to create a "choral drama."
I had planned to write a nice warm piece about Jesus coming to
My father had died less than a year before I began writing the musical. In this section, I tried to connect the listeners experience of saying goodbye to someone dear. This is certainly what Jesus was doing through the experience in the upper room. While he is saying goodbye, he lets them know that he will be with them always.
This is my favorite piece of the work. The drama created by the conflicting forces is so powerful and compelling. Jesus struggles with his desire to do the Father's will and his desire to avoid his impending trial and execution. The disciples are aware that the situation is serious, but they do not understand its significance. All the while there is a crowd coming to arrest Jesus. This anthem is to be done VERY dramatically.
This phase is so compelling as it describes Jesus' life. He lived days with love and truth that was in direct conflict with the world of deception, power and injustice. The trial and crucifixion was simply the climax of a process that began at his birth.
The choir MUST be actors here. Their parts contain just a handful of notes - but the WAY they are sung is paramount. Extreme drama is called for. Each choir member must sing this with a firey passion.
Father, Forgive Them
Try to imagine the darkness of Good Friday. The choir should sing the first part with a sense of sighing on the word "father". Feel the fatigue and suffering as it builds in intensity on each repetition. Put an accent on the word "do" at the end of the first half. The second half is simply a song of love and devotion as we consider the unbelievable grace Christ showed through his suffering on the cross. Choir, simply worship through the music.
I was continuously looking for ways that would draw the listener to the story. Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one after a long battle with illness will feel this mixture of grief and of peace. The choir should float on the foundation of the chords while the soloist sings from the bottom of her soul. Again, DRAMA is the word here.
Once Upon a Tree (reprise)
The Song Lives On
I asked at a choral clinic whether the directors wanted a "resurrection" song in a musical. The response was half and half. A musical of this sort is almost always presented before Easter Day. Some traditions would not think of singing a resurrection song before Easter Sunday. Other churches would not think of telling the story without Christ rising from the grave. This piece is a celebration of the story that lives in every believer and points TOWARD the hope of the resurrection.
ORDER NO. FOR MATERIALS
SATB A 7481
Orchestration LB 5631
Accompaniment Cassette MC5303
Accompaniment CD MD5116
Listening Cassette NC5064
Listening CD NC5024
CD/Book Combo Pak Gn5084 (One per church)
Bulk cassettes - 10 pak MB5004
Bulk cassettes - 25 pak MB5005
To order a CD of Once Upon a Tree,
send $15.95 (cassettes, $10.95) plus $2 for postage to:
SPECIFY IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IT SIGNED
OR ORDER FROM MY ONLINE STORE
This musical has been presented by choirs of
12 to 150. We presented the work at the brand new Meymandi
Concert Hall in