Why

In some way or other, we’re all looking for the answers to the secrets of the universe. It’s the unending quest of the infinitely curious human species.

But sometimes in our quest for that destination that is the answer to our question, we lose sight of the fact that it’s our journey for the answer that provides the greatest insights. The quest itself carries more illumination than just the answer we sought.

Count Your Blessings


Count Your BlessingsA week ago, Jenni and I learned that our baby, due March 2014, had miscarried. I can’t express in words the kinds of emotions I’ve been experiencing for this last week. The closest thing I can think to say is that our hearts are broken, but our faith is strong.

 

I’ve been trying to come up with the appropriate arrangement of Count Your Blessings for several weeks, and before last week, nothing I tried felt right. I attempted numerous times to come up with something that worked for me, but it just wouldn’t click. If I can’t get a spark in a piece, I can’t publish it. I just can’t bring myself to do it. If there’s no spark, the arrangement doesn’t leave my computer. That’s what was happening with this one.

 

Then we got the news.

 

The first day, I took the day off to be with my family. When things like this happen, the most precious things in life suddenly become even more dear to me. The next day wasn’t easy, but I knew I had to keep going. When I sat down to make another attempt at “Count Your Blessings,” it came so fast and effortlessly that I’m confident I had help. It was so different than all my previous attempts, but this time, it sparked immediately.

 

As I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve never struggled to record my voice as much I did with this piece. In order to even get through it, I had to force myself to not think about what I’d just been through. Have you ever tried to force yourself not to think about something? Let alone something this big?

 

Anyway, it got me thinking about the words a bit. How exactly does a cheerful, optimistic person (like I’m always striving to become) deal with tragedy? How do I see the upside, or silver lining, in the loss of a loved one? How do I find happiness in that?

 

Well, one way, at least, is simply this: to count my blessings. I have the most loving, beautiful wife in the world, and the sweetest, funnest kids in the world. I’ve been blessed with an absolute certainty of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the eternal nature of the family and life itself. I’m so blessed.

Sheet music and MP3 for this piece are available on my website.

Gethsemane: Original Choir Piece

GethsemaneIn my Gethsemane my poor voice I gently raised,
For the burden placed on me, I have also been amazed
Oh Jesus, my Jesus

That reach was infinite, every soul in space and time,
It was also intimate, filling me with grace sublime
Oh Jesus, my Jesus

Gethsemane,
Gethsemane,
The garden where the Savior paid the price for me.
When His soul was made an offering for sin,
He saw His seed,
Who would that be?
Did He see me?

I’ve tried to change my heart, time and time and time again,
But when I found his love, I found strength that would sustain.
Oh Jesus, my Jesus

He sets my spirit free to become one of His own.
He is making me to be more than I could do alone.
Oh Jesus, my Jesus

Gethsemane,
Gethsemane,
The garden where the Savior paid the price for me.
When His soul was made an offering for sin,
He saw His seed,
Who would that be?
Did He see me?

The sheet music and piano solo of this piece are available on my website.

Fly

Fly Sheet Music CoverFly is based on the ideas shared in two of my favorite poems on faith. The first is by Patrick Overton, and reads,

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
you must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
or, you will be taught how to fly

http://www.patrickoverton.com/

The second is by Minnie Louise Haskins, and reads,

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

I believe that. And according to the scriptures, “faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” -Ether 12:6

If you’re responding to an urge that seems to come from a higher source, don’t be afraid to act in faith. What good is success if it doesn’t stretch and empower you? What good is a choice if it doesn’t lift you toward something higher?

When it comes to faith, you don’t need to already know how to fly. You’ll learn that after you take the step into the darkness.Patrick Overton said:

“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
you must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
or, you will be taught how to fly

You can get the sheet music and MP3 of this piece on my website.

Fly Quote

His Rain


His Rain Cover

by Chas Hathaway and Ria Spencer

I am standing in the rain

In the sparkling drops of rain
I seek the warmth of new light
Beneath the endless sky

I am walking in the rain
In the sparkling drops of rain
Through the clouds I see a new light
A tunnel to the sky

The rain is clean
The rain is pure
I feel it wash away the world
I am new
I am pure
I found His light

I am dancing in the rain
In the sparkling drops of rain
I have found the warmth of His light
Descending from on high

His rain is clean
His rain is pure
I feel it wash away the world
I am new
I am pure
I found His light

I am new
I am pure
(I found his light)
I found His love

Sheet music available on my website

His Rain Quote

My African Dream

My African Dream CoverOn my mission to South Africa, I had many dreams about home. I mentioned this to a companion once, and he said since the beginning of his mission, he hadn’t once dreamed about home. This surprised me, because I hadn’t once dreamed about my mission or Africa – my dreams were always about home.

Later in my mission I dreamed a few dreams about my mission, but the vast majority took place at home.

There was one dream that recurred many times in my mission in different forms. I was home for a short time from my mission. I had little time, because for some reason I was about to go back. Knowing this, I told my family all the incredible things about Africa—about the culture, the people, the traditions, the art, the music—everything that fascinated me about this incredible land. In the dream, I’d be telling them as much as I could in the short time I had. Then I would wake from the dream and realize that I had indeed returned to Africa.

About halfway through my mission, I had a dream that I’d returned home. It was the end of my mission, and I was home for good. In my dream I came to a striking realization that my mission was over. No more teaching, no more tracting, no more missionary work. I also had another shock when I realized that Africa was gone forever. No more teaching the word of God by candlelight in a broken shanty. No more beautiful African people, with their easy laughs and contagious faith. No more rusty golden sunsets or palm-cactus forests. No more walks down dusty, poor, villages with distant voices singing in perfect harmony from some unknown house, with pulsing drums carried in the wind. No more African stars glowing like nebulae in the night sky. No more red sand. No more Africa.

In the dream, the realization of this loss hit me dramatically. I thought about the fact that there were no people in the world like Africans. No culture that was more unique and beautiful. I adored this people. Oh, how I loved them.

In the dream I told everyone at home about all the African ways and the incredible African people. I told them about the amazing children of God who had learned and accepted the gospel, about their commitment and love for the truth. In my dream, I suddenly felt terribly sad to have left Africa. I wanted to keep teaching these people. I wanted to go back. I wanted to be a missionary in Africa for as long as I could.

Because of these powerful feelings, waking up was a joyous relief. My mission wasn’t over. There wasn’t anything I wanted more at that time than to be a missionary in the Johannesburg South Africa Mission.

Of course I missed my family, but for now, that was all I wanted, and I decided I would make my remaining year the best possible mission I could.

And I did.

After writing the memoir of my mission, I wrote a piano piece called, My African Dream, to remind me of everything I loved about Africa, and the mixed emotions from the powerful dream of coming home and leaving it all behind.

Hieway to Kolob: New Age Music by Chas Hathaway

$.79 MP3 null

I absolutely love the tune to If You Could Hie to Kolob. When I came up with my piano solo arrangement, I was blown away by all of your kindness and support. To date, it’s my bestselling sheet music.

I got the idea to do another arrangement of the tune about a year ago, and have been working since to decide the best way to go about it. I’m sure the African influence on my music has nothing to do with the two years I spent in Africa (:

The words in the music are Swahili. You may recognize “Hakuna.” Disney inaccurately translated hakuna matata as “No worries.” But the real translation is “there is no problem,” which I guess is about the same thing. Anyway, “Hakuna Mwisho” means, “There is no end.”

So the translation of these words is basically

There is no end to matter

to spirit

There is no end to wisdom,

to light

There is no end to wisdom

There is no end to glory

There is no end to youth

There is no death above

The lyrics repeat sometimes and shuffle the order, but that’s basically it.

Sprinkler Run: Music by Chas Hathaway

Sprinkler Run

I needed some inspiration last summer for one of the cultural/percussion pieces I wanted to create, and the kids wanted to go out and run in the sprinklers, so I decided to build the piece around their adventure in the sprinklers. So I took my recording stuff outside and recorded the drums while they ran through the sprinklers. I even kept their playful squeals in and used them as percussion.

It’s not as jolly sounding as you would expect from a tune themed around kids playing happily in the yard, but it was a fun piece to make. What do you think?

 

 

Daily Improv: Day 1

Daily Improv: 16 Jan 2011

Okay, so my Christmas album release came and went, Christmas came and went, New Years came and went, and my busy self hasn’t done much with music since the album release – didn’t even blog. So, on a whim, I’m resolving to do one simple improv a day for a month. That means I’m going to sit down at the piano, start the recorder, and play something that’s hopefully never been played before. Then I’ll post the recording on my blog. On Sundays, I’ll do hymn/primary song arrangement improvs.

Anywho, here’s the first, it’s a simple improv arrangement of Beautiful Savior. Not to be confused with my published arrangement of the same song.