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My Arrangement of How Great Thou Art

I just finished an arrangement of "How Great Thou Art," also called "Then Sings My Soul." I’ve arranged several hymns for people before, but this one has a cool story. (Read below)




INSTRUMENTAL​
PIANO SOLO (Original & Intermediate)​
SATB CHORAL​
  • SHEET MUSIC: SATB ​​

  • ACCOMPANIMENT TRACKS: SATB

VOCAL DUET​
VOCAL SOLO​



With my fiction writing obsession, my music has taken a back seat lately. Which is fine. I love music and writing, and I’ll do whichever I’m in the mood for, because if I force either one, it never turns out great.


Cool thing #1

About a month ago, I was in a musical mood and sat down at my piano and started goofing around. Before I knew it, I was plunking out a piano arrangement of “How Great Thou Art.” Not sure why that hymn since it’s never been on my top-ten favorites list, but okay. I grabbed my manuscript paper and scribbled (literally) all over it. My musical handwriting is worse than my regular handwriting, which is scary enough. But the music was coming faster than I could write. I haven’t written a song that fast in a LONG time.


Cool thing #2 came a week later


A man in my congregation was asked to sing a solo at the Detroit Mission Home Fireside. He approached me to see if I would accompany him. I said yes and asked him what he wanted to sing. He said, “I’d love to sing How Great Thou Art, but I don’t want to sing it straight out of the hymnbook. I want to do some kind of an arrangement. Do you know of any?”

Now, at times like this my personality begs me to clam up and say nothing. I HATE my personality. But I went for bold, jumped uncharacteristically out of my comfort zone.

“Actually . . . I’m working on an arrangement right now. It’s mostly finished but it’s for a piano solo. But, it wouldn’t be too hard to switch it over to a vocal solo. What do you think?”

He was nice enough to trust me, so we gave it a try. Not sure how he got through that first rehearsal. I was scribbling and scratching things out as he sang. But he put up with me. He even tolerated the funky timing I added.


Cool thing #3

The song went great at the fireside — Thank you, Scott! I even had someone I don’t know ask for the arrangement afterward, which is the nicest compliment anyone can give. When I told her it was my arrangement she wasn’t completely shocked — another compliment. However, I only had one copy, and it had more scribbles on it. I handed it over anyway, hoping I would remember my last minutes tweaks. I rushed home, made the changes, and had the thought — I should publish it. Might as well, right? It was finished and a whole two people liked it. I’ve had less motivation before. 🙂


Then came the hard part. Most hymns are so old the copyrights have expired. You can arrange to your heart’s desire and not worry about anything. “How Great Thou Art” is not one of them. In fact, you can’t even copy it out of the hymnbook without permission. That’s okay. I’ve been working with publishers and copyrights for eight years now, so I decided to take the plunge.


Cool thing #4

I did some research, wrote about 10 emails, and now it’s approved for publication. Yay! So that’s the long story for my short announcement. My arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” is available.


Funny how life works.

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