That Night, They Dreamed

Things move quick around here, kids. Gotta stay on your toes. Remember that poem from yesterday, “That Night” by an unknown author? I had a few hours at the piano today, and got to write a new tune for it.

Chad, I’m sure I’ve borrowed some from your original setting, but I’m not worried about being sued by you, because to do that you would have to find the original, and you swore up and down yesterday that you had no idea where it is. I’m gonna go ahead and call that legal immunity.

Here it is. Since the author is unknown, I felt free to take a few minor liberties with the words, and the title.

“That Night, They Dreamed”

The arrangement for Sunday is piano, vocals, and a string quartet. The interludes you hear are meant to be played by the quartet, and the cadenza solo section will be done by the violinist (Alex, you did get me good players, right?)

11 thoughts on “That Night, They Dreamed

  1. michael lee Post author

    I lowered it to a reasonable key in the actual arrangement. When I write I find interesting note connections, and then have a very difficult time switching gears to place it in a new key until I’m done with the whole thing. I think it means I’m not very “mathy” in my writing and arranging (a conversation Phil and I have had many times).

  2. michael lee Post author

    [quote comment="140392"]When did you become an actual singer??[/quote]

    Going through 4 years at APU without learning to sing would be like going through 4 years at MIT without learning any math.

  3. harmonic miner

    Beautiful, Mike, very moving, and complexly simple.

    The “pseudo-modal Jewish chant element” is just right. And you did it without a huge pile of augmented seconds! Even better. Does your church know how lucky they are to have you?

    I wish I could sing. Of course, I wish I could play. Piano, trumpet, soccer, basketball, I’d settle for almost anything.

    I hope you post a recording of the performance with the strings, etc.

  4. michael lee Post author

    Thank you, Phil. That means quite a bit to me.

    I think the church and I are lucky to have found each other – it’s a great, great fit. They offer me flexibility in schedule, and freedom in what I want to do creatively, and what I do creatively seems to consistently resonate with the congregation. I’m also deeply appreciative of our pastor Doug’s ability to see each of us on staff as whole people, with lives and outside responsibilities of varying complexity. I’ve found that to be rather rare, not just in church vocations, but in life.

    Gretchen and I have said (and I just said to Doug last week at my annual performance review) that we can’t conceive of ever leaving this position to go to another church. I can’t imagine a better fit between their needs and values, and my abilities and schedule.

  5. harmonic miner

    Ah, now from the sublime to the ridiculous.

    I led singing at our Christmas Eve service, a small group, about 50 or so, at most.

    I forgot to go over to the piano to accompany my son singing “A Strange Way to Save the World”. My wife, Karen, who had been accompanying singing, just looked at me until I remembered it was me, not her, who would do that. Duh.

    On my way to grab my recorder off the music stand to play an arrangement of “What Child is This?” that Karen and I cooked up, I got my feet tangled up in the cord for the remote control for the slide projector we’d been using for words to Christmas Carols. Double Duh.

    Yes, I said SLIDE PROJECTOR. Triple Duh.

    The words on the slides didn’t quite match up with the words in the hymnal I was reading from as I led singing. My friends in the congregation were wondering by now if they should acknowledge knowing the illiterate professor masquerading as a musician and worship leader. Quadruple Duh.

    Part way through the candlelighting, which was led by the pastor, during which various folk in the congregation were reading passages given them by the pastor, some bald fool with a gray beard turned off the lights from the back prematurely. The daughter of the Edison hating anarchist was reading at the time, and decided to move her candle closer to the reading material. I think only three or four chapters were burned in the excitement. REALLY Duh.

    The SLIDE PROJECTOR shut off prematurely (overheating? dunno) and I discovered I really don’t know the words to the second verse of Silent Night, despite having arranged it about sixty times. Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh

    A local tradition is to play the Handel Hallelujuah Chorus and sing along as the last item of the Christmas Eve service. It would be better, if you’re playing it out of iTunes, to put it in a playlist by itself….. otherwise the congregation may be treated to a little Pink Floyd before you can grab the mouse.

    Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh

    Ah, well. Despite the extreme humanity of one of the participants, Karen played beautifully, the congregation sang enthusiastically, my son sang from the heart and with his usual perfect ear, and I played recorder acceptably… with a trill, even.

    The Babe was cherished, we all hugged each other, and went home… sort of.

  6. Cerise

    Lovely, Michael. Really gorgeous job.

    Oh, Phil, aren’t services like that the worst? I swear it isn’t you but a convergence of bad fortune that has eluded service leaders for the entire year in order to dog-pile you. It isn’t you. It’s a churchy bad-capo-mojo karma pileup. It happens to everyone.

    Dudes, if Chad ever gets litigious we’re all in trouble, I think.

  7. harmonicminer

    Cerise, you mean, I got ALL THE WORSHIP LEADER bad karma all at once?!?

    Maybe I got off easy…. I know some of those folks… and some of them deserve a lot more than happened to me.

    Did I mention that the remote control cord for the SLIDE PROJECTOR got so tangled up in my feet and velcro shoes that my daughter had to help me untangle it, while the congregation was trying to decide whether or not they should be looking?

    The silly gadget didn’t work right for the rest of the evening.

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