Thursday, 18 December 2008
I am now serving as the Ward Clerk in our stake Single Adult Ward. The bishopric has accepted an invitation to sing “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” as a trio for a ward social tomorrow night. I have been trying to help get things together for my good bishop. At first, I tried a simple a cappella TTBB arrangement and discovered just how unsimple it is for non-musicians to sing independent parts—it is challenging enough just to sing the melody.
The bishop had a successful experience performing in college, so his anticipation was that we would be able to come up with something a little showy without much challenge. The night before last, after trying out the four part arrangement with his counselors, he called me and said, “Brother Jackman, it may be time for a Plan B”.
The Activities Committee gave the bishopric the assignment because they love these marvelous priesthood leaders, and want them to be spotlighted. The fact that the assignment would cause the bishopric fear and trembling didn’t even enter their minds.
I don’t think that the ward needs “showy” at all. Most of the ward members won’t be able to tell whether the bishopric is singing in independent parts or lip synching. They just love the bishopric and would be delighted if they take part in some way.
Finally I got an idea. I pulled out an arrangement of Oh Little Town of Bethlehem for clarinet and alto saxophone duet which we had done years ago for two of my nieces who were in junior high school. The accompaniment is based on J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Sonata in C. It is simple, a little different, and above all it works harmonically with this carol from the hymn book. I brought it to the Relief Society room for a run-through. All three of the brethren sang the carol easily, right from the hymn book, two verses, in unison using the accompaniment from the duet.
BINGO! Problem solved. They are going to be great!