I hope you'll enjoy my solo acappella rendition of "He Never Said a Mumbalin' Word".
I find this song to be a profound reflection on Good Friday today, in preparation for Easter. Good Friday always reminds me of Judy.
I am dedicating this arrangement to the memory of Judy Cope. I would like to share the story of our connection to this piece, and how it brought us together in our shared belief in Jesus Christ. Her name is now engraved as a footnote on each piece of music, and also on the voice/piano version of this arrangement.
Judy was a powerful advocate for women in the arts. Judy was a light and a guide to many artists, in her previous role as the executive director of The Sorel Organization. She encouraged me to be an excellent mother and an excellent performer. She firmly believed women should not have to choose one or the other. It is because of her that I initiated the Sparrow Songs project and finally brought it into being around the time of Good Friday 2015.
Judy and I met at my Carnegie Hall Debut in 2014. She was in the audience, I believe to show support for the fabulous and lovely pianist Anna Shelest. I ended the first half of the program singing this arrangement, followed by crowd-pleaser "Girl in 14G". Then the finale of the concert featured my performance of the Bell Song. It was truly an unforgettable event for me.
At the conclusion of the performance, Judy sought me out, complimented my program, and requested a copy of my arrangement of "He Never Said a Mumbalin' Word". Sheepishly I admitted that my arrangements were just swimming around in my head. I had just been too busy to get them engraved - and I knew that God wanted me to do so, and as soon as I did it- she would be the first to know!
A few months later, because of my interaction with Judy, I engraved the first one of my acappella arrangements; "He Never Said a Mumbalin' Word" (the below arrangement) and sent it to her for her personal use. In our subsequent discourses back and forth, she shared with me how much this meant to her - in this screenshot of a past email below, I've circled & underlined the most relevant passages to her support of me, and also her connection to this piece:
She was extremely supportive of the Melodious Mamas "What are You Expecting?" Concert I produced in 2016 with 5 pregnant performers, when I was on the brink of Motherhood... our concert would not have been possible without the sponsorship by The Sorel Organization. She attended our concert and told me how fabulous it was, and how much she wanted to support future projects.
Our last interaction was in March of 2019. We had plans to meet to discuss some new ideas when I was in NYC competing in the Lotte Lenya competition. Unfortunately she felt ill and had to cancel our meeting. She passed away a few months later at 60 just years old, after her brave battle with brain cancer. Here is a link to her obituary. What a wonderful woman and her enthusiasm for my sacred solo songs was unmatched.
Rest in peace Judy! This one's for you.
"Becoming a mother changed me. I have more love, passion, and fulfillment in life; which in turn, enriches my artistry. Please join me in normalizing motherhood within the performing artist's culture."
- Rachel Sparrow
Rachel Sparrow is a professional singer, musician,(violin, piano, ukulele) actor, teacher, arranger, writer, and most importantly: a wife and a mommy of two littles. She loves to help parents make everyday life musical with their kids as well as share backstage stories, and performance experiences here. She earned her Master's degree in Voice Performance from Northwestern University, and also holds two Bachelor's degrees in Voice, and Music Education (certified to teach k-12 vocal & instrumental music) from Idaho State University. She is also a certified Music Together Director (music class for birth-5 yrs). See about Rachel.
"Think Outside Your Box" means 3 things:
1. Be Selfless - think beyond your own "box". (and for singers, there's more to life than your voice box!) You're capable of helping and healing others.
2. Feel Empowered to bust out of the proverbial
"box" made of societally-induced-parameters.
3. Be Bold. Innovate. Stretch yourself. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.