Hope you'll enjoy my arrangement of"Were You There?" with it's focus on the resurrection in the fourth verse, it's so meaningful, especially around Easter-time.
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.
Ella and I are having a blast... her first professional recording studio experience, at 4 years old! She recorded the sweetest Christian song: "When I have to choose" for Larry Beebe... and I can't wait to post it! So sweet! She also sang with me a little duet - "Feed the Birds" and we laid down a track to practice our Rainbow Medley, and will record that one really soon as well. It has been SO much fun to work on recording these sweet songs with my daughter. Her sweet little voice is just adorable. Here's the youtube video we did before, (which we did for Scott's Surgery Virtual Benefit concert) as a teaser of something MUCH better yet to come!
This is so exciting! This past week I was able to record the acappella versions of my Sparrow Songs arrangements in my pal Larry Beebe's studio! Here he is hard at work, editing/mastering and putting the final touches on each track! He's the best. Enjoy the playlist of solo arrangements. Their counterparts- the voice/piano arrangements are next! Hopefully really soon - once I'm fully vaccinated, we can begin recording those as well! YAY!
Happy New Year Everyone! I could not think of a more fitting New Year's text, than this poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Across Europe, there's quite the tradition of church bells tolling/bringing in the New Year.... Tennyson wrote an incredibly poignant poem on the subject. This text is more pertinent this year, than perhaps ever before.
We are so grateful for the continued love and prayers we have felt from all of our friends as little Scotty has been recovering. The GoFundMe has been updated, (not needing any further donations of course - as we have now received nearly $20K...we are so blessed and it's only up for informational purposes). We have been SO impressed with his recovery and are constantly counting our blessings. He is doing very well.
We are looking forward with light, hope and excitement to what 2021 has to offer, and are so grateful (truly) to what 2020 has taught us. Blessings to each of our dear friends and wonderful strangers who helped us on our path to where we are now. Thank you... this will conclude the virtual benefit (turned into gratitude) concert.
Please enjoy my arrangement based off of his words, and the Crawford Gate's hymn "Ring Out Wild Bells":
(Excerpt from: In Memoriam; Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
(view FULL poem, which is AWESOME and SO applicable to this year here: https://poets.org/poem/memoriam-ring-out-wild-bells
I was so blessed to be able to safely record in Highland Park Community House's gorgeous ballroom. It wasn't without it's challenges though, to have to be so far apart. The ballroom has a (wonderful!) acoustic, but with the reverb we found it difficult while recording this, to be at the same spritely tempo I really want this piece to clip at (when there is a lag, and across a large space like that- it's easy to react off of someone's reverb, instead of their actual sound.) ...So! Anyway, while it's not quite the tempo I would like for this arrangement-- it's still worth it to me to share, due to the amazing text and sentiment and the celebration of what's to come! :) I have thoroughly enjoyed working on these arrangements and can't wait until they are all "live" someday soon and compiled according to my hopes! Thank you Andrew Blendermann for being such an awesome pianist, as per usual!
I just love this sweet girl of mine! :) Merry Christmas everyone!
Scott's Virtual Gratitude Concert Continues with three songs reflecting about Mary:
1. Mary's Lullaby:
One of my most cherished memories was holding my baby boy last year, (2019) he was 6 weeks old, and singing this song to him as if he was the baby Jesus for a Christmas program at my church. What a special song and such an interesting perspective to ponder on what Mary must have been thinking while holding her baby.
2. Mary Did You Know?
Quia Respexit from Bach's Magnificat:
This text is taken from Luke 1: "For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: behold, for from this time, may I be called blessed."
What a week we have had! Our little Scotty continues to heal and do SO well from his skull surgery this past week. It's truly incredible. It is incredible to me that he needs nothing for pain much at this point, just 5 days post-operation. For now, the hardest thing for him is sleep disruptions due to the swelling in the head and being uncomfortable shifting in his sleep at night, and just needing to be held. The swelling will continue to subside over the coming weeks. As is first and most important when healing from anything, REST is so critical.
And so, continuing in our virtual gratitude concert, I found it appropriate to share this one at this point in his healing journey...and I hope it brings peace and restful sentiments to anyone else who may need it at this time for any other reason:
Text translation from Gabriel Faure's Requiem "Pie Jesu" is:
Merciful Jesus, Lord, grant them rest, grant them rest, eternal rest.
In case you're interested in the details about what it was all about
(sharing now only for informational purposes, as we have been more than helped, thank you!) Here is the original GoFundMe post: https://gf.me/u/y8ngq8
UPDATE December 20, 2020: We have now turned off the fundraising, as we have now raised over $19,000. It is just astounding to us the outpouring of love and support we feel.
Words cannot express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed or shared our GoFundMe, or shared videos or offered prayers, and good vibes (which mean just as much to us!!). Our dear friends, family, and perfect strangers have now met & surpassed our $10,000 goal for Scott's surgery.
Our virtual concert will continue as we try to come up with a way to give back our love and thanks. Tears are freely flowing. We are so grateful. You can view the entire/updated and most recent videos for this concert on this playlist here:
The virtual benefit concert for my baby Scott's skull surgery continues!
This time, starring his big sis. Here's our version of Count on Me, featuring guest artist, Ella Sparrow. If you feel inspired to share the gofundme, here is the link: https://gf.me/u/y8ngq8
I'm continually amazed at the kindness and generosity of our audience (aka friends, family, and wonderful strangers). Thank you so so much.
"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.