With the advent of modern, music centric houses of worship that are popular these days there has been a tremendous surge in religious recording. It's always a pleasure to work with the fine musicians in this community.
I Wonder as I Wander and Breath of Heaven both come from a great series of CDs put out by the St. Henry District High School Chamber Choir directed by Eileen Bird. I have recorded all their CDs over the years and this one "Come Let Us Adore" was a standout because she was able to get some 'big guns' like David Haas and Paul Tate to collaborate on pieces and play in the studio. It was a great experience for the kids and the CD is a standout in their catalog.
I Wonder as I Wander is arranged in the style of Debussy and the Impressionistic style of that era and stemmed from a single little experiment Paul played by playing a funny chord on the last note of the first full phrase. I asked Paul about the impetus to write this one and he said after he played that one chord it just screamed 'impressionism' and it just flashed on him do a full on-impressionistic treatment of this song. The rest of the arrangement wrote itself he said, because the stylistic cues for impressionism are pretty well defined. Add some craft from your music school training and poof, genius!
Breath of Heaven is sung here by featured soloist Chelsea Gabbard who is as fine a singer as I've ever come across in this level of the industry. Straddling the line between young voice and mature voice she delivers a riveting performance on a song I've always had a curious fascination with. It's hard to come up with new takes on Christmas season songs but Amy Grant was able to do this by writing a song that delves into what kinds of inner uncertainties would Mary be dealing with leading up to the birth of Jesus. I think this song is brilliant, well sung and a great arrangement by Eileen, Bobby Fisher and the whole crew!
In addition to being a Christian recording this is also a live recording from a performance we recorded on digital multitrack tapes. Even though technically this is not a 'professional' band they played better and were more focused on what they were doing than most of the people I work with, a real dream project.