The Story of “Great Joy”

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”    Luke 2:10-11

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead…” So they went out quickly from the tomb with…great joy and ran to bring His disciples word.   Matthew 27:5-8

Almost as soon as By Request had been released in September 2010, family and friends began asking “When is your Christmas CD coming out?” Sarah immediately began thinking about this next project, but decided to delay a little while to allow time for preparation and financial stability.

36 Strings of Joy

By January 2011 Sarah knew which songs she would like to include on a Christmas album and was also in the process of doing some arranging of music. In April she started contacting other composers and arrangers asking permission to record their music. During the spring and summer, Sarah and her harp instructor, Hattie Hedrick, worked on Sarah’s arrangements of traditional Christmas carols; Sarah did most of the work and creative ideas while Hattie patiently helped with revising when the arrangements did not quite meet the musical rules. In October Sarah scheduled time at the recording studio and made ready to practice her music during a busy season of Christmas performances.

In mid-January 2012 Sarah returned to the Recording Farm and spent four days recording fifteen Christmas songs, six of them were her own arrangements. Mixing, mastering, and choosing the final order of the songs was more difficult on this project and took more time. “I’ll confess,” Sarah said laughingly, “I wasn’t really eager to listen to Christmas music in May. I absolutely love Christmas songs and the ones I recorded are some of my favorites, but it was hard to be in the “holiday spirit” when it was warm enough to go on a picnic or to the beach.”

The title Great Joy had been in Sarah’s mind since the project began. “I’ve always loved the Scripture verse where the angels tell the shepherds the news of great joy, that a Savior has been born. The opening song of the CD, “Angels We Have Heard on High”, is suppose to introduce this theme of joy and I really worked on the arrangement so it would have a feeling of wonderful excitement and worship.”

In October 2012 Sarah released Great Joy: Harp Music for the Christmas Season and it is now available for purchase. A video with samples of the music can be viewed here.

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