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Story behind the song
Life is about joy. So why do we tend to let life get in the way of joy? We’ve been through a great deal of ups and downs, drastic changes, and even tragedies this past year. Jon and his family, especially, have suffered at the hands of brutal uncertainty, impending hopelessness, and inexplicable loss.
Through it all, we have felt your prayers. You lended us hope, you freely expressed love, and you magnified your faith on our behalf. This not only sustained us, but also raised us up out of the abysmal stasis of stagnancy — our will to go on went on because of your willingness to send your selfless spirit our way. We know we’re not alone when it comes to feeling alone. Or depressed. Or hopeless. You have had these moments too. It’s something we all have in common, no matter who we are or where we’re from. You’ve felt like giving up. We did too. But mingled with this feeling was something we didn’t expect. And as we gave place for it, nurtured it, and expressed gratitude for it, we felt this feeling grow.
It was joy.
Joy in knowing we were not alone; joy in the strength that came from the prayers of people we hadn’t even met; joy in knowing that everything happens for a reason and that everything would be okay; and joy in knowing that one day, somehow every tear today would be returned a hundred times over with tears of happiness. We felt God’s love. And we felt it more intensely than we ever have. Just as the fire brings out the purest metal, so our struggles brought out the purest peace, hope, and assurance.
This is what Christmas is to us: the message that this peace, hope and joy is freely given to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
We offer this song as a musical manifestation of what we felt:
Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” together with Handel’s “Joy to the World.”
We hope the mutually supportive melodies, the ringing of the bells, and the transcendent singing from the angelic choir paint a proper picture of the way your faith and prayers lifted us — and how we felt blessed and helped in writing this and all the songs on our Christmas album. Thank you. God bless you. And Merry Christmas!
Ode to Joy to The World
A combination of the “Ode to Joy” melody from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Joy to the World)
Arrangement produced by Jon Schmidt & Chuck E. Myers “sea”
Arrangement written by Jon Schmidt, Al van Der Beek, Chuck E. Myers, & Steven Sharp Nelson
Jon Schmidt: Piano, synth
Steven Sharp Nelson: Cello
Al van der Beek: Guitar
Chuck E. Myers: Additional bells & percussion
Orchestral percussion – Kelly Wallis
Seretta Hart: Trumpet
Studio Choir: Annette Hatch Nichols, Logan Bradford, Melou Stewart Cline, Zach Dickison, Matt Robertson, Paula Fowler, Weston Eldridge, Melinda Kirigan Voss, Serena Olsen, Lydia Afualo, Esther Cabrera , Al Oquendo, Josh Peters, Yahosh Bonner
Featuring the “Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir” (conducted by Debra Bonner)
and The Wesley Bell Ringers (conducted by Terry Waite)
Additional vocals – Jon, Al, Jake Bowen, Chuck E. Myers
Handbell choir – The Wesley Bell Ringers www.wesleybells.org
Katie Lay, Director
Choir, Trumpet, percussion, bell choir, and keyboards recorded at: Big Idea Studios, Sandy, Utah by Jake Bowen
Piano & Cello recorded at TPG Studios, Utah by Al van der Beek
Mixed by Jake Bowen at Big Idea Studios
and Al van der Beek at TPG Studios
Big Idea Studios engineering intern – Jai Bresich
Mastered at TPG Studios, Utah by Al van der Beek