Posts Tagged ‘Inspirational Sheet Music’

On Lyric Changes For Your Church Services

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Recently a gentleman commented to our FB Solo Thoughts Group with a statement that we hear all too often.  In essence, he stated that when he would choose songs to sing in church and the lyrics in places were inappropriate for his service, he would simply rewrite those lyrics to fit.

Julia Wade, our Director of Digital Sheet Music, brought the comment to me for a “yet again” discussion that was now becoming far too repetitive.

She had written him back the following:

Thanks so much for your contributions to the conversations here in this group!

With respect to changing lyrics, you bring up a relatively constant issue that has come up again and again over the years. It was interesting to me that your comment came on the heels of an hour-long conversation with a soloist/music committee chairperson who called recently to discuss the changing of lyrics for a composer’s work represented on WFM.

That conversation, combined with your comment, showed me one more time that this issue is a timely issue. So, I asked my partner, Peter Link, who is a successful and experienced composer, to give a definitive statement on this subject.

Since this topic of changing lyrics is a new subject, Peter has posted his response to all concerned in a new conversation thread.

Here is his answer:

On Lyric Changes For Your Church Services

One does not even consider rewriting Shakespeare to fit their needs. No one would ever consider taking someone’s movie and adding their own scenes to it to make it “better.” I can’t imagine anyone buying a Picasso and bringing it home and adding their own brush strokes to the work to “improve” it. Would anyone ever rewrite the fourth chapter of a Hemingway novel to better the writing?

Perhaps one could get away with doing these things in private, but never in public.

These works of art belong to the artists who created them and are sacrosanct and inviolable to the original artist who created them whether or not the original artist is a master of his/her work or a beginner.  Their “intellectual property” is clearly protected by copywriter law.  So, consequently, changing someone’s lyrics or music to “better fit” one’s needs is not only illegal, but also immoral.  Simply put, their work is not yours to change, whatever your philosophy.

Rather, we would strongly suggest, if the song’s lyrics do not fit your message, go back to your research work and find another song that does.

If your neighbor’s new car is blue, yet you wish it were red, you may not repaint it to your satisfaction.  It belongs to them.  There is a principle here that really needs a deeper understanding by many, it seems.

In essence, “Thou shalt not steal.”

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Link

CEO & Creative Director

Watchfire Music

Nuff said.


“Is Anybody Listening – Concert and Webcast” Premier

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

 Webcast World Premier

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Private Showing

Here’s a word or two (or 10) from those who listened to one of  the performances in NYC last fall.

“Your performance on Thursday night was extraordinary in every way.  Anita and I both concurred that, even for both of us who’ve experienced the consistent level of your artistry for so many years, IS ANYBODY LISTENING? was such an intense, emotional and inspirational evening.” ~Brent Nicholson Earle, New York City

“Peter, as I said to you as we were leaving, you have the unique song-writing skills to create powerhouse show stopping production numbers (like “Tear Down The House”) … poignant ballads (like “A Sill Small Voice”… which Julia sang lights-out!!!) … and give unique arrangements to old familiar tunes like “The Times They Are A’Changin’.” ~Bob Donnelly, Entertainment Attorney, NYC

“Julia, you were amazing last night. WOW! I had tears running down my cheeks with your last 2 songs. The contrast between the emotions you evoke juxtaposed with those evoked by Jenny was … words to describe are failing me at the moment — a whole new revelation! Thank you. Peter, accolades for all you created with your music.” ~ Dr. Barbara Keller, Merritt Island, FL

“You are a true artist, Jenny — a voice that is a gift from the Gods. You personalize every moment and make us take that spiritual journey with you. Thank you for allowing me to experience such work. Peter Link is a musical genius!” ~Charles Turner, New York City

Saturday, April 15, 2017 – 4:00 PM

First Church of Christ, Scientist, San Rafael, CA

Saturday, April 15, 2017 – 6:00 PM

First Church of Christ, Scientist, McAllen, TX




IAL Funder Letter #1

Saturday, March 26th, 2016



Dear Friend,

We’re close.  We’re almost there.

I am writing to bring you news of the progress and great growth of our exciting project.

As you probably already know, our company, Watchfire Music, along with the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in New York City, is now producing a new project called

“Is Anybody Listening? – Concert Theater and Webcast”

It is an evening of inspirational music designed to bring awareness and healing to many of the world issues we all face.

The pilot production, performed by some of NYC’s top talent, opens this July at the Sheen Center in Manhattan and runs through the summer. The show is designed as a live concert piece that will also be filmed for use in shorter segments and webcast all summer to a world-wide audience.

Here is a further insight into the project.

In my over 40 years working as a composer, music producer and stage director in the entertainment business I can’t remember being so excited as I am now.

What is the evening all about?

It’s about the Scarcity of Water, the Dilemmas of Racism, the Dignity of Women, the Struggles with Aging … and it’s about Love – and its potential to heal these problems and more.  And it’s all communicated through the power of music and song.

It’s a new and groundbreaking idea.  It melds the power of Internet technology with live theater and music in a way that’s really never been done before.  So this summer we’ll be developing this idea in a pilot production and webcasting it to the world with the confidence that “Seeing is believing.

We’re writing to you as potential “early believers.” Our RocketHub funding campaign brought us to this point and provided monies for casting, staffing, music preparation and start up costs. We’re now poised, cast and ready to go into rehearsal after five years of careful experimentation and preparation.  Now, we turn to you — our friends, families and followers — for your financial support.  As an “early believer,” you will give light to this project.”

Want to learn more?

Follow these links:

Donor Levels

Visit the web page:

Listen and Watch:

Imagine Your Own Customized Concert Webcasts

Donate Now:

Thank you for joining us and being part of this inspiring journey!

With love and appreciation to each of you,

Peter Link

Casting In New York

Thursday, March 24th, 2016


For over thirty years I taught the Auditioning course at The Neighborhood Playhouse School Of The Theater here in NYC. At last count I have sat through over 20,000 auditions during my lifetime in show biz. That’s a lot of awkward moments and a few incredible ones.

Auditioning is an art of its own and very few people ever really get it down. First of all it comes replete with nerves. Normally when an entertainer finishes their moment it is met with applause. That’s the culture. But in an audition, when one is finished, it is only natural to be met with a number of critical eyes and at best, silence.

Even the very talented are very fortunate to be “accepted” one out of ten tries. Failure to get the job is the norm for even the best of talents. It’s a tough world.Casting Call 2

Sitting on the other side of the table, as I have done so for over 40 years, has been exciting, tough, boring, awkward and sometimes even painful, and I could regale you for hours with story after story of fascinating moments of human failure and success.

As much as I’ve done it, it never ceases to stimulate the old juices in me to yet again go down that road. Last week was no exception.

On Thursday I saw over 40 singers audition for 4 roles in Is Anybody Listening – Concert Theater and Webcast at the Sheen Center rehearsal rooms in NYC. This was not an open call where anybody could come in if they were patient enough to wait in line all day, but rather a call through a casting director who scheduled top talent through their New York agents..

Still, each singer had only 5-minutes time allotted them to come in, do their thing and knock us out.

Once again I was amazed at the energy of these special creatures – the Broadway kids, the recording artists, the studio singers, the church singers. They sang their 32 bars of an up tempo tune and (in some cases) another 32 bars of a ballad and we had a few words and then they were gone – back out into the streets, and on with their lives.

We called back the cream of the crop, about 15 of them, the following day and spent about 15 minutes with each working with them and finding out more about their vocal instrument, their acting ability within a song, their true sense of pitch, their innate sense of rhythm, their stage personalities, their charisma, their dedication, their ability to handle the curve ball, their ability to take direction, their vocal range, and probably most important, their ability to focus under fire and their grace at being a joy to work with.

audition-1024x768-300x225A lot to gather in 15 minutes, but hey, I’ve been doing this for 40 years, so repetition teaches one to watch for certain things very carefully in order to make the right judgment in the end.

My overall rule is this: The audition is a microcosm of the entire experience you will have with the talent. So if they’re 10 minutes late to the audition, you’ll end up firing them in rehearsal for being late all the time. If they’re a little bit pitchy in the audition, you’ll end up firing them at some point for singing off key. If they treat the pianist improperly because they’re nervous, they’ll make enemies in the cast. And if their nerves affect them a lot in the audition, then how good will they really be opening night when everything really counts in front of the NY critics?

Another thing I often do during callbacks is to, in some way in the course of the experience, throw them a curve. They say in baseball, “You’ll never make it to the majors if you can’t hit the curve ball.” The same holds true for show biz. Everyone is always trying to be on his or her best behavior in an audition. It’s only natural to want to put your best foot forward. But I want to find out how you’re going to act three weeks into rehearsal when everyone’s struggling to learn the lyrics, remember the choreography, sing the right part and absorb the daily changes constantly thrown at them.

So I throw a few curveballs – just to see how they might handle the unexpected.

In the end, after the last note has been sung and the holding room has cleared, we, the staff, sit around the table, spread their pictures out on the table before us and talk each person down with all our thoughts about how good they were, how graceful they were, and essentially if they were the right type for our show. There’s always someone who just knocks our socks off, but just doesn’t fit the type. These, for me, are the toughest to turn down because, well … I just love talent! When that person can really bring it, I don’t have to even think. The chills that run up and down my spine when they’re singing tell the tale. So after they do so well and prove themselves so solidly, it’s really tough to turn them down just because they might not “look” the part.

On those two days of casting, seeing 60-100 performances, we were very fortunate to have at least 20 chill moments. NYC is always full of exceptional talent. The streets just ooze with it. And I must say that those two days were better than a Broadway show! The talent is just amazing.


Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin & Oscar Hammerstein Casting

In the end we hired two. We’re still considering one of the others but waiting to decide based on a whole slew of things.

But the two we hired brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. The tears were tears of joy at the talent that poured from them. And I just keep thinking, “Wow! I get to work with them! I get to have them in my show.”

Now if we can just raise the rest of the money …

But that’s another story.

Is Anybody Listening? — A Few Thoughts #6

Thursday, December 10th, 2015


Dear Friend,


Not difficult.

That’s right. The funding of this project should not be difficult.  The last thing in the world we’d want to do is strap anyone financially, but give this some thought:

We have a reach of about 50,000 people out there who communicate with us, follow us on some level or another and know about our work on various levels.

Of that 50,000 people, we count around 10,000 of them to be what’s now called “True Fans.”  In Internet jargon a true fan is “a term that describes a person’s loyalty to a team, individual, or product.”  Think: someone who consistently purchases our products, who writes in and praises or thanks us for our work, who promotes us on their own to their friends and family and who generally believe in what we are doing.

If each of these true fans gave $3, we’d meet our goal.  However, we have found through previous campaigns that most people are embarrassed to give a dollar or 3 or 5 or even 10.  So they don’t give at all.  Teenagers will give a dollar or $5, but more mature adults won’t. So we set the lowest funding possibility at $15.

If 2000 of these 10,000 true fans each gave $15, we’d meet goal.

If 1000 of these 10,000 true fans each gave $30, we’d meet goal.

If 500 of these 10,000 true fans each gave $60, we’d meet goal.

If 250 of these 10,000 true fans each gave $120, we’d meet goal.

The latter two seem to us to be the area of concentration.  And it’s why we write to you. Yes, to be one of those 250 or 500, but perhaps more importantly to identify someone or a few people in your life who might do the same and then turn them on to the project.

This all comes under the term “networking.”  Think of it as simply telling your friends of a good thing – something that can enrich their lives.

This is the kind of support we need.  We ask you to consider it.

Here’s the link: “Is Anybody Listening?”

Thanks for listening,


THANK YOU to those who have already funded our project.
We kept you on this list so that you can follow and/or spread the word.

God Is Your Rock

Monday, November 30th, 2015
Ragan Courtney Back Then

Ragan Courtney Back Then

“God Is Your Rock” is a make over of a song that began decades ago from the pen of lyricist Ragan Courtney. Ragan was my best friend at the time and we roomed together in Greenwich Village and lived our hippie lives.

Ragan was also an aspiring NYC actor at the time and we had met studying acting at NYC’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater where we studied with Sanford Meisner, one of the fathers of American Method acting.

The song, lyrics by Ragan and music by yours truly, was entitled “I’ve Tried Hard” and referenced the Biblical lines about foxes having holes and birds having a nest, but Jesus (as a baby) having no place to lay his head. It was catchy and fun, but strangely a downer because ultimately it said,

I’ve tried hard
I’ve done my best
But now there’s nowhere to go except the road

And that’s just what Ragan did. Eventually, he left NYC and went back home. However, here’s where the story takes an unexpected turn. He became a huge star both as a lyricist/playwright, actor and inspirational leader in the Christian Music world. There he married one of the top singing stars of that world, Cynthia Clawson, and the two of them had wondrous careers and even had their own very popular church for a decade or so in Houston, Texas where Cynthia sang and Ragan preached.

Ragan Preachin' / Cynthia Clawson at Piano

Ragan Preachin’ / Cynthia Clawson at Piano

I was always proud of my pal, Rags.

When Julia and I moved a little over a year ago out of NYC to the country (after 40 years living two blocks from Times Square any place with trees is the country) I reorganized all my past files and notebooks of decades of writing into new and better files. I found myself sitting in my basement for a week every day going through my life as a songwriter and looking through hundreds of songs. With most of them I could remember parts and pieces – the ones that never got recorded, but a few I could not remember at all.

Then I came across “I’ve Tried Hard.” As I read through the lyrics, the entire song came back to me as if it had been written yesterday. I thought to myself, “Hmm, this one’s really sticky. I could really do something with this.”

So I started fiddling with the lyric and one day I just decided to turn it positive and out popped the God is your rock concept. So I finished the new lyric, using much of what Ragan had written before, and called him to see if he might approve.

He did and “God Is Your Rock” was born again.

Jenny Burton

Jenny Burton

It did seem the perfect song for Jenny Burton. You might call it a Gospel flavored rock-a-billy song and I knew she could eat it up. I needed a song for Julia’s Duets album that both she and Jenny could sing together. Julia, being a classical crossover artist would not have been my first choice to sing this funky little song with Jenny. But the idea kept coming up.

Julia Wade

Julia Wade

For a period of time Julia grew up in Georgia, so she had a sense of southern funk to her. On top of it all, Julia’s an actress and is great at morphing into characters when she performs. So we went to work on it. I’ll have to admit that she really surprised me. I think she did herself proud on this song and further expanded her amazing range of styles.

Jenny was a big help as well leading the way stylistically. For her it was a natural and she brings both a spiritual commitment and also a fresh sense of humor to the song.

When you get a chance to see and hear our theatrical concert and webcast, “Is Anybody Listening?” you’ll see the song performed by the two songbirds. It’s truly a fun moment in the show and raises the roof a few inches.

God Is Your Rock

Music by Peter Link

Lyrics by Peter Link and Ragan Courtney


Foxes have holes

Birds got a nest

But Jesus had no place to lay his head

And now I know

Just how he felt


Mountains are high

Oceans are wet

Well I’m about as low as I can get

And I know

I’m all by myself


I’ve tried hard

I’ve done my best


But maybe your best just ain’t good enough

Without the Lord in your life


Girl it’s a long hard road


Yes it is!


When you’re goin’ it alone


It’s so lonely



So why not make it a little easier


Uh huh …


Uh with the Lord by your side

He’ll carry you all the way home


Remember God is your rock

God is your rock

And his faith in you is solid as stone



You mean he’d carry me

All the way home?


That’s right!


There by my side?


Yes sir!


Bearin’ all my burdens like a long lost friend …

Well I don’t know girl

I think I been gone too long



But Julia

God don’t hold

No bad blood

Forgiveness is the essence of His humble heart

God is your rock

An’ He don’t let ya’ down



I’ll try hard

I’ll do my level best

To open my mind back to letting him

Come in and be in my life



And when the road gets long

He’ll always be your song

Step by step settin’ your mind at ease

With all the rhythms of His soul

They’ll carry you all the way home


Remember God is your rock


God is my rock


And His faith (in you) is solid as stone


So people take heed

We got what we need

God is always with us when the trouble comes

God is your rock

Mighty in His power


Foxes have holes

Birds got a nest

An’ now ya’ know the truth about what God knows best

That God is your rock

And God IS your home


[Ad lib Section]


God is your rock!

A Company In Evolution

Monday, July 15th, 2013

WFM-LogoChanging times …

We’re finally seeing the evolution of Watchfire Music along with Watchfire New Media to a much broader base.  First, a mere eight years ago, we were an Inspirational record company and on-line store selling just recorded music.  Then, six years ago, as the recording industry began to fail and recorded music began to be available across the boards as free music, we opened our Digital Sheet Music division under the watchful eye and determination of our president, Julia Wade.

This enabled us to stay alive through the early start-up years and actually moved us to a break-even company and out of the start-up realm in the next three years as we signed over a hundred new Inspirational composers.  We also purchased Solo Thoughts, a powerful resource for church soloists and musicians, and greatly improved its reach and user-ability.

In the last two years WFM has continued to grow steadily as more and more trusting and loyal customers found our Inspirational music products and purchased them on line.

In that time too, we created other popular services with which to share our music – WFM Radio, WFM on SoundCloud, the WFM Inspirational Music Library for Film, Television and Advertising, Watchfire Music’s popular series of Listening Room concerts here in NYC, a Video Library featuring not only our own artists, but also, The Best Of The Web, and The WFM Learning Lab – a most successful series of music classes taught both here in NYC but also on-line and on SKYPE.

Last January many of you spoke.  We saw a need and went to work fulfilling that need creating Watchfire New Media – a new division of WFM helping individuals, artists, start-ups, entrepreneurs, churches, Inspirational leaders and small businesses develop their public identities and achieve their Internet marketing goals.

This need turns out to be even greater than anticipated and so we are working harder than ever, hiring new staffing, moving our entire site of over 3000 pages selling over 11,000 individual items to now an independent server and literally working with a terrific staff of people in virtual offices around the world.  Just this last week WNM received the Caron “Unsung Heroes Award” for our work on the Sober St. Patrick’s Day® event this past year in NYC and internationally.

We even have a new presence on a weekly Inspirational radio program in Australia.  In the spring of 2014 we are planning a Concert Tour of Africa, Europe and hopefully South America for best-selling artist, Julia Wade.

We celebrate all this in the month of June with the release of Julia’s new CD, Deep Waters, an Inspirational Suite for orchestra and voice.  This album comes complete with a free downloadable Digi-Book and accompanying digital sheet music of all the songs (optional).

Are we exhausted from all this?  No, actually we’re most stimulated and often feel like we’re just gettin’ started.  It’s a dream realized – realized because you, our customers and friends hung in there with us, saw us through some lean times, and supported the idea of Inspirational music.

We are so grateful – boy are we ever!  It’s clear to us that Watchfire Music is simply a right idea.


Deep Waters – Part 5

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Sunset-Sailing-1024x768The original idea of Deep Waters was to do the surrounding instrumental orchestrations with full orchestra and then keep the songs very simple so as to illuminate the lyric and the magical voice of Julia Wade.  Keeping the accompaniment of the songs to the minimum of a piano, a piano with simple synth or string pad, or Fender Rhodes keyboard would be a real help to soloists around the world who might be interested in singing some of the songs as well.

But as I worked with Julia and developed two of the songs it became apparent to me that the two particular songs wanted further orchestration.  The sum total of our choices did enhance the entire project, still keeping the songs simple in their approach, but making all movements more of a total piece.

We also decided to tie everything together – instrumental cross-fading into song and song cross-fading back into next instrumental to make the Suite a more unified whole.

Now one can sit down and listen to the entire CD as one continuous piece of music.  We will, however, program song markers into the CD so that one might be able to easily find and play just one song or another if they so desire.

The instrumental sections, for me, were especially fun for me to work with the orchestra and realize the ideas in my head and soul and finally hear them played so beautifully.  The string section was rich even beyond my imagination and many of the passages, to this day, fill my brain with delight and awe at the sound of these amazing instruments and players.

Strings – violins, violas, cellos and double basses – are the most wondrous instruments and have the sonic ability to go to extraordinary places in sound and emotion.  I think I could spend a lifetime writing for them and never get bored or repeat myself.

Though I think of the last movement as an instrumental, it really is a coming together of all involved including Julia’s beautiful and haunting peaceful farewell and epilogue as we go sailing off into the sunset.  Smooth Sailing a simple and quiet dénouement of peaceful satisfaction that captures, for me, the quietude I feel when life is so good, I am closest to being the essence of who I am, and closest to God.

We have two or three other of these Suites in the planning as I write and hope to bring them to you over the next two years.  It’s a form that I have quite enjoyed and works very well, at this point, for both Julia and me.

We’re also developing them as performance pieces with video enhancements to present both with live orchestra and/or tracks.  The visuals will be created by our new video designers and cinematographers here at Watchfire Music and Julia will be presenting the first of these, Deep Waters, hopefully starting in the fall of 2013 as she begins her international tour that we are presently booking – the U.S., Africa, Europe and South America.

If you’re interested in bringing Julia’s concert attraction to your city, please get in touch with us at: or contact us through the Coments on this Blog site.

In the meantime, we wish you smooth sailing.smooth-sailing

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