Posts Tagged ‘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.


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

Deep Waters – Part 4

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

LIGHTHOUSE---SMOOTH-SAILINGThe third song of this trilogy, A Still Small Voice, is from First Kings in the Bible.  I wrote the song many years ago for an Off-Broadway musical that I wrote and directed called The River that played both in New York City and at the Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors Summer Festival in the early 1980s.  It was a show-stopping ballad that referenced the much loved Bible verses, “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

The song was sung by two wondrous African-American vocalists (one at Lincoln Center/the other in the Off-Broadway production) — both who added gorgeous embellishments to the melody in their inimitable Gospel style.

Though I loved what they each brought to the song, I always felt that the song could stand on its own and needed to have that chance in its life.

So it was an easy call to dig it out, dust it off and hand it over to Ms Wade to perform on this new CD, Deep Waters. 

It’s a song about listening … listening for the voice of God whispering through the silence.  It’s a song about stillness and the inner voice that comes to us with messages of truth – if we can just quiet down the ego, or mortal mind, enough to listen through the silence.

We recorded the song just last week.  Julia brought all that I knew she would to the song and more.  The session was so delicate, so quiet, that I was most grateful for our super quiet vocal booth we have here in our studio in NYC.  No noises from the outside, no subway rumbles, no sirens, no air conditioner noise – just the silence of a quiet mind.

Singing pianissimo is not an easy endeavor.  It requires great energy.  One wouldn’t think that, but it is oh so true.  Perhaps it requires even more focused energy than a soaring ballad.  It requires a perfect kind of control that few singers have at that amplitude level.  It took us four hours to record the song to get the close-mic techniques practiced and mastered.  We had to work to even diminish the natural mouth noise of opening and shutting the lips to keep the recording clean and free from any sound that would get in the way of the message and the performance.

This was all accomplished in a masterly fashion by Julia who added, on top of it all, a beautiful and inspired performance of the song itself.  The song now lives, once again, but in its original intention and original simplicity of melody. (more…)

Deep Waters – Part 3

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

B&W-WOMAN-FLOATINGOut Of The Depths, the second song of the Deep Waters trilogy, is drawn from Psalm 130.  I’ve always known that I would write this song one day, but I also knew that I should wait – wait until I was older and hopefully wiser – perhaps lived more.  To a certain sense I do believe that if one is going to write about the depths of anything, it’s probably wise to have experienced them.

I’ve had a pretty smooth ride through life.  Little war, little tragedy, no poverty, health.  So when it came to speaking about my depths I finally realized that our depths are pretty relative.  I’ve felt the pain of lost love, I lost over a hundred friends during the decades of the AIDS epidemic, and I’ve been healed of some relatively scary problems in the course of my life.  So the operative word here is probably “relative”.  Your depths may be deeper than mine, but my depths have been deep enough to experience them and understand their meaning in my life.

As a writer I like movement in my work.  I desire to move the listener from A to B to C during the course of the song – not just state a principle, but tell the story of how one moves from Point A to Point B and so on.  I like the drama of a testimony.  I like the story of the struggle and believe that it makes the inspirational revelation that much more powerful if we understand the struggle.  I want to experience the process of healing – not just the celebration.

Perhaps this all comes from my years working in the Broadway theater and learning the principles and powers of drama.  I like to take you on a ride and I deeply believe in struggle, light, climax and satisfaction.

So diving into Psalm 130 was not taken lightly by either me or Julia Wade, the vocalist on the song.  We knew it had to be an in-depth experience to portray the powers and drama of this rich Psalm of David’s.

This particular Psalm is called “A Song of Ascents.”  Though I knew what “ascent” meant, I looked it up anyway and the definition nailed the song for me.  “Ascent: a movement upward, a rising, ascension”

Out Of The Depths isn’t just a lament, but must be, of nature, and must express the rising out of these depths. (more…)

Thoughts On “Today”

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

“Thoughts On ‘Today’” is the last of a 12 part series of posts reflecting on the songs of Julia Wade’s CD, Solos, with lyrics from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and Music by Peter Link.

The most important books I’ve read over the last couple of decades besides the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy are, without a doubt, The Power of Now and The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.  In his The Power of Now, Mr. Tolle sets forth reasoning on living in the nowness of life in such a compelling manner that it changed my life, changed the way I thought and acted, and along the way changed the way I look at life.  I can easily say that it brought to me a way of living that made me a much happier man and one who is much freer of two dramatic issues that haunt human beings daily – regret and fear.

Basically, I learned and understood that regret is living moment to moment in the past and that fear is living moment to moment in the future and that both are totally wrong choices and complete mistakes.  I had a preface to this understanding through the reading and study of Science and Health.   Mrs. Eddy talks about living in the now and deals with it several places in her book.  What took me over the top in my thinking in The Power of Now is that Tolle dedicates his entire book to the concept.

Mrs. Eddy, however, begins her book with these words that set forth the speculation that living totally in the now of life is the only way to practice life when she writes,

“To those leaning
on the sustaining infinite,
today is big with blessings.”

Though she does not use the word “now” she clearly means it.  This short statement of truth is packed with portent and has been a mantra for me for six decades.  The understanding of the truths contained therein has righted many a day for me that got off the track.

Lean on the infinite and you will be blessed.  Right now. Get out of the past and keep your thought out of the future and the blessings will flow.

So when I began this great adventure of writing songs from Mrs. Eddy’s iconic prose statements, it seemed only natural to start at the beginning with one that had played such an important part of my life. (more…)

Thoughts On “Footsteps of Truth”

Friday, May 11th, 2012

“Thoughts On ‘Footsteps of Truth’” is one of a 12 part series of posts reflecting on the songs of Julia Wade’s CD, Solos, with lyrics from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and Music by Peter Link.

We walk in the footsteps of Truth and Love
by following the example of our Master
in the understanding
of divine metaphysics.

To me, this song is about following – following the example of our Master.  The sixth and last tenet of Christian Science states, “And we solemnly promise to watch and pray for that mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus …” Most Christian Scientists use this tenet as a daily prayer.

It’s quite a statement, quite a promise.  I’ll have to admit that I’ve broken this solemn promise far too many times.  If ya’ think about it, it’s a lot to live up to.  It’s a promise to follow in his footsteps, to follow his example.

On the surface, this song often strikes me as the simplest lyric of the 12 songs, but upon further consideration, it may be the strongest statement of commitment.

We first acknowledge that certain truths are absolute.  Then we do all we can to move in the direction of those truths.

Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love
be it song, sermon, or Science

blesses the human family
with crumbs of comfort
from Christ’s table,
feeding the hungry
and giving living waters
giving living waters
to the thirsty.

Two wondrous metaphors used throughout the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy are “light” and “water”.  Both represent inspiration passing from God to mankind.  In a previous post entitled, “Thoughts On Divine Love” I found myself using the water image endlessly pouring forth from the fountain to describe God’s Love filling our souls.

Here Mrs. Eddy illuminates the act of inspiration with the giving of living waters to the thirsty.  It is Julia’s and my great hope that these songs will, on some levels, fulfill Mrs. Eddy’s proclamation of “… be it song, sermon, or Scienceblesses the human family …

Going forth, after we have committed daily to following in the Master’s footsteps, we must stay to the course.

One’s aim,
a point beyond faith,
should be to find
the footsteps of Truth,
the way to health and holiness.

And what rewards!  Health and holiness.  Perhaps the two most important necessities of the human experience.  Why else are we here, but to demonstrate these two concepts?  All other good must follow these two ideas. (more…)

Thoughts On “Divine Love”

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

“Thoughts On ‘Divine Love’” is one of a 12 part series of posts reflecting on the songs of Julia Wade’s CD, Solos, with lyrics from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and Music by Peter Link.

Here is a song that was as natural to write as the act of breathing.  It starts at the end really.  The final words of the song were the first words I chose.

The vital part,
the heart and soul of Christian Science,
is Love.

Mary Baker Eddy probably uses this word as a synonym for God in her writings more than any other concept.  And who’s to argue with that?

Love is the liberator.
No power can withstand divine Love.

Say it again …

Love is the liberator.
No power can withstand divine Love.

In my life this is an absolute.  Feeling stressful?  Love more?  Have relationship problems?  Love more.  Struggling with disease or injury?  Love more.  Broke?  Love more.

When in doubt, love more.

Wait patiently
for divine Love to move
to move upon the waters
of mortal mind,
and form the perfect concept.

You’re not waiting for God to get to work, you know.  What we wait for is for our own consciousness to fill with love.  God is instant.  Love is instant.  It is mortal mind or ego that we wait for.  The process sometimes takes time because it is consciousness that needs to change, not God, not Love.

Love inspires,
illumines, designates,
and leads the way.

It is Love that leads the way, illuminating the roads we travel with God’s light so that we may see the errors of our ways and eradicate those mistakes.  It is Love that inspires us to get to work, to heal, to forgive, to a change of base in consciousness so that healing may take its natural, not miraculous, course.

God is Love.
Can we ask Him to be more? (more…)

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