Occasionally, my church’s chancel choir sings an anthem by a woman I never previously heard of, but when they sing two anthems in less than a year, I need to take a look at the composer. Such is the case with Sally DeFord. In January, they sang “Miracles”, an impressively beautiful composition. And last week, they sang “To Those Who Came Before Me”. In looking for her online, I found her engaging website, www.defordmusic.com. She was born in 1959 in Eugene Oregon. Like me, she was inspired by a popular musical entertainer of the day: in her case, Lawrence Welk; in mine, Liberace. These may not sound like propitious inspirations, but in her case, it worked well. Along with Welk, she was also inspired by an accordion playing grandmother and a banjo playing grandfather. How can you go wrong with that?!! She attended Brigham Young University where she met her husband. While raising a young family, she began setting her lyrics to music. Today they have four grown children and are grandparents. She lives in Colorado where she is a prolific composer/arranger, especially for the LDS Church. Circumstances involving dilatory publishers and a helpful techie brother resulted in her website. She has graciously allowed her compositions and arrangements to be printed from her website or from freeldssheetmusic.org without payment for non-commercial use only. As you might expect, I took advantage of that and have tried out some arrangements to Christmas music already. For those so inclined, go to her website and find a composition that suits your tastes.
The lyrics to “Miracles” seem appropriate in light of the tragic earthquake in Italy, a place too far for me to personally reach. But tragedies will always be with the world, so this song rings true any time:
There are hands I cannot hold
Hearts I cannot comfort
Tears that only miracles can stay
So let me love and serve and teach
Those who come within my reach
For miracles begin that way