Love Begets Love
A lifetime of love, like seeds in soil, sprouts and multiplies in the right conditions. When seeds of love sprout—love blooms. Love begets love. This explains how this precious song arrives here today.
The home for this song is a website our family created for Dan named CowboyDan.org. A brain-child of our family, it is, quite simply, an effort to make the world a better place through Acts of Kindness.
Dan’s birthday came round, the first since his death, and the public sharing of the song Sing Me to Heaven was our gift to him.
Sing Me to Heaven came to us many years ago through the Madrigal Groups led by Mr. Rick Woodbury at Ramona High School.
The choir gathered together via Zoom, who give the song voice in this moment, came together at the request of our daughter, Danielle, who tells the full story on the web page.
So in January of 2020, 4 months before Dan Neff would leave this world, I reached out to many of my former singing partners from high school, college, and beyond. I asked friends and acquaintances, will you lend me your voice? Will you help me honor and commemorate my dad through song? And I was blown away by their responses. So many men and women, living their own busy lives, some who knew the song and others who didn’t, willing to spend time, effort, energy, and talent to help heal my heart and benefit my family. http://cowboydan.org/birthday-tribute/
The lyrics seem to highlight the struggle to reach a lofty goal: “a piece that describes the way that we, as singers, feel about music in our lives.”.
Words feel vain and vacant….heart is mute. It is beautiful to witness the struggle in the words, knowing the high bar the lyricist and composer were striving to reach.
In my heart’s sequestered chambers
Lie truths stripped of poet’s gloss
Words alone are vain and vacant
And my heart is mute
In response to aching silence
Memory summons half-heard voices
And my soul finds primal eloquence
And wraps me in song
Wraps me, in song . . .
A Gift of Love for You
The phrase “Love begets love” invites action, therefore, I give you this song.
For over twenty years I’ve never known the lyrics, nor the story behind it. As songs will do, they morph to our needs. They speak in mysterious words to touch us in our tender place of need.
Songs can be a healing salve for the broken heart.
May this song be a gift to your heart today.
May it evoke and celebrate the love you share.
For those who are musically inclined, or just curious like me, here are some words from the composer and lyricist about the writing of this song.
Back story about the song
The idea for this song was conceived by a conductor who commissioned composer, Daniel Gawthrop. It was commissioned with a request:
Carol Hunter, a conductor with VOCE, described what she wanted as, “a piece that describes the way that we, as singers, feel about music in our lives.”
Daniel Gawthrop knew of no poetry that could meet Carol’s wish. His wife, a writer, asked if she could give it a try. Jane spent the day with the lyrics and when Daniel returned home from his day job, he describes writing the music in just over an hours time with only one change added just before publication.
There was something miraculous about what occurred next, because a piece of this length would typically have occupied my free time for a week or ten days of scribbling, backing up, rubbing out, and rewriting. Instead, I emerged an hour and a half later with a finished piece in which I would later change only one note, the final one, before publication.
Not once in my entire career has such a thing happened again, nor do I expect it to. I stress this because I don’t want to give anyone a false impression: composition is hard work, frequently an extremely laborious and meticulous process.
Sing Me to Heaven soon became a favorite.
In an age when a music publisher considers a choral octavo to be a “best seller” if its sales reach five thousand copies in a year, and when a best seller is considered remarkable if it maintains that level for more than two or three years running, sales of the print version of Sing Me to Heaven hit twenty thousand copies annually in its second year and remain at above ten thousand annually a quarter century later. –Daniel Gawthrop, Dunstan House, The Music of Daniel E. Gawthrop
The entire story and interview can be found at Daniel Gawthrop’s website : http://www.dunstanhouse.com/sing-me-to-heaven/sing-me-to-heaven-the-real-story/
Happy Birthday, Dan Neff!
I love you more than ever and I know you are smiling on us as we pass on the great love you gave to each of us.