EFY Medley: The man behind its creation

Published: Friday, Jan. 4 2008 2:37 p.m. MST

  Being an EFY counselor is a popular summer job for many LDS college students,

but few of these individuals have influenced EFY as a whole as much as Michael

Hicks has.

    Hicks, a composer and

musician from Salt Lake City, had been an EFY counselor for a couple years and

completed his first CD of arrangements when the EFY administration asked him to

arrange a song for the young women at EFY to sing. After a couple revisions and

the perceived need for something for

the young men to sing as well, Hicks put

together what is now known as the EFY Medley.     

    “I had no idea that it

would be so big,” Hicks said. “I knew there would be some people who would be

interested in buying a CD of it, so I used my own money to print 500 CDs — they

were all sold before I could even get it done. People were really excited about

it.”

    Hicks was only 24 when

this medley exploded with popularity. Since then, nearly a third of a million

youth have learned and sung the song at EFY programs. Hicks had the opportunity

to be a counselor several times after EFY began using his song, and said the

experience was really incredible.

    “It was so

humbling and powerful all at the same time, to see 1500 youth at a time stand

and sing it,” Hicks said.

    Although this

particular medley is what Hicks is best known for, several other recognitions

have come his way. His compilation of Be Still My Soul, originally written for

BYU’s Vocal Point, received two Pearl Awards in the category Sacred Recorded

Song of the Year. Additionally, EFY representatives asked for a rendition of I

Know that My Redeemer Lives that has been included on several EFY CDs since.

    “I also wrote

this song as a counselor for EFY,” Hicks said. “When I got my schedule for that

summer, I had one session scheduled in Cedar City,

not the most exciting place around. That week was the same week my best friend

was getting married, and I probably could have given the session to someone

else, but I really felt that I had to be at that session. That was where I was

asked to arrange this song for a fireside and I know that it really has touched

a lot of lives.”

    Hicks has never

pursued being a label artist, but continues for the simple love of the music.

For him, it’s all about seeing people’s faces and hearing their response to the

music.

    “When I write or

arrange a song, I just try to be really perceptive to the sacred nature of the

hymn,” Hicks said. “I don’t try to be fancy or showy when I arrange because I

want to be true to the nature of the song. It’s not about me; it’s about the

music and conveying the appropriateness of the song.”

    Hicks grew up in

a musical family and started playing the piano and drums when he was seven.

Like most children, his mother had to encourage him to practice. However, once

he started playing music he liked, he said his mother had to beg him to stop.

Even today, he is involved with music in almost all aspects of his life as he

works for a music production company doing marketing and sales and pursues his

own musical interests on the side.

    Although Hicks

said his relationship with the EFY organization has helped him make more

connections within the music industry, he said he is most excited about the

motivation speaking opportunities that have come.

    “That’s kind of

why I wanted to do a CD in the first place,” Hicks said. “I love speaking,

especially to the youth, and sometimes when you have a CD, more people hear

about you and want you to come speak. So really the most important door that

has been opened, the door I’m most grateful for, is the speaking

opportunities.”

    More information

about Hicks can be found on his Web site michaelrhicks.com.

 

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