Two years ago, an unexpected conversation with an LDS apostle started Paul Cardall on what became a very rewarding journey.
That journey culminates with the Friday, Sept. 16, release of his new album, "A New Creation," along with sold-out concerts at the Salt Lake Tabernacle that night and Saturday, Sept. 17.
The album represents many hours of work and features famous voices, choirs and an orchestra, as well as other people with musical talents. At its heart is a new hymn co-written by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
For Cardall, a pianist and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the album pays homage to Jesus Christ.
"I've wanted to do an album that offered a tribute to the Savior, like a soundtrack for the Bible, something that tells the story or teaches the plan of salvation in an indirect way," Cardall said. "Things came together."
Motivated by President Spencer W. Kimball's "Gospel Vision of the Arts," Cardall was already pondering a gospel-focused album when he was invited to perform at a social event for the LDS Church's missionary department in 2014. Afterward, Elder Bednar pulled Cardall aside and said he had a song he wanted to get out, but he needed his help, Cardall said.
"Would I be interested in helping him out?" Cardall said. "Absolutely, absolutely."
Later when they met to discuss the project, Elder Bednar explained how he liked to find unique phrases in the scriptures. There are many instances in the scriptures where the Savior personally ministers "one by one" to individuals, such as his visit to Bountiful in 3 Nephi 11:15 of the Book of Mormon, Cardall said.
At first, Cardall said he struggled to find inspiration and the project experienced delays. But with the help of his wife, Tina Cardall, and Elder Bednar's encouragement, the pianist eventually discovered the right theme. Elder Bednar then wrote the lyrics and Cardall created the music, he said.
"Once I had a theme that inspired him it all came together," Cardall said. "He (Elder Bednar) knew exactly what he wanted to say, and after working through the words, we ended up making only two or three minor changes with the lyrics and melody to fit words into melodies to emphasize what is being taught."
The new hymn, fittingly titled "One By One," conveys a message of how the Savior rescues his children individually. An arrangement by Ken Neff and Shauna Swainston was published in the New Era magazine in July. Another arrangement was recorded by the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic for Cardall's album, which is titled "A New Creation."
Cardall credited his production team of Trevor Price, Shane Mickelsen, Marshall McDonald, Rob Swenson and Kayson Brown for their help completing the album. Also featured are internationally renowned tenor Nathan Pacheco, mezzo-soprano Patrice Tipoki, the Stone Angel Orchestra and chorus, and the American Heritage Chorus.
Mickelsen even translated the lyrics of the song "Gethsemane" into Italian for Pacheco, Cardall said.
"I know that God's purpose in inspiring this music is to reach out to his children in love," said Mickelsen, who served as an arranger, orchestrator and conductor for the album. "It is extremely rewarding for me to listen to this music and know that even though I put pen to paper, God has something new to teach me each time I listen; the music came from him."
Cardall said he's grateful for the rare opportunity he's had to interact with Elder Bednar and helping to write their song was a "one by one" experience for him personally. He hopes the music of "A New Creation" offers hope to people struggling with life's challenges, he said.
"In my music, I try to teach someone what the Spirit feels like," Cardall said. "Hopefully that music will give them access to spiritual feelings that help them process things more clearly."
Music from "A New Creation" will be on display at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m., as Cardall performs with the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic, Pacheco, the American Heritage Youth Chorus and combined Salt Lake Valley institute choirs. The concerts will feature a wide selection of music (not just from Cardall's album). Tickets are no longer available. A standby line will form at the flagpole on Temple Square. For information, see lds.org.
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