A Still, Silent Night
A personal note from the composer/arrangerÖ
Christmas is an interesting counterpoint between energized activity and introspective solemnity. As a church musician I am running on all cylinders with special programs and extra rehearsals, yet trying to balance that with moments in which I practice, prepare and contemplate the significant messages of this holy season. As a husband and father, I join the crowds in supporting the local merchants while maneuvering my way through crowded streets and shopping aisles, yet countering that with moments of solitude in front of a blazing fire or a colorful tree while recalling Godís bountiful blessings.
For me these kinds of scenarios are symbolized in this piece. Christmas is a season filled joyous sights, sounds and activities. But in the midst of that, God comes to us in the quiet of a humble Bethlehem stable and says "Stop! Be still . . . and know that I am God." And as it happened on that first Christmas night when Jesus was born, so it happens again in our day. The Creator comes again to those who will hear and to those who will pause to recognize the newborn Messiah . . . and He reminds us that He is still God. As the carol so beautifully states, "where meek souls will receive Him still the dear Christ enters in."
In the wonderful and busy activities of the yuletide season, make sure you stop and recognize the significance of this holiest season when God became human and lived among us for a while.
A special note from Lois Bock relating to Fred Bockís creation of the original arrangement of Be Still and Know, which is incorporated into this octavo.
For over 35 years, I watched Fred Bockís creative mind work. He could be inspired by any number of objects, experiences and emotions. These ideas were expressed in many different way and times. An early morning shower might give him a great idea to start the day. We were enjoying a French toast breakfast at DuPars in Los Angeles when he suddenly grabbed a napkin and wrote out a score and then jotted a few measures for an anthem that had just been written in his head. Of course, he did most of his writing at the organ or piano where he kept an architectís table for writing. A Walt Disney family member gave him a table that Walt used in his home. Fred used it for years until it just came apart. Then one day, when I was out of town he picked it up and put it in the trash, then he went out and bought a new one. You can just imagine my reaction to that action.
"Where does your inspiration come from?" was a question asked by a student in a college class where Fred was the guest lecturer. His answer? "Deadlines!" I also heard him say that inspiration came from a blank sheet of manuscript paper.
He was inspired by music. One piece or one chord could begin a steady flow of creative thoughts.
During the summer of 1980, our family made a three-week trip through England, Scotland, and many stops in Europe, which included Rheims, France. After visiting the gorgeous thirteenth century Gothic Cathedral, we drove through the countryside on our journey to Paris. Fredís arrangement of "Be Still and Know," was born that afternoon. I canít tell you if his inspiration came from the beauty of the Cathedral, the story of its history, or the lush green fields of the French countryside. But when we arrived at our hotel, he quickly found paper and wrote out the first draft of the anthem.
It is a thrill for me to know that all these years later, his afternoon inspiration in France, can still be sung, inviting the Family of God to "Be Still and Know" our Lord and the peace that He offers.