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MP3 Lewisongs - Listen With Your Heart

Listen with your heart to a child''s wonder at the birth of the Savior. To a shepherd who sees a new star in the familiar night sky. To a mother singing a lullaby to her newborn child.

11 MP3 Songs
GOSPEL: Contemporary Gospel, POP: Folky Pop

Jeff was once asked to direct a Christmas choir. There was no holiday music in the library, no budget for music and a concert deadline looming. So Jeff wrote a Christmas song. The choir performed, the congregation approved and the result was the start of an annual tradition that''s continued for years. "Listen With Your Heart" represents 11 of Jeff''s holiday songs that have become favorites of family, friends in the West Michigan community and church congregations across the country.

Liner Notes:

"I Didn''t Hear the Angels" was written while the Lewis family was serving in a deaf ministry (Jeff''s wife, Colleen, is an ASL interpreter.) The song shows that we don''t need to hear or see the Savior''s birth; that instead, we can listen with, see with and be touched in our hearts. Originally performed with a piano, soloist and deaf choir, this piece has become a holiday favorite.

"O Holy Child" rejoices in the birth of the Christ child and the joy of the holiday season, recognizing that, "if God changes not throughout eternity, then O Holy Child, this change must be in me."

The lyrics of "Lift Up Your Head" are taken from the Book of Mormon, when the Savior announces, "tomorrow I come into the world."

"Shepherd Watch" imagines a shepherd sitting with his flock at night, noticing the familiar world around him and "a star I don''t recognize, bright, as though giving direction."

"The Lord Is My Light" features a new melody and three-part arrangement of the familiar 19th century hymn.

"My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord" takes its lyrics from the King James Bible version of the Magnificat.

"Gentle Perfect Baby" imagines the wonder that Mary felt, as all mothers feel, as they hold their newborn child. The first verse is written as a mother''s response to the miracle of birth... "Do the stars that shine above light up your perfect face... or do you, gentle baby, light the sky?" In the second and third verses, Mary comes to the recognize the miracle of this Christ child, singing, "Do you hear the hills resound as herald angels sing... or do the angels sing at your command?" and "Do you see the wise men laying presents at your feet... or are you, gentle perfect one, the gift?"

"The Baby Smiled" is an a cappella song that imagines one of the babies in Bethlehem, later to be put to death by the decree of Herod. The baby speaks "through loving eyes," saying "If Christ has come to save us all... the price that we pay is a small price for what we receive."

"All the Way Into Bethlehem" beautifully and simply recounts Mary''s faith and journey from her home to the city of David. With childlike innocence, the singer says simply, "Mary was grateful her Father''s will was done."

"Thousands of Miles Away" recounts a Book of Mormon story in which Samuel, a prophet, predicts that at the birth of the Savior the sun will set but the skies will not darken over the American continent. Two singers intertwine their wonder, their melodies and their stories as the prophecy comes to pass.

In the gospel of Luke there is mention of the host of heaven singing "Glory to God in the Highest" at the birth of the Savior. The singers wonder if perhaps they were called and chosen to sing in that great choir. Were they there to proclaim this great birth? In the final rousing verse, they ponder "...today, can I use my angel voice? Will I sing with joy? Will I be inspired?" and proclaim "I will share His love through the life I live, through the sacrifices I choose to give."

About the cast:

Jeff Lewis wrote the music, performed keyboards (except "Glory to God in the Highest") and strings. An amateur musician, his annual Christmas songs have become a tradition in the West Michigan area in which he lives. In 1998, a compilation of Jeff''s songs was produced as a cantata entitled, "What Think Ye of Christ?" which has been performed throughout the United States.

Andy Sheneman co-produced the CD, served as sound engineer and as percussionist. Andy is a respected musician in the West Michigan community and has toured professionally throughout the United States.

Jan Bishop is a professional musician living in Troy Michigan. She sings in community and professional choirs and has received training at the University of Michigan and Oakland University where she received her MFA in music performance.

David Duiven is Director of Choral Music for Rockford (Michigan) High School. A doctoral candidate at the Eastman School of Music, David is involved in community and civic theater and performances. His choirs consistently receive top ratings in regional and state competitions. In 2001, his choir was invited to participate in the Jester Harrison festival in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Members of the Rockford Chamber Singers shared their talents on "Glory to God in the Highest." This premier choir features 16 voices chosen from a student population of over 2,000 in the sophomore through senior classes at Rockford High School.

The Lewis Family was, of course, instrumental (and vocal) in the 2004 production of this CD. Karin is currently a microbiology major at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Keven is a freshman music major at Brigham Young University - Idaho and a member of the BYU-I symphony. Chris is a junior at Rockford High School and a member of the Rockford Chamber Singers. Kelsey attends the Rockford Freshman Center, is a band member, a choir member, a dancer and an academic leader.

Special thanks also go to local musicians Gordon Proux (guitar), Tom Bush (Bass), Michael Sobie (percussion in "Glory to God in the Highest) and vocalists Gwen Terhaar, Kelly Carey and Larry Young.

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