Illumine has developed an entirely new take on the German poem, Es ist ein Ros' Entsprungen. Our worship coordinator, Drew Sonnenberg, introduces the song in this post.
This song came into existence in a fairly roundabout way. Kent and I were discussing how the hymn “Behold a Branch is Growing” can be a little difficult to sing. It's a beautiful melody, but some of the rhythms just make things difficult for a congregation. We mentioned maybe someday writing a new melody for it.
A few weeks later, I was sitting in Bible Class paying very close attention to what Kent was saying when a melody popped into my head. I wrote it down on the spot, not wanting to lose it. The next day I fleshed it out a little bit and added the chord structure. It came to me fairly quickly, so I was worried that I was accidentally ripping off a song that I had forgotten I knew. I played the song for my wife, to see if she recognized it. She told me that it didn't sound like any melody she had heard, but it definitely sounded like a Johnny Cash song. So the song in its first incarnation was going to be a Carter/Cash duet by my wife and me. (Which you can look forward to hearing in a few weeks!)
Kent heard it and loved it, but decided he wanted to take a crack at re-translating the original German poem Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, on which "Behold a Branch" is based. He found that the original poem had a lot of ideas and symbolism that he wanted to highlight in new and different ways (he will tell you more about that in a future blog post.)
Now we had a new melody, a new text, and we wanted to try it out. Luckily, Advent started shortly after we completed the song. The night of rehearsal, a friend of ours named Hannah was finishing up teaching a violin lesson at church and we asked if she wanted to stick around and play with us. She graciously obliged. As soon as she started playing, Kent and I looked at each other - we knew that this is what the song had been missing.
After all of this, we're pleased to present you with “A Newborn Bloom." We have a few items available for you now, with more to follow. First we have a lead sheet for those of you who want to play it with a band or just on a guitar. Second, we have a piano accompaniment for those of you who don't use a band or prefer solo piano accompaniment. The piano arrangement was written by our good friend Steven Springborn, an extremely talented pianist who teaches and directs the choir at Nebraska Lutheran High School. We would like to thank him again for his great work. Finally, we have an recording of our members here at Illumine performing the song (complete with Hannah on violin.) We are very happy with how it turned out and we hope you like it too.
Worship Coordinator - Illumine Church