NEW BEGINNINGS ALBUM
New Beginnings is my 2nd solo piano album released in 2016! This album represents my new beginning with my relationship with music. My first album, Reflections of Joy, consisted of songs that I composed at 14 years old. After a 10 year break from composing music, New Beginnings represents my return to my craft, with even more fire & passion than before! The songs on this album are more mature, passionate, dynamic, & rich & reflect the pure heart & soul that I poured into the creation of these songs. I'm absolutely in love with every single song on this album & I'm honored to share them & their stories with you!
This song is close to my heart because it was the song that got me back into composing. It all started when my husband & I moved into our first place here in Valentine & my parents surprised me with the best housewarming gift ever: my piano. It’s funny to me to think back on when I first wrote this song & how much I have changed since then. I remember keeping this song all to myself for a LONG time, until I finally decided to share it with my mom & sister when they came to visit me. I remember being hesitant to share it with them because this was my first attempt at writing music again & I wasn’t sure if people would think it was any good. However, they loved it & just that little boost of encouragement set me into motion (slowly but surely). The start of my New Beginning.
ROAD TO TRIUMPH
This is one of my most fun songs to play!! I feel like it really takes the listener on a journey. When I play this song, I think about the journey of someone who goes through struggles, who has to pick
themselves up, break through their barriers, & keep working toward the finish line until finally reaching that triumphant ending where they achieve the ultimate victory. The end of this song brings me a feeling of complete euphoria & triumph... especially when I nail the ending ;)
I just LOVE spending time outside in the summer, soaking up the sun, spending time in nature, walking, gardening, reading in my “backyard oasis”, biking, doing yoga on the deck, grilling out, mowing the
lawn, you name it … I try to spend as much time as I can outside in the summer! It gives me a very
carefree, content, & blissful feeling & I hope you feel that same way as you listen to this song. I started
composing this song in the summer of 2015 but didn't finish it until the summer of 2016. It's funny how each song has it's own journey to completion. Some songs, I sit down & write start to finish in a couple hours. Others, like this one, I start but don’t complete until several months, or even years later! I think there’s always a reason for that though, so no matter the song’s journey, as long as I’m following my own inspiration, creativity & curiosity, I feel like I’m doing it the right way.
THE WEARY TRAVELER
This song has a constant droning sequence in the left hand, which is the continuous theme throughout
the song. It reminds me of a wanderer, someone traveling through the desert, unsure when they will
reach their destination, growing weary but continuing on, determined to press on until they get to their
final destination... never giving up.
I wrote this song as a dedication to my amazing mother, Carla Wintz. She is who I'm constantly striving to be like. Her joyful spirit is infectious & radiates to everyone she meets. Her closeness with God & her faith is something that is obvious when you meet her. She’s the most kindhearted, wonderful,
loving woman in the world & I can’t believe I got so lucky that she’s my mom. Growing up, she would
often play music while we were doing dishes or cleaning the house. Whenever a waltz would come on, she would stop everything, grab one of us kids, & waltz around the room with us. This is a perfect example of my mom’s beautiful joyful spirit… that beautiful spirit I tried to capture in the form of a song.
As I was writing this song, I pictured myself as a child, watching the patterns of the raindrops falling down the window pane. This song has a recurring descending pattern throughout, mimicking
those falling raindrops I watched as a child. The song is broken up with a storm in the middle, but soon
fades back to a quiet rainfall at the end.
This song is a direct product of the overwhelming gratitude for this amazing life that God has blessed me
with. I am so grateful that He has given me a joyful heart that I can share with others in the form of
music. I also wanted "heart" in the title of this song as a nod to Valentine, NE, AKA "The Heart City,"
which has been a source of so much of my happiness.
LOVE IN THE WIND
This song has definitely taken me on the most emotional ride out of any song I've ever written. It was the first song that actually made me break down in tears when I completed it. I didn't know the profound
plan that God had for this song when I first started writing it. I just knew I wanted to create a love song. What I ended up with was an entire love story in my mind narrated by this song. You will hear that this song has 2 distinct parts. Part 1 of the song is the growth of a beautiful love story between 2 people. In
Part 2 of the song, I pictured something happening in their lives, causing the couple to be separated,
whether that be death, military, distance, or something else. However, even though the 2 could no longer be together, they could still feel each others' love in the wind. This song's purpose was brought to life
when my little brother, Kevin, & his bride, Abby, asked me to play a song at their wedding. I instantly
knew that this was the song that was meant to be played on that special day. Not only it is a beautiful
love song, but Abby's mom, Jean, had passed away about 8 years before that & could not physically be
there with them on their wedding day. I knew that this song was meant to be a tribute to Jean & convey her love for them on their wedding day. It was an emotional experience for sure & one that I will never forget. I am beyond blessed to have been the one that Jean was speaking through on that day.
CALLING US HOME
This is my "heavenly song." It has a rather somber beginning, in which I picture someone in a difficult
situation reaching out to God for help, almost questioning whether or not He will answer, unsure if He’s
really there or not, but reaching out in desperation with their one last sliver of hope. During this part of
the song, I specifically think of that person saying, “God, do you hear me?” As the song builds, I picture
the faith of this person building & building until God answers their call at the key change. This is when
God is calling that person to Himself, He is drawing them closer to Him, & lovingly inviting them to their
heavenly home. The rest of the song has a feeling of great joy & rejoicing. I picture the very end being
when the person is finally joined with God in Heaven & has said YES to God’s call. This was my most
challenging song yet, as it has multiple key changes, but it is by far one of my most rewarding creations.
There's nothing better than hearing & feeling that story in my head come to life in the final piece of music!
I distinctly remember coming up with this melody when I was out for a long walk. Fun fact: most of my
songs are created in my head first, before I ever sit down at the piano. Another fun fact: most of the time I am not trying to think of a melody, it just pops in my head at random moments & my creativity takes it from there. Such was the case with this song & I remember not being able to get home to my piano fastenough to try to bring it to life! When I finally did, it resulted in my "flying song." It has a soaring
feeling throughout, with a few moments of turbulence. I'm not sure why inspiration strikes at random moments, but I'm always glad when it does.
I wrote this song when I was going through a big transition. I had just decided to change jobs, & was also in the process of releasing my first piano album. Through all of this, I was having to do a lot of
soul searching to try & discover what God's plan was for me. In the end, I just decided to trust my "gut," which I actually really believe is just God's little promptings for us. I followed that feeling, started a new
job,embraced my piano journey head on... and I have truly never been happier. Living God's call is
something that has brought me such joy, peace, contentment, & liberation.
REFLECTIONS OF JOY ALBUM
This album is comprised of 12 songs that I composed at the very beginning of my songwriting journey, in 2003 when I was 14 years old. I affectionately refer to these songs as my "original 12" & they all hold a very special place in my heart! To me, this album reflects the pure passion & dedication I had toward my craft during that year. I glued myself to that piano & just let the inspiration flow out of me. I think back to those times with fond memories... they certainly are "Reflections of Joy."
REFLECTIONS OF JOY
This was my very first piano composition. God decided to bless me with this melody one day when I was singing in the shower. I couldn't get to the piano fast enough. I played around with the melody, added some embellishments that fit my style, & played my heart out until .... VOILA ... my very first original song was born. My mom helped me come up with the name (she helped me name all of my songs back then, bless her heart). We decided on “Reflections of Joy” because it made us think back on happy times & wonderful memories. I hope this has the same effect on all of you as you listen to this song & reflect on your own happy times in your past.
This is one of my favorites! I think the reason for that is because it’s definitely the most creative & complex song in my “library.” It still challenges me to this day. The rhythms between right hand & left hand are complicated & kind of awkward, as they’re basically playing the same notes/melody but at a slightly different time in some parts (right hand follows immediately after the left hand). If I would play an extremely slowed down version of those parts, it would totally clash, but sped up, it all blends together & becomes this beautiful, glorious, mess of a song ;) This one took lots of practice & repetition & hard work to train my fingers how to play it, which is another reason why I think Stargazer is so close to my heart. Sometimes I think I had an out of body experience when I wrote this song, because to this day I think to myself, “How did I write that?” haha! This song definitely inspires a sense of wonder & awe in me every time I sit down to play it, much like the feeling of gazing at the stars on a clear summer night.
I hope you all enjoy “Stargazer” as much as I do!
STORM AT SEA
AKA: My Crowd Pleaser! Storm at Sea was the 3rd piano composition that I wrote. I remember wanting to come up with something big & strong sounding, so the low octave baseline was born, melody followed, & Storm At Sea instantly became my “crowd pleaser.” I’ll NEVER forget the moment when my 3 older brothers (who are all around 10 years older than me & were in their early 20’s & in college at the time) heard me play this song for the first time & they were fist-pumping around the room & high-fiving each other. Haha! Pretty cool feeling for a 14 year old girl! I knew I had something special with this composition & it continues to be the most requested song for me to play for my friends & family to this day. I’m extremely proud of this one. I used to dream of this becoming the theme song of a movie with orchestra added to it. Hey, it could still happen right? ;)
MUSIC BOX BALLET
Another family favorite! My wonderful mother helped me come up with the name of this one (like she did with ALL of my songs in this album!) The beginning especially is reminiscent of a music box. We could just picture a little ballerina twirling around to this melody. It has a very lighthearted, carefree feel to it, which makes it fitting for lots of occasions (including playing in church or for weddings, etc.)
This song is a tribute to the wonderful season of Spring, the re-awakening of life after the dead of winter, the re-emergence of all things green, the energizing feel of warm sunny days, & the overall joy & happiness that comes with the arrival of this season. Even in the dead of winter, this song can be a happy reminder of nicer days to come. I hope this one brings some happiness to you all!
The name of the game when starting to compose this one was SPEED! I had just got done composing several slower songs, & I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to write one that was fast & intense. The result…. “Unknown Passage.” It’s a shorter song that’s a bit dark & twisty, packed with intensity, mystery, & speed… hence the title. It's also chalk full of fast triplets, providing a nice & fun challenge for piano players (including myself!) Enjoy exploring the unknown!
MY SWEET COUNTRY HOME
This one is a simpler song, but that is really the theme of it… finding beauty in the simplicity. This song is a reminder for us to slow it down & enjoy the simple things in life: your home, time with family, blue skies, green grass, smiles, laughter, rest, relaxation, & so much more! What simple things are you grateful for today? These are things that we need to pay attention to… slow down the hustle of our lives from time to time & soak in the beautiful simplicity of life that is so easy to take for granted. I hope you all find some peace in this song & recognize the true blessings that are all around you.
SAFE IN DADDY'S ARMS
As the song title implies, this song was named in dedication to my dad – the rock of our family who has always been the one to not only make me feel safe, but to also always make me feel beautiful, strong, capable, talented, & most importantly, loved. He has always been one of my biggest supporters, despite me being the odd-ball of the family who picked music & dance & arts instead of sports. He’s the first to give me praise when I do something great, but also the first to give a shoulder to cry on when I make a mistake. Even though I named this song in dedication to him as an adolescent, no matter how old I get, I will always feel “Safe In Daddy’s Arms.” Love you Dad!
When I wrote Spanish Dreams, I remember wanting to compose a song in a minor key. A lot of my music that I create is bright & happy & in major keys, so I mixed it up a bit with this song. The result was a very Spanish sounding arrangement, a little eerie, but still upbeat & enjoyable. It provides a bit of a contrast from the other music on my album, but in a good way I think!
DAYS ON GRANDMA'S FARM
This song carries a youthful, happy-go-lucky tone, which brings me back to those good ol’ Days on Grandma’s Farm :) This song is dedicated to my dear grandmother, Geraldine Bruening, who had since passed away at the time of writing this song. Growing up, she lived on a farm place only about 20 minutes from my childhood home. Those memories that I have of days on the farm are ones that I truly cherish. The consistent pattern of the lower hand in this song depicts the “hum-drum” of the wonderfully simple, everyday life on the farm. Looking back, I realize even more how great of a gift those days on the farm were to me. There was no better feeling than being outside with all my cousins & loved ones, experiencing pure freedom, a sense of adventure as we explored, a creative & playful spirit, & a deep-rooted appreciation for nature & getting your hands dirty sometimes. This is another one of my beautifully simple songs. I hope this song takes you back to a place that has a special imprint on your heart. It honestly makes me tear up when I play this & reflect on the meaning behind it (happy tears of course!). This one’s for you, Grandma B!
WAVES OF CHANGE
This song actually went unnamed for quite awhile. In the meantime, I always referred to it as "The Black Key Song," because it is in a key with 4 flats, so most of the song is played on the black keys. I remember wanting to come up with something really different when I wrote this song, which is why I focused on mostly black keys. I also played around with different tempos & rhythms & time signatures. The result was a song that's very interesting & ever changing. When reflecting on all of these factors, we finally landed on a name ... Waves of Change. . . . although, I still like to refer to it as The Black Key Song from time to time. ;)