This past January I wrote Messenger, a piece of musical theatre inspired by the book of Malachi, then performed it with fellow church attenders Phil, Shannon, and Caleb portraying the roles of Malachi, Israel, and the Messenger, and myself at the piano, for an art night at Grace Community Church (GCC). I thought the performance of Messenger at GCC would be the beginning and the end of the piece, but I was greatly mistaken!
After presenting the work, I was encouraged by a positive response, and my fine arts pastor, coworker, and very good friend, Brian Felten, had a desire to see something “more” done with the composition. Through connections Brian has in the music industry, several providential doors opened that offered the opportunity to have Messenger arranged and recorded professionally. I set up a Kickstarter campaign, through which dozens of generous people financially supported the project. The arrangement and recording were fully funded before the end of March.
Arrangement & Recording Process
David Clydesdale, a Grammy-award and Dove-award winning composer, arranger, and orchestrator, arranged Messenger for full symphony orchestra. In May, the music went to Prague, where David conducted the City of Prague Philharmonic for the recording. In June, the orchestra track went on to Nashville, where the vocalists were recorded. In July, all of the recordings went to Gaither Studios in Indianapolis to be mixed. After the mixing session, the final recording was complete – in less than six months Messenger had undergone a complete transformation! The arrangement by David Clydesdale is phenomenal, and I could not be more pleased with all of the brilliant artists and musicians involved in the recording. I am overcome with gratitude to Brian Felten, who produced the entire project, and was thrilled to be able to participate in both the Nashville and Indianapolis recording sessions, both of which were inspirational and educational experiences.
I spent the month of August learning about how to order CDs, distribute music digitally, etc. I am grateful for my father, Jim Connelly, who did the beautiful Messenger painting and designed the CD jackets. On Thursday, September 8, Messenger was finally ready to be heard and distributed!* Brian and I were overjoyed to spend that evening celebrating the completion.
An original cast recording of Messenger is also in the works, with Phil, Shannon, and Caleb reprising their roles and singing along with the GCC choir to the orchestra track. A CD of this recording will be available soon!
I am delighted that Messenger is finally ready for everyone to hear, and I hope to spread the word in order that people listen to the work and hear the book of Malachi come to life in a creative way. I certainly hope that it points people back to Malachi, and, ultimately, to the gospel of Christ.
Over the past few months, it has been strongly suggested to me that Messenger is not the end, that perhaps there are more works to come. Specifically, an idea has been presented that I have taken hold of: that Messenger is the first in a trilogy of compositions, the second two being titled Messiah and Majesty, and that together they portray Christ as prophet, priest, and king. As I’ve begun to ponder this idea and read the Scriptures with this thought in mind, I am amazed at all the threads that tie together the book of Malachi with Scriptures in the New Testament. I am very excited about the potential these pieces have to portray our Lord and Savior in a creative way, and have already started the study and writing process. I do not know where all of this will go, but am thrilled and humbled to have so many encourage me to take this next step. I will keep you posted as things progress!
I want to say a huge “thank you” to so many who have supported this project through prayer, encouragement, and finances. I consider Messenger an incredible blessing that God has poured out on me this year, and hope and pray that the story of Messenger will bless and minister to many of you as well.