reflect . listen . inspire

"The best, most beautiful, and most perfect way that we have of expressing a sweet concord of mind to each others is by music." - Jonathan Edwards

Jenny Richards Music

Choral & Solos

“Let The Little Children Come”

While I was with my stake youth on our Pioneer Trek this past summer, I heard for the first time the beautiful life story of Emily Hill (Woodmansee), who, at age 19, traveled with her sister on the Willie Handcart company. Her life was fraught with trials, but she clung to her faith. In her patriarchal blessing she was promised that her gift for prose would bring light and hope to thousands, and we now know her as the lyricist to the famous hymn, “As Sisters in Zion.” As I listened to the story of her life, I felt a surge of emotion and gratitude for this stalwart and faithful woman. I felt deeply connected to her.

The morning after returning home from Trek, I woke up really early. I couldn’t sleep. In the quiet stillness of my house, I felt this stirring in my heart: “there is more.” I got up and went for a run. And then it hit me. I realized that “there is more” meant more words of Emily’s out there.

As a result of reading through her poems, I have felt directed to write “The Emily Woodmansee Project:” musical settings of seven sacred texts, for SATB. The first, “Let the Little Children Come,” is a musical setting of a Primary song that Emily wrote, which was included in the 1923 hymnbook. I have written it for children’s chorus and SATB. I hope to record it soon

Let The Little Children Come – Sheet Music

“Asking in Faith” (for Young Women)

This song, written for the lovely, earnest, faithful Young Women in my ward, is based on two verses in the Book of James. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5-6).

These two verses comprise the 2017 theme for the Youth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I consider these verses to be some of the most influential and powerful of all scripture, as these were the words that led a young Joseph Smith into a grove of trees to utter his first spoken prayer. Because of this prayer and his faith, the Church of Jesus Christ was restored in its fullness on the earth.

The flowing left hand arpeggios in the accompaniment that alternate between major and minor keys suggest a gentle breeze or flowing water. I picture a young girl- similar in age to Joseph Smith- also seeking answers to the questions and longings of her soul- singing this song. Incorporated into the words is also a phrase from one of my favorite scriptures: Hebrews 12: 1-2 (let us run with patience the race that is set before us).

I express my deepest appreciation to the Scott sisters, Maggie and Abbie, whose exquisite voices are perfect for this song.

Asking in Faith

Asking in Faith – Sheet Music

“O Lamb of God, I Come”

O Lamb of God, I Come One night before Christmas, I woke up with music in my mind. The next morning, I felt inclined to Google search “English Hymnal,” and read through several beautiful hymn texts before finding a gorgeous text called “Just As I Am,” penned by a woman named Charlotte Elliott in England in 1841. I came to learn that Charlotte was a talented and vivacious writer and an artist who, in her mid-30s, suffered a terrible illness that left her partially paralyzed. A minister came to visit her, and she expressed to him her anguish and depression, saying she felt she had nothing to contribute and felt useless because she was unable to attend church or serve in any way. The minister said simply, “come just as you are.” Those words sunk deeply into her soul, and 10 years later, she wrote this beautiful text based on those five words. After writing this hymn, Charlotte went on to write 150 more(!), in a collection called “The Invalid’s Hymnbook.”

The words of this song are profoundly meaningful to me. In the scriptures, there are dozens and dozens of invitations to “Come Unto Me.” The Savior pleads with us to come, to follow, to learn, to trust, to yield, to believe. He doesn’t say, “come when you’re perfect,” or “come when you’re ready.” Just simply: come. Come just as you are. Come with doubts. Come with fears. Come. This is the message of the gospel. Start where you are, come to the Savior, and He will “receive, welcome, pardon, cleanse, and relieve.”

I changed the title from the original “Just As I Am” to “O Lamb of God, I Come” because I felt that was the most important statement of the song. It represents a submission of my will, which is the most significant and really, the only uniquely personal gift I can give to Him.

Many thanks to the beautiful 16-year-old Anne Burton, whose voice was meant for this song, and to my dear friend Ellen VanDam, who lent her tender and gentle “voice” on the violin.

O Lamb of God, I Come

O Lamb of God, I Come – Sheet Music

O Lamb of God, I Come – Cello Sheet Music

O Lamb of God, I Come – Violin Sheet Music

“Peace in Me”

This song was written for a graduating Young Woman in my ward, the beautiful and talented Anne Burton. The words are the Youth Theme for 2018: “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my spirit, and ye shall have peace In me.” (D&C 19:23). Studying “meekness” has been my personal curriculum for 2018, and I tried to emphasize this sacred attribute throughout the song. The climax of the piece is the song’s title: peace in Me.

Peace in Me – Sheet Music

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