“Til the Work is done”

    by Sylvia Brown

    Griffiths

    Around February of 2010, President Griffiths of the Scotland Edinburgh Mission, was informed by President Kopischke of the Europe Area Presidency, that his mission would be combining with the Dublin Ireland Mission in June that year.  Many times he pondered how the challenging merger could be brought about successfully as some of the missionaries were unenthusiastic about the change.

    Out of the blue, he received a phone call from a sister in Stornoway, Marwenna Diame-Jones.  In a priesthood blessing, she had been encouraged to share her songwriting talents to uplift the Church.  Marwenna said, “I asked the Lord how I could fulfil the blessing.  The spirit whispered, ‘Call the mission office and speak to President Griffiths’.  I called him; he said that he had been thinking of me.”

    She continued, “After praying, I wrote a melody and lyrics for two verses, but the chorus didn't feel right.  I contacted Nathan Osmond.  He agreed to sing; he has such a wonderful voice.  I sang him what I had and told him I needed a different chorus.  He then sang a melody – that was it.  We came up with a few ideas for the ‘hook’ of the chorus … then the bit between the verse and the chorus.  When we finished, we knew what we had felt right.

    “I called President Griffiths, sang him the melody and told him about the backing tracks I could hear behind the song, with bagpipes.  He liked it.  I then thought about who could produce it … Dave Allott came into my mind, a very talented musician and church member.  Dave played all the instruments and programmed the backing tracks.

    “I needed four voices to sing the parts.  Nathan had agreed to sing.  I wondered if Amy Van Wagenen, who lives in Utah, would sing.  I called her and she agreed.  To record it, I went to a local studio and sang the backing tracks.  The owner of the studio, Keith Morrison liked the song, so I asked him if he would sing on it.  I had my four voices.  Dave Allott sent the backing tracks to Nathan and Amy and they recorded their voices in Utah.”

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    Dave Allott recollects: “My old friend Marwenna contacted me.  …  Marwenna and Nathan Osmond had collaborated.  Nathan sent me a demo of him playing piano and singing it.  I made some changes and then produced a track from scratch with programmed drums.  I also played piano, and acoustic and bass guitar on it, and programmed some Gaelic instruments such as tin whistle & flute throughout.  I found a bagpiper to come in and play.  I wrote out the musical score for him but learnt the bagpipes cannot play some notes!  I had him play the nearest notes to these, then edited the track in software, moving the notes to the place I wanted them.  Next came the vocals.  Marwenna recorded her vocals in a studio near where she lived, with the owner providing the second male vocal part.  Amy Van Wagenen laid down her vocals in Utah, as did Nathan in a different Utah studio.  I then edited all vocal tracks, putting them all in time with each other.  That done we sent a demo to President Griffiths, who loved it, but he asked me to take out a lot of the drums.  Having done this we ended up with a more ethnic sound, which complemented the song perfectly.”

    Marwenna continues: “The next step was the CD cover.  I envisaged a croft house, with two bikes outside, typical of where missionaries would live in some parts of Scotland/Ireland.  David Ferguson provided the croft-house photo.  I found some tartan, a thistle (for Scotland), a four-leaf clover (for Ireland), and some Celtic writing.  I asked my friend Jaq Drygate, who designs album covers, to superimpose bikes outside the croft house.   I prayed about who could print the CD.  I went online and called the first printer I found, Discsmart.  The man who answered said that he wasn't a Mormon, but his girlfriend was, and did a great deal on the printing of the CDs.”

    The whole project was completed at minimal cost.  As hoped and prayed for, the song had the desired effect of cementing the identity of the newly combined missions and has been a treasured part of the Scotland/Ireland Mission ever since.