I Hope They Call Me on a Mission

I went through an interesting process while arranging this one.  I wanted it to be unique, but I mostly wanted it to have meaning to both me and my son, who picked this song.  I went through A LOT of different ways to approach it but nothing felt exactly right.  I had settled on doing a “It’s a Small World” version of it where each verse was a different style from around the world.  But it ultimately felt cheesy.

A little background info: I served my mission in Belém, Brazil (yes, I know it’s really spelled with an ‘s’ but this blog is in English and spellcheck is annoying me – so we’ll stick with the ‘z’) and a member there first taught me how to play the Brazilian style Bossa Nova.  He helped me to arranged a version of Master the Tempest is Raging (I think he mostly arranged it) but it was fun playing with the odd rhythms and chord structures of Bossa Nova.

So after I had decided on the multi-style arrangement, I was talking about it with my good friend Dan (who served in Rio de Janeiro) and he suggested I just stick with Bossa Nova.  It was then that it clicked and almost the entire arrangement came instantly.  I knew immediately the kind of progression I wanted to do and that I should add a verse of I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go.  (Adding another hymn in there was a must.  I Hope They Call Me on a Mission is too short on it’s own.) So a big thanks to Dan for his suggestion.

Until…………… I realized I’d have to sing it.

Bossa Nova is unique because of it’s rhythms and use of colorful chords.  It works well for melodies that are arranged in the Bossa Nova style.  But I didn’t want to change the melody of this song, just the chords underneath it to give it more color.  The problem is that most of the time in this song, those notes were a half step away from each other.  And the guitar isn’t a piano.  To play them both would mean doing it on different strings with a huge stretch on the fingering.  It ultimately was too much for me.

The only way to play them both was to play one and sing the other.  Ugh.

This will most likely be the only arrangement that I sing on.  There are already tons of versions of the hymns done by people singing and playing the guitar.  I want the arrangements for Mormon Guitar to be unique, while not inappropriate or weird.  My hope is to bring out new meanings for each of the hymns.

I feel like I accomplished that with this one, which is a new feeling.  I always think there is more that I could do.  But for this one, I can’t help but be transported back to Brazil and being surrounded by some of the most kind-hearted and warm people I’ve ever met.  So for me, that means it’s perfect.

 

Here’s how to play it

Download the MoTAB

About Ben Howington

I'm just an average Mormon trying to offset the filth out there on the internet, one guitar arrangement at a time. (Mormon.org Profile)

23 comments

  1. Ben, you are amazing! I can’t tell you what joy your arrangements bring to me. I aspire to be able to play the Book of Mormon stories arrangement and now this Mission arrangement. I’m struggling to get good enough with some hymns to be able to accompany our youth on trek next summer, but hope that with a lot of practice I’ll be able to do some of yours. I’m working on Be Still My Soul right now. Might I suggest something with I Believe in Christ for a future project? Something that captures the majesty of that song and message, perhaps with the Bruce R. McConkie delivery in mind?

    Anyways, thank you for sharing your talents and time with us lesser mortals that aren’t fluent in the language of music the way you are. I appreciate it immensely. (By the way, I thought the singing was great – you shouldn’t rule out lyrics on future projects.)

    • Thanks Dan! Just keep at it. You’ll get it. Book of Mormon stories is all about the right hand. Just practice the first half of the first verse over and over at a slow tempo until you don’t even have to think about it, then slowly speed it up. People tend to try and concentrate more when they start speeding up, but the key is to concentrate less. You’ve trained your fingers, they know what to do. All you need to do is turn off your brain and let your fingers do the work. (I’m sure I just made a lot of guitar instructors gasp out there with that comment :) But it’s true.) And thanks for the hymn suggestion. I Believe in Christ has always been one of my favorites. While I’ve been letting my kids pick the songs each month, I’m sure that hymn will find its way into the mix at some point. Hopefully sooner than later. Such a beautiful and simple melody that conveys so much power. Love it. Thanks again!

      • One more for you: my wife is the music chair for our stake’s Trek experience this coming summer. Accompanying the kids on this has been my major motivation in buying and learning to play this new guitar. She has spent hours combing through all different kinds of songs to use as the theme song. She’s looked at the Mormon pop music out there, and nothing ever felt right, kind of like it was all either too simple, too “poppy,” or just overall kind of incongruous to the whole idea of re-enacting the pioneers experience. The last thing she wants to do is break out the amp and speakers to play a performance track to a Mormon pop culture song that they’ll probably never hear again after a month or two. So, she felt like she wanted something a bit more “organic,” for lack of a better word, something that would be truer to what the pioneers would have experienced. She felt she needed a hymn. She found herself researching the original hymn book compiled by Emma Smith. It turns out that of that original compilation of hymns, there are only something like 6 or so still in our hymn book. Of those, there is only one that is still sung to the same melody as the original hymn book the saints would have taken with them over the plains. As soon as she found this, she knew she had the theme song. This will be a defining song for these kids, something that every time they sing or hear sung will take them back to a time in their youth where they felt the spirit and knew their Father in Heaven loved them. The song is Redeemer of Israel.

        I have searched various music outlets and haven’t come up with anything worthy of this experience, yet. I know a Ben Howington acoustic guitar treatment of this special hymn would definitely fit the bill. Sorry to be making any suggestions for projects that should really be coming from you and your family. If I had the talent to do what you do, I’d do it myself.

        Anyways, just something to think about! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy what you’ve done so far. Thanks!

  2. Good stuff. :D I love hearing your new music when you post. My mom was the first one to show me this page. Best mommy ever. ;)

    P.S. Brasil huh?… My friend Jason has just been called there!…(Sao Palo) Just thought it was a cool fact. ;)

    • Best mom ever, indeed! Thanks, Eli! (And thanks Eli’s mom!) It’s very cool your friend is going to Brasil. No matter which mission he is in, he’s going to see miracles happen. It’s a very blessed country.

      • I think He had two baptisms and a woman come up to them and literally ask them to give her and her husband lessons, within his first 3 weeks! xD haha (though he’s in Utah right now, but that’s not important!) xD

  3. I just was introduced to your website through your aunt Lynne Ward, she works for my husband. My kids and I have been having so much fun watching and listening to all your arrangements, you are incredibly talented! My daughter is learning guitar so this is especially interesting for her. Thank you for taking the time to create such an enjoyable website, and to share your talent with everyone. My kids wanted to hear every Primary song in the book, so we look forward to your upcoming installments!

  4. Que saudade meu amigao!! I haven’t taken up playing myself, but as you continue to inspire me I just might do it. :) It is easy to see your passion, skill, and desire. Keep up the good work and change the world one pick at a time!

  5. Thanks for sharing your incredible talent. I love that you are puttin something positive and cool onto the web. I’m so gald that I stumbled onto your blog. I hope it keeps being fulfilling enough for you to continue wanting to put in the effort every month. Thanks again!

  6. Cara, que coisa legal…. From a fellow Nordestinho to a another. Dude got skills. I SO want/need the tutorial for “I Hope they Call Me”. I love the Brazilian part! Takes me back to Fortaleza! :)
    Keep it up. You’re an inspiration!!

  7. Please continue making the Primary songs and hymns come alive for those of us who appreciate guitar but cannot play it! Thank you!

  8. Super cool. I think you should sing more of them. It mixes it up to have some chord melody style and some where the guitar is an awesome accompaniment. Plus I might even be able to play this one :)

    Just because others have sung this song doesn’t mean that have sound anything like this. Keep it up.

  9. Hi Ben – I’m Teri. Our family is friends with Brother Brown, who originally wrote this song children’s song. He and his sweet wife live in our Stake. They are awesome folks. I just learned about you today through Meridian Magazine online. I LOVE your music. My son, currently serving a mission in the CA-Bakersfield mission, is a self-taught guitarist and will love your new CD when I send it to him in his Christmas Package. Shhh! ;) Love the different styles of music and rhythm. Our family is very musical and super appreciate GOOD music! Thank you for your efforts in filling the world with good music. Keep it up! And if you ever set up a “suggestion box” let me now, so that I can fill out the little paper and throw in it with things written on it like: a CD for women, a CD for missionaries, a CD for teens, a CD for dads, a CD for young adults, a CD for gatherings or parties… and the list goes on, and the little papers will all be use up. Good thing you don’t have a suggestion box! lol!

    Thanks again. Good luck in all you do. You have a precious family. Love your music!

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