Our guest author for today is Lisa M. Clark, Senior Editor for Curriculum Resources at CPH. Although you may know her best as a hymn writer and the author of the Messengers novels, one of her latest projects has been working on CPH Education’s new musical, Echoes of the Hammer. In today’s post, Lisa shares more about her creative process as the lyricist for the musical.
A Season of Firsts
As a hymn writer, I love finding new ways to share the truth of God’s Word. But when I had the opportunity to write about Martin Luther and the birth of the Reformation in the form of a musical, there were many firsts!
For instance, this is one of the first times I’ve collaborated with the musical’s composer. It’s the first time I included phrases such as “hair of St. Bart.” And it’s the first time I tried to “speak” for people like John Tetzel. Listen to the final result of the song “Relics and Riches” below!
A Team Effort
Something I love about hymns is that they’re collaborative efforts. It takes someone to write the text, someone to write the tune and setting, others to play the instruments, and still others to sing! This musical was no different in this need for collaboration.
The editor who got Echoes of the Hammer started, Brenda Trunkhill, gave me scene and song summaries based off of Luther: The Graphic Novel, which was created by others. I started writing the lyrics from there. Carolina VonKampen, an intern for CPH last summer, did a lot of great research as well. Many hands went into this musical, and many more will make it happen in every place!
Writing for a Variety of Music
For me, writing for hymns is different from other writing. For hymns, I often fill my head with words and ideas related to what I want to write. Then I just let it all spill out, editing “in real time” as I go, writing by hand. A little while later, I’ll type it out, making a few more tweaks. After that, the text is often close to the end result.
It’s incredibly fun to hear the tunes carry my texts to a new level. In my opinion, music is the best way for words to come to life!