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Nashville recording of 2 MTC show songs

16 February 2012 No Comment

Two of the love songs written by Rod Stone of Anacortes, Washington for the August 2012 Marching Through Culpeper stage production have captured the attention of a California promoter and one of Nashville’s top music arrangers. My Love Will Never Die and Our Union Shall Be Strong will be professionally recorded in Nashville the week of Feb. 27, 2012, with a full orchestra, male and female vocalists, and a choir. These songs will be marketed nationwide as wedding songs. 

“Rod has given us beautifully haunting love songs with universal appeal that not only fit the Civil War era, but speak to modern audiences,” says Virginia Morton, author of the historical novel Marching Through Culpeper and the stage script by the same name. “It’s fantastic that two of our songs will be recorded before we even bring the show to the stage.”

 What amazing sequence of events connected Morton to Washington state songwriter Rod Stone, to California promoter Dave Yancey, to Nashville music arranger Dave Huntsinger? 

“Prayer,” Morton says. She started weekly prayer conference calls in 2007 with a core group of her readers across the country. The group began praying for her Civil War novel Marching Through Culpeper to be made into a movie. Minnesota native Rick Heeren of Harvest Evangelism, who visited Culpeper on several occasions to teach community transformation through prayer, joined the calls. In 2008 his book Marketplace Miracles highlighted the faith journeys of people who were taking their faith into the marketplace. Morton’s story caught the eye of Carrie Stone, wife of song writer Rod Stone. Carrie contacted Heeren and suggested that her husband write the music for the Marching Through Culpeper movie.

Rod Stone spent twenty years in Nashville where he had several songs recorded in the Country genre from artists like George Hamilton IV, Ricky Lee Watson, Crystal Gayle, and Jeff and Sheri Easter to Lee Greenwood who recorded and released his song, USA Today for the twenty-fifth anniversary of his famous song, God Bless the USA.” 

After reading Marching Through Culpeper, Stone began turning out songs that Virginia Morton called, “Perfect! They brought tears to my eyes!” Eventually the movie concept was transformed into a stage musical with the hope that someday this production will lead to a movie. 

Dave Yancey, song promoter said he admired Stone’s song, USA Today, and contacted him about it, thus beginning their friendship. When Yancey heard these two Marching Through Culpeper songs for the first time, the sound of war was long gone, and in his heart he heard the gentle yet powerful words of two people dedicating their lives to each other with the commitment that, Their Union Shall Be Strong. Dave believed the song was both pre- and post-wedding music in a message that never grows old or out of vogue.” 

Yancey was caught off guard when he heard the words to the twin song, My Love Will Never Die. He said, “The same beautiful emotion swelled up in his heart again.  And from a marketing perspective this song speaks of a love relationship that is seasoned and when tried and tested, embraces the assurance that My Love Will Never Die. These twin songs have a natural fit for funeral settings, as well as love relationships.” 

Yancey intends to market the sheet music and CDs of the songs through his Sacramento based company, Creative Marketing Plus. Dave believes the dual application will be immediately embraced and give a fresh face on Love and Loss that can only be experienced through these newly inspired songs written by Rod Stone. 

David Huntsinger, pianist, composer, songwriter, and arranger, moved from his native California to Nashville, TN, in 1976 and played for the Rambos. He co-wrote the song, Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome, with Dottie Rambo, as well as the children’s musical, Down By The Creek Bank.  In 1979 he left the Rambos to pursue a career as a studio pianist. He wrote and arranged music for the 1989 Grammy-winning album A Child’s Gift of Lullabyes, and arranged for and co-produced Andy Griffith’s 1996 Grammy-winning album, I Love To Tell The Story: 25 Timeless Hymns. He has worked with many artists, such as Sandi Patti, Steve Green, Kathy Troccoli, Michael Crawford, Glen Campbell, Carman, Larnelle Harris, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton. He toured with Vince Gill for a Christmas tour in 1999, and in 2001 for the Amy Grant/Vince Gill Christmas tour. He has also written a number of children’s musicals, as well as produced many albums of his own original works and arrangements. He played the piano for An Unfinished Life, and contributed to two songs heard in The Great Debaters.

 Huntsinger says, “When Rod Stone called me to help him arrange and record two songs that he wrote for a theatrical production of Morton’s Marching Through Culpeper I was excited. I love history and music from the American Civil War era. Then

Virginia sent me her novel, which enthralled me from the first page. Very soon I felt as though I was in Culpeper County, Virginia 150 years ago. I knew if the play captured the heart-tugging story that I’d read in Morton’s novel, it would be compelling on stage.”

Huntsinger stated, “I have known Rod Stone and his songs for almost twenty years, and when I heard the first two written for this production, I was struck by their timelessness and universality. They reflect his sophisticated song craftsmanship, a skill honed in Rod’s years as a commercial songwriter in Nashville, but they also sound as though they could have been written in the 19th century.” 

“The timeless classic quality of these songs must in a theatrical work not only define setting and time, but also transcend it,” said Huntsinger. “The upcoming Nashville recordings will feature compelling, American voices to portray the lead characters Constance and Aaron. We will also work with musicians whose credits include contributions to films like Cold Mountain and O, Brother, Where Art Thou? I look forward to these recording sessions and to capturing the heart of Rod Stone’s songs in the service of what I believe will be a stellar production.” 

When asked why someone from the West Coast would want to invest so much time in a Civil War story, Stone responded, “Truth! This story is dripping with real events and real history in a high-paced, dramatic form. Also, the characters were very captivating to me—Constance Armstrong, Aaron Ames and Frank Stringfellow in particular. Their personalities were so well defined that it was a joy to write their songs.” 

The search is on for talented performers/singers to bring these three beloved characters of Constance, Aaron and Stringfellow to life. The fourth key role to be cast is that of Sadie Jordan, Constance’s over 40 mammy. 

To give college students and working adults ample opportunity to audition for the four leading roles, auditions will be held on Sundays, March 4 and 11 at Culpeper United Methodist Church, 1233 Oaklawn Drive, Culpeper, Virginia 22701 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 6 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

For more information see http://www.marchingthroughculpeperonstage.com/auditions/ or contact Patricia Hill-Davidson of Kapak Talent Direct kapakdt.patricia@hotmail.com,  (571) 275-1069.

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