In early 1998, following the death of Mr. Goettee's father in late 1996, his mother expressed her wish for David to record their favorite hymns and songs. In collaboration together they developed the list of hymns and songs to be included on this recording.
David put on hold the then ongoing work recording the Romantic Duets album, and focused all attention on recording this album, Hymns and Songs for Living.
However, due to intervening events in the lives of both David and his Phase I producer, after the death of his mother, completion of this album (and all other recordings) eventually got put on hold for a number of years. Fortunately, the major foundation for this album and its companion parts had been completed, and efforts are back on tract to complete it by the end of 2020.
The project consisted of three significantly different separate parts:
After his mother's request for David to record her and his father's favorite hymns and songs, they collaborated in selecting the list of hymns and songs to include on the album. With 5 exceptions, the numbers selected are old favorite hymns that came from their review of the hymnals his parents had collected over their lives as the churches they attended replaced their hymnals. But 2 of those 5 still came from the same hymnals. Those 2 are more commonly considered service songs/benedictions, rather than hymns. (The dropdown local menu above left provides a link to the playlist of hymns and songs included.)
One of the exceptions that is neither a hymn or service song is Welcome Home, by Ms. Kathy Brigman Haupt. A detailed discussion of why the song was written and why it was very special to David's mother, who wanted it include, is found under the dropdown link above left for Kathy Brigman Haupt: Composer, Welcome Home.
Since it is largely an unknown song, here's a little of the story for why it is included. Ms. Brigman Haupt wrote it as a memorial tribute for her grandmother she was very close to when her grandmother suddenly died on a trip to help another grand daughter in Alaska. Ms. Haupt's grandmother was the sister of David's mother (i.e., David's Aunt), and David's mother loved the song written for her sister's memorial by her sister's grand-daughter.
Kathy later sent a framed copy of the lyrics to David's mother, where the hung on her bedroom wall until she died. David now has those framed original lyrics. (Kathy also sang this song at the memorial service for David's mother.)
The second of the exceptions is the song Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring. This came from his father's love of more classical music.
The third of the exceptions is a wedding song variation on a Bach classical song David sang at his parents rededication on their 50th wedding anniversary, Be Thou With Them.
There is no question these three are categorized as songs, rather than hymns (Welcome Home; Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring; and Be Thou with Them). There are differences of opinion whether the 2 others that were selected from the hymnals should also be considered as non-hymns. Some consider 2 of the numbers to be service or doxology songs rather than hymns. They are:
All of these hymns and songs are largely in the style of ballads.
All hymns and songs are public domain, except:
Ms. Kathy Haupt, the author and composer of Welcome Home, gave permission for her song to be arranged and used on this recording.
The collaboration for choosing the list of hymns and songs also included a decision that critically redirected TortoiseClimbing's efforts. That decision flowed from their discussions regarding what the recording should be, and how it should be distributed, i.e., should it be:
David's mother wanted the Hymns and Songs album:
Those decisions redefined TortoiseClimbing's future.
Mr. Goettee and Ms. Gerber-Salins worked with the mostly traditional congregational hymns and songs they grew up with, and completed draft recordings for all portions of the project. Every weekend until late August of 1998 David took copies of the latest draft recordings to play for his mother and the friends assisting her to be part of the progress being made on the requested recording. She was thrilled with the progress, but sadly did not live to hear the final recording.
Following his mother's death, a major hiatus of many years' duration occurred, because of various preemptions in the lives of both Mr. Goettee and Ms. Gerber-Salins.
For Phase I of the recording, Ms. Gerber-Salins was:
This phase of the project began in January of 2019 when Mr. Goettee was able to again focus his energies on this project, and undertook completing all its parts. Because Ms. Gerber-Salins was no longer available, David assummed the role of producer. In that role, he identified and coordinated completion of the remaining pieces needed to create each hymn and song as a quality product.
Work during Phase II was informed by the discussions and notes Mr. Goettee and Ms. Gerber-Salins had developed during the intervening years for what harmony additions and changes in the mixes would benefit the recording.
For recording engineer and associate producer, David was able to return to working with Mr. Bill McElroy, who located and facilitated participation of several needed artists from the Ashland, VA area:
As part of making this quality recording, a number of artists collaborated (instrumental, vocal and technical) providing their wealth of training, experience and skills to create this album. Each is addressed on separate credit pages. Organization of credit pages are grouped by when the artists were involved, i.e., within the two major phases of Hymns and Songs for Living:
The cross references webpage enables finding any artist or instrument from the cross references.
Information about the companion Hymn History book is found under Publications. That book provides extensive details about each of the hymns and songs included on this recording, and their places in history. The category of Publications can be reached by selecting that choice on the Top menu. For easy click access if you want to jump directly to the write up on the companion hymn history book, it is found at: History Stories: Hymns and Songs for Living.