About one year ago I started writing a Christmas song that I shared here at the time.  Since then I have expanded the lyrics by adding a second verse, a bridge, and changing up the melody somewhat.  It is intended as a congregational worship song, or could be more of a performance song.  But anyway, please give it a listen at:  https://soundcloud.com/brilawmusic/silence-of-this-night-11-11-16/s...  (should take you to the original track in this discussion before resulting rewrites as of 12/9/16)

Your thoughts, feedback, or suggestions for improvement, are welcome.

Here are the lyrics and other song info:

Silence of this Night 
(Written by: Brian Lawson – Version 11/11/16) 
[Jeremiah 29:13 // Luke 2: 13-15 // Matt 1: 22 // Eph 2 :14 // John 14: 15-18; 25-27 // Psalm 34:1-8 // Rev 21:1-4]

Verse 1
In the silence of this night
Lord, we seek You with our whole heart 
We’ve heard no angels sing
Of the newborn King
Yet we know You’re with us here

Chorus
Immanuel, Immanuel
Your very presence is our peace
Immanuel, Immanuel
Taste of heaven in this place
Taste of heaven in this place

Verse 2
In the silence of this night
Though the darkness hinders our sight
Oh Savior do not hide
Be found at our side
Ever present, ever near

Bridge
Savior born long ago
Found in the present
Oh, God with us
Savior born long ago
Found in the present
Oh, God with us
Oh, God with us

Progression: 
[Verse 1, Chorus, Verse 2, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, End with “In the Silence of this night, Oh God with us, Oh God with us” ]

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This is nice.  I wish lines 1 and 2 would rhyme, since the same lines in verse 2 rhyme, and also because something about the phrase "our whole heart" doesn't quite sit well with me... if it's "our" it should probably be "hearts," anyway...

Something I'd be tempted to do if this was my lyric would be to replace the last line of the chorus with the title:

Immanuel, Immanuel
Your very presence is our peace
Immanuel, Immanuel
Taste of heaven in this place
In the silence of this night.

I think that would wrap up the verse / chorus combination nicely.

In the bridge, if this was mine, something about the word "Found" feels slightly off to me... it's one of those words that, when I got around to recording the vocal, it would suddenly hit me what the perfect word was and I'd fix it.  I don't know if "Present in the present" would be too cheezy or not, but that might be one of the variations I'd try.

As a lyric, I think this is something that could work as a congregationally sung thing, though I think it would have to move faster than the soundcloud recording does, maybe be more gentle than the piano, which kinda slams the chords out.  Arpeggiate that right hand more...

Hmm, would you mind if I did a guy & guitar variation on this and posted it back here with a couple lyric tweaks, maybe tried it as an offertory special at church one of these Advent Sundays ?  We haven't figured out what our offertories will be yet, this might be interesting...

Some real good thoughts, and thank you for listening and responding.  

I have struggled a bit with that "our whole heart(s)".  Initially I had "with our whole might" because I liked the rhyme better.  In a discussion at a Christian songwriter's circle meeting, someone suggested that "whole heart(s)" would seem more Biblical (Jeremiah 29:13-14 - "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." + other similar passages.)  So, the "heart(s)" was worth a try.  "Might" works, but there may be a better solution.

Regarding "Found" in the bridge, I don't have a problem with it since quite a bit of the song's point is that we do "find" Christ in the present.  Maybe there is a better synonym to replace it.

I would very much appreciate it if you played through this with your ideas.  I would love to hear what you come up with.  I am flexible on this one and would seriously consider your take on it.

Hey Charles,

I have added a pdf containing the current lyrics and chords of the song if that helps, tho I suspect you could probably figure out chords by ear.  The highlighted chords are where I could not find a specific chord for the notes that I am playing.  The chord may be some sort of suspended A, but my charts did not indicated that.  I spell out the left hand note first and underline it and then what I am playing on the right.  Anyway, that's the best I could do on chord labels.

Attachments:

Yeah, I'm already working up my own chart for this, adding in little notes about lyric tweaks and stuff.  I think I'll be able to sing it in E (the one place where the chorus goes real high I'm going to shift the melody down a little), but then for our band, we'll probably take it all the way down to C (lead singer is an alto).

When I do chord charts for our band, like this, I only show major or minor, I don't even show sus or 2 chords or any of that.  Right now, our instruments are just guitar, bass & drums, so I'm the only one adding that sort of flavor anyway...

Don't expect to have time to work on recording this for a few more days, but I am moving ahead on it...

Looks good.  I have played this in E, but ended up working out the chords in D where I thought my vocals were going.  I can't remember if I cheated and used my transpose button to go up to D# or E when I recorded the track on SoundCloud.  

Just looking through the lyrics, I like a few changes, but I'm not sure about others.  I'll wait and listen to your recording before evaluating too much.   In the bridge, you might consider "known" instead of "present".  I'm still thinking about that one.

Yeah, I won't know 'til I hear it.  I tend to do lots of lyric development during vocal tracking :-)

While driving today, I thought that "Alive in the present" is worth some consideration for the bridge.

Charles - After reviewing and thinking about all of your proposed changes so far, I prefer all of your lyric modifications except a couple:  

1)  I would not use "present in the present", but I would go with either the original "found in the present" or "alive in the present" - unless you have yet another idea.    

2)  I am not sure why you are crossing out "Oh" in the "Oh, God with us".  Do you mean to eliminate the "Oh"?  Would you replace it?   

No rush on the answers.  I am looking forward to hearing your rendition when you get a chance to work with the song.

Well, you'll like the fact that I ended up going with "Alive in the present."  You may not like that I sped it up as much as I did.  I had a bit of trouble pronouncing "Emanuel, Emanuel" consistently, most of the time it came out "Eee-manuel, Ih-manuel"  Anyway, here is how it came out...

Attachments:

I just have to say that I really enjoy your rendition of this song.  I certainly would be glad to know that you did it just this way for special music at church or whatever occasion.

As for how I will proceed from here, I plan to make lyric adjustments pretty close to what you do in your version of the song.  However, I will probably go with my original melody and pace (though picked up a little) as it reflects the mood that I imagine with the lyric theme.  

Really, thank you for all of your input and all of your work on this.  I would like to know how it goes if you perform this anywhere.  I will also send you a message privately on this.

Ok, here is my latest rewrite based on all of what has transpired through feedback and suggestions.

Sorry that I did not improve my piano play while I was singing.  I will work on that.  I agree that it gets monotonous in the piano as the song continues.

Listen at: https://soundcloud.com/brilawmusic/silence-of-this-night-12-9-16

Lyrics: 

Verse 1
In the silence of this night
Lord, we seek You with all our might 
We’ve heard no angels sing
Of a newborn King
Yet we know You’re with us here

Chorus
Immanuel, Immanuel
Your very presence is our peace
Immanuel, Immanuel
Taste of heaven in this place
In the silence of this night

Verse 2
In the silence of this night
Though the darkness hinders sight
Oh Savior do not hide
Be here at our side
Ever present, ever near

Bridge
Savior born long ago
Alive in the present
Oh, God with us
Savior born long ago
Alive in the present
Oh, God with us
Oh, God with us

Oops, sorry, the Chorus lyric should be now "Emmanuel" rather than "Immanuel".  The original was hard to pronounce in every instance through the chorus.

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