Far, Far Away
Far, Far Away is an arrangement of the famous hymn, Far, Far Away On Judea’s Plains, written by John Menzies MacFarlane. Calvin is currently in the process of recording the song and hopes to release it before Christmas this year, 2015.
My grandmother Beth always took great pride in our Scottish MacFarlane heritage. For every Christmas since as long as I can remember (at least when Grandma was present) we would traditionally sing the now famous Christmas song written by my great, great, great grandfather John Menzies MacFarlane, Far, Far Away On Judea’s Plains.
John Menzies was a Scottish immigrant who came to American and eventually settled in Southern Utah. Among his many talents and occupations, he was asked to direct a choir in Saint George. One night, not long before an upcoming Christmas performance, he awoke in the middle of the night with the song in his head. He woke up his wife and asked her to hold the candlelight for him while he sat at their organ and furiously wrote the notes and lyrics, working out the details.
The song always came across to me as kind of a fun, bouncy march which one could fit into a boisterous family party the way we get into so many other Christmas tunes. But over the years as I’ve matured, learned more about my history, and my sense of the importance of family and the importance of Christ’s birth has deepened, so has my understanding of what John MacFarlane must have felt as he wrote.
This last year, I was tinkering on the piano and began to hear an alternative mood to the hymn. While adapting the music, I felt I suddenly had a voice in expressing the deep sentiments I feel regarding the meaning of Jesus’s birth, the meaning of family, and the great potential possessed by mankind.
My grandmother passed away this year and left a noticeable space in many lives. I dedicate this version to her for the ever brilliant legacy she left emphasizing the importance of family connection both in the present, past and future.