This is a place for me to share and document personal interests such as music, technology, and other writing. Please enjoy; I love to receive comments and hear back from you! And if there is something you'd like me to record or a tech question, please let me know! For more of an overview, see the "Who Am I?" and "Ministry Passions" tabs above.

Silent Night

A few years ago I stayed in a house at Montreat to do some song-writing. One of the things I experimented with was an alternate tune for "Silent Night." I realized that it was such a familiar song that the alternate tune would need to be also familiar so I modified the tune for "Amazing Grace" to use with it. No one I've played it for could pick that out, but they said it seemed familiar and singable, so I guess it worked! Our worship team did the arrangement the following Christmas with the congregation. During the next year our music director asked me if I would arrange it for SATB choir and that is what is below. (LINK)



One feature of this choral arrangement is that, in digging into the lyrics, I believed the second verse with the heavenly hosts singing was the climax (and with a choral arrangement each verse can be treated differently), so I tried to reflect that with the dynamics and accompaniment.

I also realized in digging into the lyrics of verse three that I had not been correctly reading one line that is intended as one thought: "love's pure light radiant beams from Thy holy face." When we sing the hymn we pause between 'light' and 'radiant' and it sounds like baby Jesus is shooting light beams from his face rather than radiant love. ('beams' is a verb!) Anyway, that's a fine point that I got to sharpen in my adaptation of the text.

The audio above is a recording of the Good Shepherd choir singing the arrangement, with Rick Bean playing the piano accompaniment and Eric VanderHeide directing.

Score (letter-sized) - if you are interested in the octavo size or a packet of music, please reach out to me at robert@robertaustell.com


And if you'd like the simple worship team arrangement, here's a link to that. (LINK) and audio (sorry for a few crackles as the audio was adjusted during the service):

Confirmation Sunday Song

In 1997, Gerrit Dawson and I wrote this song for our Confirmation class. I've continued to use it on Confirmation Sundays throughout the years. The lyrics are below the video.


NOW YOU MAKE IT YOUR OWN (Dawson/Austell)

God chose you in Christ before the world was made
He came here for you... the Word was enfleshed
In Jesus, on the cross, your sins were laid
So dying, then rising with him, you are kept

Long love foresaw this day, parents vowed before the throne
Friends in Christ showed the way; now you make it your own

God told his story through those in your home
Christ showered love as water was poured
The Spirit brought friends, you’re never alone
So in the Church, you share one faith, one Lord  CHORUS

The world will insist that you turn its way
But dear ones resist, remember this day!!

Before God and us, you make holy vows
The name of Jesus you confess in Word
And in your heart.  Each day you will follow
The Savior whose call to serve you have heard  CHORUS
I'm a little bit young for the early 70s era of "Jesus music" - except my parents played some of it in our house and I loved it. I couldn't play the guitar then, but by the time I was 7-8 I could sound out some things on piano and learned a few Chuck Girard, Pat Terry, and Keith Green songs. One of my all-time favorite songs was "I Can't Wait (to see Jesus)" by the Pat Terry Group. I think my dad had the album. But I loved the sound of it and the pictures of Heaven, as folksy as they were ("get my sleeping bag and roll").

It's very hard to find the song any more, even on YouTube. But I printed off the lyrics and learned it because I wanted to sing and hear it. I'll include them below under the video.



"I Can't Wait"
Pat Terry, 1975-ish

Just as the lightning comes out of the East,
And branches even to the West;
So shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
So put on your Sunday best,
Put on your Sunday best.

I can't wait to see Jesus;
In His glory as He bursts from the sky.
I can't wait to be held in His arms;
And see the glimmer in His eyes.

Tell me, how it's gonna be;
Read it from the Bible again.
I can't wait to see Jesus;
Cause Jesus is coming again.


I can't wait to hear trumpets;
Cause I know what they mean when they sound.
I can't wait to cast off my burden;
And feel my feet leave the ground. Chorus

I can't wait to see Heaven;
And to walk those streets of gold.
I can't wait to check into my mansion;
And get my sleeping bag and roll.

Emmaus Road (Burning Hearts)

I haven't recorded a song video in a while, but had some time off this morning. With Easter just behind us, I remembered that story of Jesus appearing to the two on the road out of Jerusalem. They had not yet heard of the resurrection and found themselves marveling at the conversation with this traveler until they finally recognized him. They said to each other afterwards, "Weren't our hearts burning within (as he walked and talked with us)."

I wrote this song with my friend, Gerrit Dawson years ago (1998) to use in a worship service. It has remained one of my favorite "sermon-songs."