“Sharing Time: Fun with Favorites,” Friend, Oct. 1985, 14
Ideas for writing songs can come in many ways. Some Primary songs, such as “Love One Another,” begin with a scripture. Sometimes a poem written by one person is given a melody and accompaniment by another person. “He Sent His Son,” was written this way. Occasionally a composer or author is asked to write a song to explain or teach a particular principle of the gospel. “I Know My Father Lives” and “Families Can Be Together Forever” are examples of this method.
Songs can also originate with the words of a child—“Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree”—or with a teacher and children pretending—“Once There Was a Snowman.” Songs may also be about an important experience in the future, the past, or the present—“I Love to See the Temple” and “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.”
Here is some interesting information about a few of the people who have written favorite Primary songs. You can use it to make a matching game to play with a friend or during family home evening.
Mount page on heavy paper. Read information, cut out each rectangle, then turn all rectangles facedown.
First player turns over two rectangles. Unless both an illustrated song title and the name of the composer/author that matches it appear, rectangles are turned facedown again, and next player takes turn.
When player turns over matching song and writer, he keeps both rectangles and takes another turn.
Play until all songs are matched. Player with the most rectangles wins.
Use composer/author information to teach or review these favorite Primary songs.
Look in various Church songbooks to find other songs written by these composer/authors.
Continue Sharing Time staff (Friend, October 1984, pages 14–15) by making eight new notes for songs. Use for choose and review, or use to experiment with making melodies.
Make list of favorite Primary songs in your ward. Each class could pick favorite, teachers could share their favorites, and bishop could name one he particularly enjoyed as a boy. Sing each song before adding it to list.
Older children could use songbook to locate a song. The first one to do so could then read aloud information about composer/author.
Georgia W. Bello
Georgia W. Bello is a Church-trained musician. She developed her talents as she served in Church callings.
One spring when the orchards in Magna, Utah, were blossoming, Sister Bello’s young son said, “Oh, look, Mother … popcorn’s popping on the apricot tree!” Some years later, when Sister Bello was a Primary music leader, her son’s words came back to her, and she wrote the song that includes his words.
Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree
Luacine Clark Fox
Luacine Clark Fox feels that music is the most heavenly of all the arts. She says, “When we sing to Heavenly Father, it is like praying.”
Sister Fox once wrote and appeared on a children’s radio program, “Storytelling Time,” and she is still active in writing and directing plays.
Her “Love One Another” is part of an Easter cantata and is about the “new commandment” that the Savior gave His apostles at the Last Supper.
He Sent His Son
Brother Nibley, a concert pianist and BYU faculty member, was asked to write a song about testimony. He wrote quickly because the words and music came at the same time. “I Know My Father Lives” was very simple, so Brother Nibley began adding notes. It became more and more complicated, so he erased all the unnecessary notes. When he finished erasing, the song was just as it had been written the first time!
I Hope They Call Me on a Mission
I Love to See the Temple
Mabel Jones Gabbott
Mabel Jones Gabbott lives in Bountiful, Utah. She grows roses and cherries. “I love to hear children sing,” she says.
Sister Gabbott has written many poems. Some of her poems have been given melodies. The poem for “He Sent His Son” was written, she says, “when I was wondering about our Father in Heaven sending His spirit children to earth to be tested. How could He teach them the way to return to Him? The answer: He sent His Son.”
Families Can Be Together Forever
Michael Finlinson Moody
“Music is a tool for building families,” says Brother Moody. “It can bring a sweet spirit into the home. My family sings before scripture reading, before meals, and when we’re traveling in our car. Brother Moody is chairman of the General Church Music Committee.
Every year Brother Moody writes a Christmas song for his family and friends. For “He Sent His Son,” he wrote a musical phrase that emphasizes the message in each question and answer.
Love One Another
Vanja Yorgason Watkins
Vanja Yorgason Watkins has always loved to sing. She was a television music teacher, and she has served for many years on the Primary General Board and the General Church Music Committee.
Sister Watkins was asked to set “Families Can Be Together Forever” to music. “The Lord blessed me as I worked, and I completed the song for a children’s sacrament meeting presentation,” she explained.
K. Moiselle Renstrom
K. Moiselle Renstrom (1889–1956) was a teacher who had the gift of “becoming as a little child.” She thrilled to new ideas and discoveries with her students and shared their enjoyment of learning.
Her songs were compiled into books. Rhythm Fun, Merrily We Sing, and Musical Adventures have been used throughout the world. Her “Once There Was a Snowman” is one of today’s Primary favorites.
Families Can Be Together Forever
Janice Kapp Perry
Janice Kapp Perry grew up on a farm in Oregon. When she could, she traveled to the Idaho Falls Temple to do baptisms for the dead. “I Love to See the Temple” reflects her feelings on those trips.
The Perry family is a missionary family. Writing music to build testimonies is Sister Perry’s “mission” until the time when she and her husband serve a regular mission together.
Once There Was a Snowman
Newel Kay Brown
Newel Kay Brown likes to oil paint and teach piano. He also teaches theory and composition at North Texas State University.
When he was a young boy, his mother accompanied him at the piano while he sang his favorite song, “A Mormon Boy.” When he was asked to write a song about missionary work, he wrote a song for the youth of the Church to help shape their testimonies: “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.”
I Know My Father Lives
Ruth Muir Gardner
Ruth Muir Gardner, a member of the Primary General Board, likes to read and write poetry and stories, play and teach piano, and work crossword puzzles. When she was asked to help write a sacrament meeting presentation about temples, she began thinking of all the things children should know about temple work. Her words became a poem, “Families Can Be Together Forever,” which is also in the new hymnbook.
He Sent His Son