I’m not famous by any means, nor do I want to be. I’m not wealthy and I don’t hold any powerful position in business. These things just don’t interest me. Sure I want to be able to provide for my family and be satisfied with the work that I do. But that’s a much different kind of success than what many in the world would have us think.

I have a loving family, a great church, rewarding work and a passion for music. God is taking care of me and I am thankful. And the fact that I get to share my music with you is a direct result of yet another simple success in my life. And recently it came about through an unlikely organization called KICKSTARTER.

You may or may not know about this company, and if you don’t I highly recommend that you browse their site at www.kickstarter.com. You see, when I felt it was time to record my latest CD, I was led to examine how I might go about providing funds to do so since I didn’t have the funds to do it on my own. This is where Kickstarter came in, by providing a vehicle for people to be able to contribute to my project.

I had no idea if it would work and I was completely green to this concept. Yet as they say, “the Lord works In mysterious ways.” Not only were the funds raised in just 30 days, but 90% of the funds were raised in just the first 72 hours! The funds raised in total even exceeded the initial goal AND not only was the project produced as promised, but I was able to give away over 100 complimentary CDs to various healthcare facilities, senior centers, rehab programs, and ministry
partners. All because of the people who believed in me and this project, and pledged their support through Kickstarter!

Since the release of this CD, people all around the world have been sharing their stories with me about how this music is touching their hearts. Here are a few to check out for yourself:

“I wanted to write you a quick note to tell you how amazing ‘Arise’ is. I am sitting in my room listening and I felt God just come over me, and my shoulders dropped probably 2-3 inches. I watched them just drop as the weight of stress was lifted off them. They physically fell — I cannot put to words how amazing of a feeling/miracle it was/is, especially as I haven’t been able to move my shoulders like that in a few months. God is good! I cannot get over it!!”
– Sarah from Massachusetts

“Thanks so much for sending the inspiring CDs that arrived yesterday. I took them to work today and my staff was thrilled. We believe they will provide great comfort to our military community.”
– Ric (Military Chaplain) from North Carolina

“I spent the evening listening and I felt deeply touched, this was much more than I expected . . . Your improvisation I found exceptionally well done, it carries the vibration of sadness and hope at the same time and I am looking forward to using it with my groups. Currently I am working 3 days per week with a woman suffering from cancer whose doctors have given up (simply give drugs to ease the pain), so when I go there tomorrow I am going to take the additional CD you sent.”
– Dirk from The Netherlands

“…today was a very difficult day for me. I am taking care of my best friend, who has a severe kind of cancer that is very aggressive. After 3 weeks of being away from family, I decided that I need to go home to them. I am so blessed with their love, I was feeling empty. I have wrestled with this decision all week while she was in the hospital and was feeling sad. Today, I received . . . your CD . . . I put it on and listened to it twice and it calmed my soul. So beautiful and calming. Thank you for your love and music and wisdom. I love it.”
– Karen from Rhode Island

During the recording of this project, I recorded a few additional hymn improvisations that didn’t make it on the album (there just wasn’t enough room!). These extra tracks are not currently available for sale, but as a thank you for being one of my subscribers I want to give one of them to you for free – no strings attached.

Download my version of Abide with Me here:
www.petervantine.com/samples/Abide-with-Me.mp3 (Right-click to save it to your hard drive)

If you like this track you might also consider checking out Prayerful Improvisations. It’s my latest album and it’s full of solo piano originals and hymn tunes in similar style. Maybe it can bring you peace, comfort and enjoyment as well.

God bless,
– Peter Vantine

To understand the relevancy of music in our worship of God, one need only do a quick word search at an online Bible website. Search for “music” — 128 instances. Try the word “instrument” or actual instrument names — 280 in all. How about “song,” “sing” or “sang” — nearly 300 in various iterations! The scriptures are filled with account after account of music being used to praise and worship God, often even stated as a command. Just read Psalm 150! God wants us to draw near to Him when we worship, as close as humanly possible, and He knows that music has a way of drawing in the hardest of hearts. We melt before the Savior when we engage in worship through song, especially when that song has a deep meaning for us. And when we find ourselves not as enthused with particular songs, we can still find joy in hearing the truths of our faith proclaimed in beautifully written lyrics while witnessing our brothers and sisters in Christ embrace the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst.

So how is that relevant to our worship? Perhaps the question to ask is “How is that NOT relevant?” Read this: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” – Philippians 2:9-13 (NIV, emphasis added)

This passage was never intended to make a connection to music used in worship, but nevertheless I think it reveals to us two key factors in our use of music in worship. First, the name of Jesus is proclaimed in our singing, our playing of instruments, and in the offering of our musical gifts used for God’s glory. As we proclaim His name as our Lord and Savior, we place ourselves under Jesus and give of ourselves to Him completely. We submit to His authority as we worship in song, and if done “in spirit and in truth” then the Holy Spirit is revealed to us in the midst of our worship. God Himself makes His presence known to us as we worship Him! WOW! How humbling is that? Shouldn’t we want more of that when we gather together in His name?

Second, this passage points out (among many) that as we are worshipping, singing, praying together, and as the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in our midst, we are charged to “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.” As our hearts and minds are moved closer to Christ, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our need for salvation and in a sense we are meant to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of what that means, of what Jesus has done for each and every one of us — taking our sin upon Himself and carrying that burden to the cross. God doesn’t want us to be “afraid” of our salvation, but to take it seriously and be in awe of it! And when we do . . . oh boy! “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Through His salvation, He blesses us by working inside us to fulfill his good purpose. How can we go wrong? Let us commit together to passionately seek the Lord in our worship as we sing and make music in honor of Him. Trust that our GOD is relevant like no other.

May God be glorified and His music continue to touch our hearts and lives.

– Peter Vantine

Here is a video I put together with some beautiful imagery, featuring the piece “Arise” from my latest CD Prayerful Improvisations. I hope you enjoy listening and watching. Continue reading below to find out how I got started and how you are such an important part of my music…

“Play something for us, dear!” I heard this a lot growing up. At family gatherings, at school, at church, even just hanging out with my friends (although my friends usually dropped the “dear”). It’s funny, as soon as I learned my first song, King of the Road, at age seven, I knew I would continually be put on the spot to play piano for friends and family members wherever I went. Thankfully, this did not deter me from a lifelong love and passion for music. Growing up in a very musical and artistic family, I guess it was inevitable that something would eventually rub off.

Music was always an escape for me. Maybe that’s why I shied away from performing for those close to me. Oddly enough, I had no problem playing in front of 500 strangers! I think because I would lose myself in the music. Especially the piano. It was my haven, my getaway, my sanctuary. Don’t get me wrong, I loved moving people with music. Still do! But I found a special bond, a freedom, when I was alone with my music . . . just a boy and his piano. Little did I know what a profound impact this connection to music would have on me later in life.

My first concert performance experience was at age eight and I continued to perform regularly throughout my childhood. I studied with many piano and composition teachers, each one providing something unique to my musical education. I went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Film Scoring and Music Production & Engineering from Berklee College of Music, a Master’s in Music Education from Boston University, ran my own recording studio, founded a nonprofit music and arts organization, served as Director of Music for six years at a private PK-12 school, and currently serve as Pastor of Music & Administration at Middleton Congregational Church (Massachusetts) where I have ministered for 25 years. During all of this I continued to perform and produce concerts while cultivating my craft. “Play something for us, dear!”

But as Snoopy often writes on his trusty typewriter, “It was a dark and stormy night” one winter in 1986 when I drove my car off the road while driving through the center of Boston. I was suffering from yet another anxiety attack.

This was during my first year in college and a lot had happened since graduating high school just 7 months earlier. The “panic attacks” as people were calling them had increased in occurrence and severity. I was lost in a sea of anxiety and didn’t know what was happening to me. It wasn’t like any one traumatic thing had set this into motion, but I suppose a number of small things added up over time and culminated into these increasing episodes. It was no picnic. I sought counseling, changed a few things in my life, and within six months had it “under control.” I was able to manage it but never fully recovered from it. Until I met God . . . in Florida.

It sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true. It was 1989 and I was at Berklee finishing up my undergrad degree. I had been hired as the choir director and organist at the church where I currently minister, and was looking to develop my skills and knowledge in church music. I really hadn’t been involved with church music before, but the fact that my family grew up in this church and that I could adapt quickly to the tracker pipe organ was a plus in the hiring process. So I attended a church music seminar early that year . . . yes, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I have to admit I was pretty psyched to be going to Florida for a week right in the middle of a New England winter!

It was there that I not only discovered a love for sacred music, but I discovered a greater love that I had never experienced before. I was welcomed into this particular community so warmly by all those who gathered at this conference. It was overwhelming. In that week I experienced the love of God through His people in a very tangible way, like never before. Before I left Fort Lauderdale, I sat alone on my bed in my hotel room and asked Jesus to come into my life. From that moment on, any anxiety I continued to harbor gradually dissipated until it was no more. It wasn’t an overnight phenomenon and still involved a lot of work, but I am confident that I would still be an anxious mess had it not been for encountering God that evening in my hotel room.

“Play something for us, dear.” This now has new meaning for me because when I hear it in my head, I picture hearing it from God. I have devoted my life to glorifying God through music. Sure I have stumbled and hit roadblocks along the way. I have also had some interesting triumphs in my music career: grand prize recipient of the 2001 Turner Classic Movies Young Composer’s Competition, produced over 30 music CDs (many of which include my own music) while arranging or performing on many others, having music featured in the concert setting as well as on television including The Biography Channel, The Discovery Channel, MTV, PBS, and more. But none of it compares to when I sit at the piano and play for Him.

Over the years I have developed the ability to improvise; improvisation for worship in particular. I do this in church during Communion by improvising on a hymn tune or something completely original, during prayer times in church or smaller gatherings, and most often when I’m by myself at the piano having a conversation with God. My prayer time. Just a boy and his piano . . . sharing my thoughts with the Lord Almighty. And He listens! How amazing is that!

So now here I am almost 40 years later from when I played those first notes of King of the Road, and I find myself seeking opportunities to share this experience with others through music. My most recent album project, Prayerful Improvisations, is a realization of this goal. This CD was completely improvised as a means to share my own prayer and worship experiences with you, the listener. Because after all, YOU are ultimately the reason for God’s call in my life.

Perhaps the experiences I have had and strive to capture in my music will touch your heart and bring you hope, strength, wisdom and peace. Perhaps you will feel the love of God and the love I have to share through my music. Perhaps it will simply be a pleasant listening experience. Any of these things would be terrific and I feel blessed to have you come along for the journey. And if nothing else, just know that you have purpose and meaning in this world. God is ready for you and calling out to you: “Play something for us, dear.”

Thanks and God bless!

– Peter Vantine