As part of our ongoing series of interviews, Pepper had the opportunity to sit down with arranger and composer Heather Sorenson. A church pianist since the age of 7, Heather has lived in the midst of sacred music for her entire life.
She began arranging as a junior high school student after coming in second in a performance competition to a young woman who had arranged her own piece. For the next ten years, Heather made a name for herself as a talented and knowledgeable pianist with a profound talent for arranging sacred music.
It was composer Joe Martin who first approached Heather Sorenson about creating her own original piece. At the time, she felt embarrassed about the fact that she had never composed before, but she agreed to try. The result was “God of Heaven,” the song that put Heather on the map in the choral industry.
According to Heather, the greatest inspiration comes from her personal faith journey. She lets her music reflect her relationship with God and the experiences she has had. Her pieces are often inspired by words or excerpts from religious texts that have spoken to her over the years. This inspiration can come from both contemporary and traditional worship styles, and she is known to blend these two sources in unique ways. Above all, however, is her drive to bring authenticity to every piece she writes. In her mind, it is this level of authenticity that has led to the popularity of her pieces in such a wide range of worship communities.
Her latest project is a Christmas cantata called “The Silence and the Sound.” The inspiration for this piece came to her while reading through the hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” which she uses as the anchor for the cantata. The forty-minute piece is set for SATB choir with optional solos, children’s choir, and congregation participation.
View the entire playlist on the J.W. Pepper blog or on the J.W. Pepper YouTube channel.
I had a sleepless night and tripped across this interview with Heather Sorenson. I have had the blessing of one on one lessons with her and was charmed by her once again through watching the videos . I came away with a fresh perspective of the Christian writing craft. Thanks much for providing these on your website. I will be watching for more.
Hi Bobbi, I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview. If you’re interested in the topic of Christian choral writing, we recently published a blog about Joseph Martin, and we have several others coming out over the next several months, so please do come back for more!