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> New CD Carried Away By Janice Faber, CD
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Posted: 20-Sep-2011, 04:28 PM
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“To be carried away by music... what a gift,” states solo pianist Janice Faber. “Music can take us to a different place in our mind or create a feeling we didn’t have just moments before. Music can bring us peace, and touch our spirits like nothing else can. That's the beauty of music; it can simply carry us away.”

On her third album, Carried Away, Faber musically captures a wide variety of emotions, images and moments inspired by people, places and even different times of the day. More information about Faber is at her website (jancefaberpiano.com).

“Other things I love to get carried away with -- laughter, time with my family, a praiseworthy worship service, a sunset on the beach, performing for an appreciative audience, reading a good book, planting a flower garden, picking blueberries with my children. These are the experiences that bring me joy on a daily basis," says Faber.

“When I sit at my piano and compose or improvise, I'm lost in time, swept away simultaneously with the music and what I see outside. I watch the seasons change. Sometimes I analyze little things like snowflakes and raindrops. I notice the graceful shadows made on the wall by a tree and its leaves fluttering. Being carried away by a few minutes of daydreaming can serve as a release from all the pressures and stress of day-to-day living. Obviously music can help all of us with that process of relaxation and momentary escapism.”

Following two albums of her solo piano arrangements of traditional church hymns, Faber recorded original solo piano music on Carried Away. She creates her compositions several different ways. Sometimes she works out the melody lines in advance and other times she just sits at the piano and plays within the moment until a theme emerges that she feels like pursuing. Either way she elaborates on the melody with extensive improvisation. “To make it work,” she explains, “I really have to listen to what is unfolding and concentrate. When I am pleased with the direction the music is going, I ask myself, ‘What comes next?’, and I am excited to find out.” Sometimes this process takes minutes, other times months. The resulting music bridges between new age, neo-classical and acoustic ambient with hints of church hymns and jazz-improv.

Faber brings to her music eight years of intensive study of classical music (and a college degree) along with three decades of performing regularly at church services (solo, accompanying choral groups, with small ensembles and as part of an orchestra). Faber also performs regularly at weddings as well as community and corporate events.

Faber believes in hope, prayer, imagination, peace and gentleness. These are some of the themes she explores on Carried Away. She begins the album with the tune “Looking Forward” and also includes a piece titled “Tomorrow’s Hope.” “I think it's incredibly important to try to focus on remaining hopeful. Our attitudes affect everything."

There are several other compositions that explore twin-like themes such as “Gift of Joy” and “Gracious Gift.” Faber explains that “anything that brings joy is a worthwhile gift -- a smile, praise, conversation, help, love, gratitude -- the list is long. It is important to remember there are two sides to gift-giving. Both the giver and receiver need to be gracious. And, of course, God gave us the ultimate gifts of life and everlasting life.”

“Morning Prayer” explores the idea of music used as a prayer. “Every day is a fresh start and a chance to make life better. I can't think of a better way to start the day than with prayer.” She also explores the end of the day with “Nocturne” and “Night Music.” “Both tunes are nods to my classical music background, and I felt both also captured the feeling of the night hours, and created a visual of the night sky.”

The tune “Imagining” represents how Faber uses her imagination while creating her music, and how she allows the music to develop in an improvisational, natural way. Similarly, “Passing Through” can represent a day, a place, or a season or all of life, but she also feels it is important to recognize where you are by looking both backward and forward. Faber explains, "'Peace Be Still’ encourages quiet meditation because often in stillness you can find peace within yourself. 'Gentle Soul' is about those special people with the innate gift of gentleness. 'Steadfast' is the comfort of holding onto something solid that you can trust. 'Hero' was inspired by a photo I saw in the newspaper of the last living American World War I veteran.”

Toward the end of the CD, Faber includes “Neverending” (a tune she wrote when she was 11-years-old) and “Strand of Three Chords” (variations on only three musical chords, but also a play on the words “a cord of three strands” which traditionally gives rope its strength; this is also a reference to a passage of scripture often read at weddings).

As a small child, Janice was drawn to the piano, completely fascinated by the keyboard. At six she began to play by ear the music she heard around her. Starting at the age of ten, she could be found on the piano bench at church every Sunday accompanying the worshipers at the tiny church she attended in South Carolina. A few years later her music teacher discovered Janice has the gift of perfect pitch -- the ability to identify notes, chords and keys on various instruments just by listening. She began improvising and composing at an early age.

Through high school and college Janice dedicated herself to studying and performing classical music including works by Debussy, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Brahms. Faber says, “I was hugely influenced by classical music. It seeped deep into my soul and will always be a part of me.” She spent summers studying at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. She also received statewide recognition when she won the South Carolina Music Teachers Association Concerto Competition performing the Saint-Saëns “Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor.” She went on to study piano with William Phemister of the Wheaton College Conservatory, graduating with honors from Wheaton College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music. After college she spent a year living in Atlanta where she regularly performed piano at Saks Fifth Avenue. After moving to Michigan, she began playing at a large church with 3,000 members where services often include playing with an orchestra.

Faber’s first CD, Rest Assured - Hymns on Piano, was traditional church music arranged by Faber as quiet, gentle, lullaby-like solo piano music that she used for her own children at the end of the day to calm them down, relax them and get them to sleep. On its release Janice discovered the music was being used by people of all ages who needed peace, comfort and rest whether from the stresses of life or when facing an illness. Her second album, Measures of Grace, continued her interpretation of great hymns, but utilized a broader palette of sounds and arrangements.

“Music can not only carry you away, but also help carry you through,” says Faber. “Music has the ability to change a person -- your mood, your feelings or even your way of looking at life. It can carry the listener into a whole other realm and bring all kinds of emotions to the surface. Music is such a powerful medium. I want to share peace and hope through my music, and to be a blessing to others.

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