God’s Orchestrations in the Life of Musician Brock Snow
- Liberty student Brock Snow began composing music in middle school, and joined the symphony orchestra his freshman year at Liberty.
- This year marks the third year that Snow’s arrangement of “Carol of the Bells” will be played at Christmas on the Boulevard.
“I never would have thought that a piece of mine would make it in the canon repertoire of a college…” senior Brock Snow said. “That wasn’t something that I planned on doing but it was really amazing. Those are opportunities you don’t expect to have and you take them as they come.”
Snow is a commercial music major with a film score concentration. He is also the composer of an arrangement of the popular Christmas piece “Carol of the Bells” that has been performed twice at the School of Music’s Christmas on the Boulevard performances and will be featured in Tuesday night’s “Christmas Ornaments” concert as well as Friday night’s “President’s Encore Performance.”
Although Snow completed his first composition in middle school, his passion for writing music didn’t really take off until high school. With “Carol of the Bells,” he said he wanted to make something epic combined with a Christmas song.
“Honestly, it was just one of many projects I did throughout high school,” Snow said. “I experimented with a lot of ideas and that was one of them.”
Upon arriving at Liberty as a freshman, Snow was introduced by some family friends to Dr. John Kinchen, the orchestra director for Liberty’s School of Music, who had already shown some of Snow’s work. Soon, Snow began playing cello in the symphony orchestra under the leadership of Kinchen. Within a few weeks, Kinchen approached Snow and asked him to take the “Carol of the Bells” track he had written and turn it into a full orchestration.
“It took a lot of faith on Dr. Kinchen’s part, but he asked anyways,” Snow said.
That began the process of creating the “Carol of the Bells” arrangement that has become so popular today. It was Snow’s first time doing a full orchestration for live instrumentalists and vocalists. Snow reached out to those around him for wisdom and made many changes along the way.
“I can’t tell you how many questions I was asking,” Snow laughed.
The lyrics that accompany the piece were mostly direct quotes pulled from Isaiah 40 with the addition of a few of Snow’s own words. Snow finished the process in time for it to be performed that year at the 2014 Christmas on the Boulevard concert.
Looking back to that first performance and hearing his piece being played for the first time, Snow remembered how overwhelmed he felt.
“I didn’t feel anything at all,” Snow said. “You get excited obviously but you don’t know what to feel. It is just something that you in the moment have to accept and keep going and process later.”
This year will now be the third performance of his “Carol of the Bells” arrangement.
“It is really wonderful when you see the final product, but it is not so much an emphasis on an individual person as much as it is all the combined work people have done to make it come together,” Snow reflected.
A video recording of last year’s performance already has over 8,500 views and his original soundtrack has over 72,000 views.
Snow has used his platform to encourage those around him. He advised that students who hope to achieve great things should take initiative. Sharing his own experience, he said, “I didn’t wait for anyone to tell me to write an epic piece or finally told me it was okay.”
According to Snow, community involvement is also crucial.
“I would say more than anything else, …get to know the people in your community because you will learn most from your peers, especially as a composer,” Snow said.
Having such a large and positive reputation is not the most important thing to Snow. Instead, getting to know people for who they are rather than just the spectacular thing they have done is what he has learned is the most valuable.
Overall, Snow said his favorite memory was seeing his dad cry at the first performance in 2014.
While this is Snow’s first semester not being in the symphony orchestra since coming to Liberty, he still joins as his schedule allows and will be performing with them for the concerts. For Snow, one of the most meaningful parts was seeing the unification of the student body in support of his piece, how excited they were to play it together as a large group.
Attributing the widespread success of his piece to God, Snow said that He is truly “the Orchestrator and without Him, it would still just be a video on YouTube.”
Looking to the future, Snow smiled and said, “Anything could happen, but what has already happened has been wonderful.”