Headphones and sheet music


The Lockdown Composer


Sarah Jo Wood lives in the UK, is a full-time worker and had not undertaken any music since school 25 years ago.  Back then, Sarah played the flute but, like many teenagers, didn’t have the patience to apply this or learn any theory!  

One Christmas Day Sarah accepted a challenge to write a Christmas carol for the following year.  Sarah readily accepted the challenge and purchased a keyboard and started to learn the necessary computer software.   Sarah quickly composed ‘Behold the King’ in her head but then had the challenge of getting it from her head and into the computer and onto virtual instruments. 

The success of completing ‘Behold the King’ inspired Sarah to want to continue composing.  The questions were:  What to compose? and How to find the time?  Then COVID-19 happened and Sarah, like everyone in the UK, went into Lockdown.

Since school Sarah had carried a particular melody in her head but wasn’t sure what it was or how to apply it.  Then as both Lent and Lockdown started Sarah felt a calling that the melody reminded her of Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest and crucifixion. 

This gave Sarah the inspiration to take the melody and develop it to tell the story of Jesus’ time on that fateful evening.  Sarah also realised that to capture the full range of emotions from that evening she would need to compose for a full orchestra, for the first time. 

Strangely, once Sarah made that link the orchestral piece came quickly into her head.  Sarah found that she knew exactly what she wanted in the music but had to get the keyboard, virtual instruments and software to cooperate!  Sarah’s other challenge was writing a full orchestra for the first time (having only played the flute back at school all those years ago).  This was a real time of learning for Sarah: how should each instrument be played? what could they do? how should they talk to each other? and how could they create feeling, emotions and love?

Having persevered and completed ‘Gethsemane’, Sarah felt the same calling to continue writing to complete telling the full Easter story.  As Lockdown continued Sarah therefore also continued and wrote her trilogy ‘Easter Triduum’: Gethsemane, ‘Suffering Servant’ and ‘Risen’.

Now Sarah is embarking on the next challenge, to write a collection of 7 pieces. Please take time to listen to Sarah’s music and leave your comments (good and bad).

Please also keep visiting to follow her journey and enjoy her music.  Read about Sarah's future projects and aspirations below.