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Ah, that little springtime!

"Ah, that little springtime..."


As I walked out of my front door this morning to take my daughter to school I was immediately greeted by a beautiful sunrise and the kind of temperature that is 'spring cool': still chilly but you know spring is coming. Moments such as these around here are often followed by the phrase (uttered by folks who moved to Texas from colder climes) "now this is why I moved to Texas!" It is a sentiment that acknowledges both the beauty of the moment and girds one for the summer heat that will be arriving shortly.


Today is the last day of winter.


Even the earth itself seems to acknowledge the inevitable transition from death to new life.


And here we find ourselves, nearly in the middle of Lent, preparing to walk with Christ through his Passion and then to celebrate his Rising.


Truth be told, my first thought when experiencing this glorious morning was the reminder of a few other glorious mornings I had the pleasure of experiencing eleven years ago this month in the ecumenical community of Taize. The famed quote from Pope John  XXIII, "Taize, ah that little springtime!" carries some literal import for me!


My pilgrimage to Taize during Lent in March of 2003 came at an exciting season in my life as I was transitioning from being a life-long student to preparing to head out into the ministry field in a new community. This was a season of deep transition for me and the opportunity to process parts of the journey in such a sacred space with a gracious community was an incredible gift. 


Perhaps the best gift I received at Taize was the new found ability to embrace mystery, to realize the right relationship between Creator and created. On those beautiful French spring mornings I became more and more comfortable, experienced release in simplicity, even, with the idea that my calling is to be faithful and bold to what God was calling me to do in the world and to trust God with the rest. I still often recall this sensation in times of stress and anxiety.  Those moments continue to empower in me moments of resurrection that are fueled by the Holy Spirit.


I give God thanks for the spring!


Where are you preparing to experience new life in your ministry, in your life?


Dinner an a movie!

The simple pleasures are usually the best. Tonight my amazing wife and I are on a date: dinner and a movie (Catching Fire, to be exact) and I am so thankful for this time. It has been too long! I hope that you find some time to be with friends and family in the midst of this crazy season!


What to do when you can't sleep?

Blog, of course!

It's the "most wonderful time of the year" especially if you are a worship desigener and church musician. The season is filled with possibilities for thin places, sacred moments and ritual beauty. It is also a season filled with overflowing to-do lists and massive stress brought on by a lack of time and resources, unreachable expectations and church and family committments. 

No doubt you have experienced all of this as well.

How do we stay engaged, stay excited, not get overwhelmed and not lose our fire as artists during times such as these?

This question is one I'm working on in my subconsicous at the moment as I've been up, unable to sleep, since 3:00 am this morning. Who needs more than three hours of sleep a night, anyway?!?!

I'm answering the question, today, at least, with knocking out administrative tasks so that when I get fresher, mentally, I will be able to work on score study and design issues with a less-cluttered mind. Since I'm struggling to get back to sleep, I'm about to head to the gym to burn-off some stress while burning-off some calories. Later today I will be connecting over lunch with a dear friend and fellow artist and I'm going to do my best to not let the conversation devolve into complaining. I'm also working on general mental toughness!  Finally, I'm holding on to those quite moments of the season and working on being grateful for every moment.

How about you?


MainStage Integration!

In excited for the music in worship tomorrow! A beautiful John Bell anthem in Foundation and then I'm using an electric guitar, pedal steel guitar and am integrating MainStage tomorrow with a synth. Fun things to learn and work with !


Pilgrimage Liner Notes


Below you will find the basic liner notes for Pilgrimage. I'm working on getting the art work in a viewable form!


Pilgrimage Design Notes and Content


Cover Photo: “White Background Tree” with name of album (Pilgrimage) and artist (Joe Stobaugh) on the bottom of image.


Inside 1-2 (the other side of the cover page and the side facing that page)

Introductory Notes (on the inside cover)

Pilgrimage: we are all on one. Our journey through life has the opportunity to be a sacred pilgrimage towards the hearts of others and to God. This project came into being as a way of revisiting (maybe reviewing?) the early parts of my adult pilgrimage. I wanted to make music with some of the amazing folks I’ve met on the Pilgrimage in places that have sacred meaning in my life.  I wasn’t able to get to all of them, or to play with all of the musicians I hoped to, maybe we will save that for volume two?

As with any Pilgrimage, one ought to pack lightly for the journey. Every piece on this album was recorded in a very minimal fashion: all of the pianists were playing on instruments that were not their own and were in a variety of conditions.  They were all gracious to play anyway! 

A Pilgrimage ought to do some good for the world and so the majority of the proceeds from the sales of this album are going towards Imagine No Malaria.  Check it out here:  May we complete the goal of eradicating this disease from the Earth in our lifetimes!

Thank you to all the artists who performed on this record and for all the people who have made this possible. I love you and look forward to all that is to come!


 1. All My Days

    (Music: Mark A. Miller)

    Anyone who has been involved in sacred music in the last twenty years knows about     

    the genius of Mark Miller! Mark is one of those rare people who’s beautiful humanity    

    matches his incredible artistic gifts. I’ve never told him this but his arrangement of “O 

    For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” is the first anthem I’ve conducted in  every church  

    I’ve been in since seminary!  I am honored by his contribution to this project.

    Mark Miller, piano; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

    Recorded June 26, 2013 at Harrell Auditorium, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina


2. Devotion

    (Music: Joe Stobaugh)

    The Perkins School of Theology and it’s faculty and students continues to be a great   

    blessing in my life. This piece is an improvised prayer of thanksgiving for all who pass 

    through the sacred space of the Perkins Chapel.

    Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

    Recorded May 2, 2013 at Perkins Chapel, Southern Methodist University, Dallas,  


 3. I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

    (Music: Traditional African-American Spiritual, arranged by Paul Harper)

    My friend, guitarist Paul Harper, plays and teaches music in the San Antonio, Texas             

    We met at Travis Park UMC, where he is an active member and sings in the choir.

    Want Jesus to Walk with Me is a song that is very important to the TPUMC 

    community.  It was a gift to record this song with Paul. Check out his website:

    Paul Harper, guitar and vocals; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone & vocals

    Recorded May 10, 2013 at Travis Park United Methodist Church, San Antonio, TX

 4. Of the Father’s Love Begotten

    (Music: 11th cent. Sanctus Trope, improvised by Joe Stobaugh and the Bird) 

    After the first take of this piece in beautiful East Texas a bird started singing outside    

    the stained glass windows of FUMC...I couldn’t hit record fast enough and we had a 

    lovely duet, unfortunately I couldn’t get the bird recorded but I am thankful for its gift   

    of song all the same!

    Bird, beautiful song; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

    Recorded May 16, 2013 at First United Methodist Church, Longview, TX

   5. Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel

    (Music: 15th cent. French, arranged by Charles Winslow and Joe Stobaugh)

    Charles Winslow, the founder and pianist of The Dallas Jazz Quartet is a treasure in  

    the Dallas/Ft. Worth music scene and he is a native of Philadelphia. From 

    classical to jazz and gospel, he does it all! He has performed with the likes of Joe 

    Williams and Nancy Wilson. I am so thankful for the opportunity to make music with   


    Charles Winslow, piano; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

    Recorded May 2, 2013 at Perkins Chapel, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX


 6. Love for the Christ Child  Part IV of V from the “For the Christ Child Piano Suite

    (Music by Chuck Bell ©2012 Chuck Bell, All Rights Reserved)

    In late April-early May of 2012 I had the great honor of playing bass in the band at  

    General Conference in Tampa, Florida, led by the phenomenal Chuck Bell. Chuck is 

    another one of those artists who does everything and does it all so well! Love for the 

    Christ Child portrays the unexpected gift of Love and how that gift of Love can 

    change the world. Check out Chuck at or email him at

    Chuck Bell, piano; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

    Recorded June 25, 2013 at Harrell Auditorium, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

 7. Sometimes I Feel LIke a Motherless Child

    (Music: African-American Spiritual, arranged by Joe Stobaugh)

    We’ve all been there: those days where few things seem to go right. This 

    arrangement is about what can happen when you live through a season of those 


      Joe Stobaugh, vocals and shruti box

      Recorded May 16, 2013 at First United Methodist Church, Longview, TX

 8. Pie Jesu

     (Music: Gabriel Faure)

    I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to play this beautiful piece with the      

    amazing Kay Sendrey, the organist at Custer Road UMC: the church that raised me.             

    Kay has been such a blessing to me and to so many others through her amazing 

    spirit and beautiful artistry! My graduate project for Perkins involved conducting 

    Faure’s Requiem with Kay serving as the organist: it was one of the greatest days of 

    my life!

    Kay Sendrey, organ; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

    Recorded May 23, 2013 at Custer Road United Methodist Church, Plano, TX


 9. Gymnopedie No. 3

     (Music: Erik Satie)

    The word “incomparable” is often bandied about without much regard to what the 

    word means, but, in this case, ‘incomparable’ is perfectly employed when describing 

    the art of Anastasia Markina! We served together for five years at Argyle UMC. She is 

    a gift from God! Her day job is the pianist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Learn 

    more about Anastasia here:      

     Anastasia Markina, piano; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

     Recorded May 24,2013 at Grace Avenue United Methodist Church, Frisco, TX

 10. Psalm 46:10

      (Music by Joe Stobaugh add copyright here)

      When I entered Perkins Chapel for the recording session I read one of my favorite  

      scriptures: Psalm 46. The music is my response to that moment. 

     Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

     Recorded May 2, 2013 at Perkins Chapel, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

 11. Amazing Grace

      (Music: 19th cent. USA melody, arranged by Phil Stobaugh and Joe Stobaugh)

      Some of my earliest memories are of laying in my bed as a small child and hearing 

      my dad blow some blues on his horns. I just don’t have the words to describe how   

      cool it is to record with my dad! Thanks so much, dad!

      Phil Stobaugh, baritone and tenor saxophones; Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

      Recorded July 1, 2013 at Grace Avenue United Methodist Church, Frisco, TX

 12.  A Song for Ellie and Sam’s Baptisms

      (Music: William Bradbury, improvised by Joe Stobaugh)

      Two of the best days of my earthly pilgrimage were the days that Ellie and Sam 

      were baptized. This is song is dedicated to them. I love you both more than you will 

      ever know and I am proud of you both: I can’t wait to see what God does through 

      each of you!

      Joe Stobaugh, soprano saxophone

      Recorded May 10, 2013 at Travis Park United Methodist Church, San Antonio, TX




Produced by Joe Stobaugh

Mixed and Mastered by Eric Michael Czechowski at Intrigue Audio, Allen, Texas


Pictures by Joe Stobaugh

Art Direction and Design by Kim Eiffert

copyright 2013 Joe Stobaugh


Thank you’s...all the guest artists on this record, the people at the churches on my pilgrimage: thanks for giving it all a whirl!  Mom and Dad, thanks for everything! Sam and Ellie, this is for you! Terry, thanks for the inspiration, knowledge and Rooibos! Eric, wow, just wow.  Kim, you are so talented!  Michael and Teresa at Perkins, thanks for everything! Frank, thanks for the logistical help in setting up Lake J.  For the anonymous donor who helped to fund this project: you will never know how thankful I am for everything!  I have no doubt I am missing many, know that I love you!


This album is dedicated to Sarah: I will never have the words or musical notes to describe my love and appreciation for you.  You make me want to be a better everything!


Back cover of case: (Picture of Red Tree)

Song list in order

copyright (need symbol) 2013 Joe Stobaugh 

Unauthorized Duplication is Prohibited by Law.  All rights reserved.



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