• David Winkler

When I moved to Nashville in 1997, I didn’t know exactly what kind of work I would be doing.  All I knew was that I was responding to the call of God to move there. I had written some arrangements for several publishers and had a bit of success with orchestrating, so I figured I would continue to develop that line of work. While I had some very nice opportunities in these areas in my early Nashville years, eventually I fell into working more as an editor than as an arranger/orchestrator. With the advent of online home officing, I’ve been able to continue that work even after moving away from Nashville, first to North Carolina, and then back to our home state of Texas.

What is an editor, you may ask?  Think of a book author. He or she writes the basic text of the book, but others come alongside to help shape the work in many ways before it goes to press. It’s a team effort that involves executive editors, research assistants, typesetters, graphic artists and proofreaders, as well as friends of the author who may read and review the manuscript. The process is similar in producing music for choir and orchestra.

In my editorial work, I’ve focused mainly on music for orchestra, though I've also done entire choral books, with piano transcriptions included. With orchestra music, usually someone else has written the score, others have typeset it, produced a demo recording, and prepared the choral part.  My part involves combing through the many details required to get the orchestration ready for publication. This includes items such as making sure that the choral part and the orchestration match each other musically, correcting occasional wrong notes, checking that the dynamics and articulations are consistent between all the parts, editing the bowings for the strings, and doing lots of “clean up” of the written page. It also involves creating all the supplemental parts needed for a church orchestra, fleshing out the often very minimal rhythm parts, and adjusting the page layout.  In addition, I listen to the demo recording several times, often finding things that have been changed in the studio "on the spot" which then need to be noted in the published music.

After many years of directing church orchestras, I can usually look at a score and see what is going to work well in the arrangement, and what may be problematic. My name’s not on the music, but I’m always thinking of the directors and players who will be using it. The goal is to make everything “user friendly” so that the ministry of instrumental music and the worship of our Lord can be enhanced. 

Besides working with publishers, I’ve had the opportunity to assist a few individual writers from time to time in helping to improve their arrangements from an editorial standpoint. So, if I can ever assist you in this way, please let me know.

  • David Winkler

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2

Early this year, I felt impressed to seek the Lord more diligently in prayer regarding the church orchestra I conduct here in Austin. Little did I know then that a major pandemic would overtake the world, affecting all of our lives, including the churches and the music ministries in which we serve.

For some of us, the effects of the crisis have mainly been an inconvenience, but for others who have lost jobs or lost loved ones to the virus, it has been truly devastating. Now more than ever we need to turn to God in prayer, and when we finally get rolling again with our church meetings and our music ministries, we will need God's blessing to help us rebuild our programs and adjust to a new reality.  But as the pastor of our church here in Austin said, "The Coronavirus didn't take God by surprise."  He still has a plan, so in our prayers we must seek His face and try to sense His leading. Jesus said in John 15:5, "Apart from Me you can do nothing."  We need the power of God's Spirit in our ministries, and His direction in our plans. Part of my prayers involve asking the Lord to bless each member of the orchestra I direct, in whatever needs they may have. I am also praying that the Lord will lead more players to join our group, because I believe that being involved in a fellowship of musicians can be a great blessing to any instrumentalist.  A number of years back, I wrote a prayer that was published in a church music magazine. I have reproduced that below.  Feel free to use it in your ministry. An Orchestra Member's Prayer

Lord, I thank You for the gift of music.  Through music, Your Spirit can bring healing, deliverance, encouragement, and a sense of worship. There are some who sing – and I like to sing; Yet You have given me another talent, that of praising You with an instrument. Lord, I thank You for this gift, and I dedicate it to You, that through my life and my instrument Your name might be glorified. Lead me to a greater development of this gift, that my offering of praise might be worthy in Your sight. In the name of Christ I ask, Amen.

God bless, everyone, and stay safe!

  • David Winkler

" ... when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness."  Isaiah 26:9

I'm writing this on March 17, 2020, when it seems that the Coronavirus situation is on everyone's mind.  Besides affecting schools, businesses, travel, and the stock market, it's also affecting our churches. My own church here in Austin is probably not going to meet again until at least after May 1. That includes weekly rehearsals for the orchestra I direct.  Though these inconveniences are unfortunate, it seems that almost everyone understands the urgency to take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.      Christians in past generations often regarded plagues and other disasters as part of God's corrective judgment.  Indeed, this seems to be a theme throughout scripture.  God is not in heaven, throwing bolts of lightning down upon us.  But it does get our attention, whether it be in our personal lives or on a national level, when we encounter various difficulties.  At such times, we should search our hearts, humble ourselves before Almighty God, repent of our sins, and remember that ultimately God is in control of the universe.       A friend from Germany posted the following quote from a letter Martin Luther wrote to a fellow minister regarding an epidemic that occurred in the year 1527.  It shows, I think, a great balance between trusting in God's care and using the common sense He has given us.  Luther wrote:

" ... I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine, and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely, as stated above. See, this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God."                                                        —from Martin Luther's Works, Volume 43      May the Lord bless us all in these uncertain days.  And hopefully, before too long, we can get back to our lives and making music together!