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'We've always felt that the single most important work any creative person could do is to create something that would help others come closer to the Savior and have a greater understanding of and appreciation for the atonement,' says Michael. 'But oftentimes the very nature of the subject is a bit intimidating for a composer, songwriter, musician or artist.' The creative group agreed that the best way to accomplish the goal was to seek the Lord's help, and to follow his example of using allegories.
The basic premise of The Garden is: What could we learn about life, about ourselves, about the nature of repentance, faith, hope and love if the Garden of Gethsemane were to tell the story? How would it change us if we were near the Savior in the Garden? This unique musical allegory is like nothing heard before from these talented musical artists. Here, they truly reveal themselves as artists -- blending the right melodies, symbols, lyrics and orchestral elements on their palette and spreading them across an outstanding musical canvas.
The Garden has been compared to Les Miserables in its style and format, and many have already been moved by the recording. A group of college students said The Garden made the Atonement more real than it had ever been for many of them. A grandmother said that she listened to it three times over two days and each time it affected more her more profoundly.
In the album's liner notes, the creators ask listeners to imagine what it was like in the premortal existence awaiting our experience on earth: We have all been taught, perfectly, the purpose for our leaving the presence of our Heavenly Father and coming to earth. We understand the plan. But because everything we hope to become hinges on the events that will take place on the earth we are about to inhabit, we find that we can't talk enough, dream enough, think enough, or sing enough with each other about the adventure that awaits us. The musical presentation is not intended to answer all our questions about what life on earth will really be like or how our individual lives will unfold; rather, it is a humble and artistic attempt by a group of musicians to focus our spiritual hearts and minds in a creatively different way on what will be the central event in all human history: the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The Garden will do for Easter what The Forgotten Carols has done for Christmas -- provide celebrants with a comforting, personal experience with the Savior's love through music and song.
About the Authors
Michael McLean is known as a performer, composer, songwriter, producer, and director, with a list of accomplishments reflecting well in each of those areas. He has written music and lyrics for more than thirty albums and soundtracks and has authored five books, including the bestselling The Forgotten Carols and his latest project, Mission to Be Happy. Michael is the writer, producer, and director of Nora’s Christmas Gift starring Celeste Holm, and Mr. Krueger’s Christmas with Jimmy Stewart. Other well-known films include Our Heavenly Father’s Plan; Together Forever; What Is Real; and The Prodigal Son. Albums include his collection of hits, 25; and the book and CD project Mission to Be Happy. Michael and his wife, Lynne, are the parents of three children and grandparents of two. They live in Utah.
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