Letting the text 'speak' to directly inspire his creative process, composer and musician Ezra Haugabrooks wrote, performed, and recorded this song in response to Joel 2:1-11.
Read the composite scripture lyrics for "Joel."
Lyrics, Music, and Performance by
Artist Curated by
1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 2 a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. 7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: 8 neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. 9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. 10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: 11 and the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
I picked the King James Version (KJV) to find inspiration for melodic material for my work. This translation is a personal favorite of mine because the challenging nature of the language leaves me filled with a sense of awe, which I felt especially in the first 11 verses of Joel 2. However, the New International Version (NIV) helped me conceptualize a sense foreshadowing in this passage. I formed the lyrics of my song from a blend of the KJV and NIV. So, once I created an arch to join the two versions of the first 11 verses, I fit the words to the melodic and rhythmic structure previously established from my work with the KJV.
Personally, I have the most fun developing the harmony of my music. A few nights one week, I went to the local university with my four year old son. There, I messed around with the piano to see what might come out of my improvisational playing in association with the melody and lyrics. After I developed some ideas, I populated them into a digital audio workstation (DAW). There, I built a simple beat to help me rap-sing out the lyrics before doing a final recording over the finished beat in studio.
Ezra Haugabrooks has performed throughout the US and abroad as a composer, violist, pianist, singer and conductor. He started producing music in elementary school and has been writing since high school. He has completed a degree in viola performance at Andrews University. Ezra plans to continue writing music and growing the nonprofit chamber orchestra that he founded: BADO. He currently lives in St Petersburg, Florida with his son, Noah.