JIM GRADY loves Christmas and angels! So when he set out to write his Christmas Cantata, CHILD OF LIGHT, it just had to have angels in it -- angels of all shapes, sizes and on missions of all kinds (SOUND A THOUSAND TRUMPETS).
Jim's spiritual life is rooted in Science of Mind -- the concept that what you visualize and say manifests the world around you. (He's very adamant that believing is still a state of doubt, and that to create miracles, one has to move beyond believing and into knowing.) He wanted to incorporate this concept for creating miracles that begins the Bible (In the beginning was the word. So, when he wrote the libretto, he chose those story elements from not only the well known stories about the nativity that showed the power of word to create (THE WINTER ROSE), but from lesser known legends about the childhood of Christ. But whatever the story -- it had to have angels!
Jim wanted to write CHILD OF LIGHT to sound as if it were newly-discovered, ancient Christmas carols (CHILD OF LIGHT, THE SUN SHONE OUT). But, loving contemporary music, and to always remind the listener that this is somewhat the old story being told from a new perspective, the ancient harmonic sensibility has a 20th century perspective. The carols are then surrounded in a total contemporary framework of sung narrative (PROLOGUE, THERE WENT OUT A DECREE, IN THE DAYS OF HEROD, HEROD CALLS THE WISE MEN, A TRINITY OF DREAMS).
But back to those angels! An angel comes to Mary, a flock of angels come to the shepherds, and after the miraculous moment when the newborn Jesus actually speaks to the crowd of earthly and heavenly hosts (MIRACLES IN THE MORNING), Jim wanted the story to climax at the fanciful moment when a baby angel comes to adore the infant king. When the baby angel gets caught between the wings of the other hovering angels, it falls to the ground and breaks its wing (BROKEN ANGEL). By merely touching the hem of Jesus' swaddling clothes, the baby angel is healed adding to the rejoicing and celebration -- and ultimately presenting a preview of the power of the Visualization and Word of the King of Kings (CHRIST REIGNETH OVERALL).
JIM GRADY's CHILD OF LIGHT received it's world premiere in 1994 to a standing ovation. (Of course.) He's looking forward to his fantasy production of it with real camels, burly Roman soldiers and angels on wires. Or better yet, the cartoon or motion picture version! And to writing more Yule Tide stuff (did we tell you he loves Christmas?) like his catchy, THE GIST OF CHRISTMAS.
But enough about Christmas! What does JIM GRADY create for the other 364 days of the year?
In addition to writing music for Science of Mind worship (THIS OR SOMETHING BETTER) and traditional worship (AS LONGS THE DEER), his inspiring music for award winning public service television commercials (AIDS PATIENT, TEENAGE RUNAWAY, GANGS) can be heard on, Good Morning, America and Nightline. Too bad those spots were buy-outs. But one wasn't. Take a listen to his cable-TV show theme song with a Science of Mind spin, ALL ARE ONE.
Jim Grady's arrangements and orchestrations have been performed by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles and Long Beach's South Coast Chorale. For Liza Minnelli's TROPICAL NIGHTS album, he wrote eight songs and arranged and orchestrated the entire album. He giggles that one night, Liza even did a private little cabaret act for just him on her living room coffee table. Don't ask. Shirley Bassey and Cleo Laine also belted out his tunes, with Cleo naming her album after his tune, A BEAUTIFUL THING.
Jim also musical directs for theater and cabaret. He's worked with the likes of Rita Moreno, Bea Arthur and Charles Pierce. Recently, he had a blast working with Disney employees on a production of LUCKY STIFF. When he was M.D. for the Pasadena Playhouse, he worked with Kander and Ebb on their world premiere re-working of FLORA THE RED MENACE and the world premiere of Jose Feliciano's and Ray Bradbury's, THE WONDERFUL ICE CREAM SUIT. He was the M.D. on premiere night for the Playhouse's as well as the original New York production of GROUCHO - A LIFE IN REVUE for which he also co-wrote the score. (Jim Grady's musical direction is as sharp as a Groucho punchline. Dick Lochie, Los Angeles Magazine).
Two out of the three musicals for which Jim composed the score were optioned for off-Broadway or Broadway productions. (ARMEGEDDON -- THE LIVING END LITTLE MIGHTY [about the childhood of Christ) He's proud to say he sat across from David Merrick and heard the words, I'll do it! So, where is it, you ask? Check out one song (with again, a Science of Mind viewpoint) from that almost-a-Merrick-musical, BE IT NOW.
In 1997, the third musical for which Jim Grady composed the score and co-authored the book and lyrics (CHUCK & DI -- THE TABLOID MUSICAL! -- a send up of the British Royals and Princess Diana) received it's world premiere at the Long Beach Playhouse, California. (That was a simpler, more irreverent time, okay?) Getting raves and playing to SRO houses, Jim thought he was looking at his retirement account -- especially when news came from his agent of a backer for the off-Broadway production. Three days later, Diana became history. And so did Jim's retirement account. Ah, well.
Jim, a person living with HIV, is a long time survivor. Period. When he got the bad news in New York in 1987 (long before even AZT was available), he was told that he'd only have two to three years to live. On the corner of 57th and Broadway, he declared to God that he would not die from this horrible bug, but of old age, God bless it! Jim never says, That's to die for. He's learned to say, That's to LIVE for! Jim's deep spiritual roots and humor have kept him alive and have been infused into all of his words and music. Nothing is going to stop him from sharing his energy and inspiration with the world. Not as long as there is life, love and music!
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