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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Holyoak

Every song has a story!

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

It wasn't until my husband and I became “empty nesters” that I thought seriously about writing music. One of my first songs, Looking Back, brought closure to the death of my mother when I was barely out of my teens. My mother died in a tragic car accident when my parents were driving me back to college in my senior year. Even though it took me more than 30 years to compose, that country tune brought me closure.

Mary, Why Weepest Thou? was another song that helped me heal after my mother-in-law died at the age of 93. She had taken me under her wing when I lost my own mom and welcomed me as the daughter she never had. For the next 45 years, we shared a special bond. She taught me how to appreciate beautiful things such as china, hand-made linens, the importance of setting a lovely table and shared all her family's very special recipes. She was the mother I knew even more than my own.

The day she passed, two other women whom I dearly loved also died. How could that wintry day in January take away three women whom I adored so much? My heart was grieving and because music writing is my solace, I sent an email to lyricist, Lawrence Lee, an interna-tionally award-winning writer. Larry and his wife, Marjorie, and I had a very close relation-ship. He became an adopted father when he signed his emails “Papa Larry” and his wife became “Mama Marjorie”. I adored the Lees and we had a beautiful association for two decades.

"Papa Larry" and Kathleen collaborating at his grand piano in Salt Lake City.

In my grieving, I explained my desire to write an Easter choral anthem that would give hope, lift and inspire others. Within a day or two, Larry sent lyrics for the song. Upon reading his beautiful words, I went to the piano and a little melody came immediately to mind. Excitedly, I spent most of that day composing the song and writing it into music notation. I felt comforted by the words and cradled by the music and was confident about sharing it with the Lees. I invited them to come over the next day and listen. I'll never forget that day! I gave Larry a copy of the music and he sat down in a big, soft chair next to the piano. As I played, he sang the words while Marjorie scrutinized from her chair across the room. Because Marjorie always had the last word on songs we wrote, I was a little worried. When finished she said, “I've never cried at anything Larry has ever written but I did with this song. It's wonderful!” Knowing we had her approval, I finished the song and sent it to a publisher and was pleasantly surprised when told he would be releasing it the next day! Some time later, I learned that Why Weepest Thou? became the fastest-selling song on that site in a single weekend and to this day is one of my top sellers. I am so thankful that Larry and I could collaborate and compose a song that would become part of his legacy. Larry and Marjorie have since passed on but I hope every time that song is performed, they are watching and listening.

See and hear Why Weepest Thou? (See the words printed below)

The Lees
Marjorie and Lawrence Lee

Why Weepest Thou?

Lyrics:  Lawrence Lee

Music:  Kathleen Holyoak

Mary, why weepest thou,

whom seekest thou

within this garden tomb?

Mary, why weepest thou,

whom seeketh thou

within this empty room?

Know ye not He is risen,

the one you came to find?

He fulfilled His Father’ will to all mankind;

a gift, that all might live,

that  He alone could give.

Mary, why weepest thou?

Do not shed tears

within this garden room.

Mary, whom seeketh thou?

The Christ who lives has left

this empty tomb.

Raise your voice to the Heavens,

in joy for this new day.

Praise the gift from Christ no sepulcher could stay;

new life, that all might live,

a gift that He could give.

Mary, why weepest thou?

The Christ who lives

has left His tomb and lives again,

He lives again!

© 2008 by Kathleen Holyoak & Lawrence Lee

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Feb 01, 2020

This is beautiful!

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