David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part Eleven: Climb Every Mountain

By Pamela Pike and Rosanne Simunovic

Pamela Pike’s Recollections

It is a show tune from the 1959 Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music and the movie with Julie Andrews in 1965. It was themed as an inspirational piece, to encourage people to take every step towards attaining one’s dream.

The muse behind this song was Sister Gregory; the head of Drama at Rosary College in Illinois who wrote to Hammerstein after reading his lyrics and described the parallels between a person’s choice for a religious life and the choices that humans must make to find their purpose and direction in life. In doing so, she said the song, “drove to the Chapel”, because the lyrics conveyed a “yearning that…ordinary souls feel but cannot communicate.”

So is this where the saying, “you took it to church came from? The American Idol judges use this quite often in reference to commenting and judging many of the contestants.

David Archuleta takes every song he sings to church and give us a yearning our souls feel but can’t communicate. I have always dreamed of hearing David sing this song with his stunning voice, his passion for the lyrics and his version on how he could add to the song.

In his My Kind of Christmas tour in 2011 he purposed “Climb Every Mountain” for the charity Child Fund as an inspiration and prayer of hope for the future of these needy children all over the world. And when David lets loose with this song, I almost just lost it. He delivered an outstanding rendition with cascades of technique and his connection with his audience was spectacular.

My eyes watered as the emotions built up within my soul and his unbelievable notes struck every corner of my being. My soul was consumed by the overtones and the depth of his emotional performance.

There are moments where a gift comes along packaged with a soulful voice, this is David Archuleta who is a reminder that true artists survive under the scrutiny of the industry and still finds the strength to carry on the message of passion to all.
It can confidently be said of this incredible artist, is that his predecessors would be proud, and that one day in the future, he will be noted with the greats.

Rosanne Simunovic’s Recollections

This beautiful and inspiring song from Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Sound Of Music” never grows old. It is a song that touches the heart and gives one hope for the future against all odds. It speaks to our inner determination to surmount life’s obstacles, giving us encouragement and enlightenment to follow the path to freedom and righteousness.

So, even before I heard David’s performance of this number, I knew that, given his positive and uplifting nature, built on a spiritual foundation of love and faith, this rendition was going to be a powerful one.

Also, given his past ability to re-invent show tunes by giving it a distinctly current feel (e.g. Think Of Me), I was excited to see how David would phrase and mold this exquisite melody.

From the outset, David grounded his voice with superb focus and clarity. This song requires great range – both vocally and expressively. The first part of this song sits very low and, if the words are not properly articulated, the vocal sound loses energy and meaning.

However, this was not a problem for David, for he always treats his lyrics with respect, making certain that the delivered message resonates long after the song has ended.

I was extremely impressed with the length of his phrase lines – how he was able to draw out the final words in every phrase so that the song had continuity. There was a lovely forward momentum in this number that I so appreciated. This was bel canto singing at its absolute best.

And when he easily sang over that top note in the word, “live”, I smiled at his relaxed, open jaw and the placement of the “ah” vowel in the center of the word. This approach was exactly correct, enabling him to sustain that upper note with resonating freedom.

It helps to add a little bit of the “ah” vowel to every vowel, thus ensuring the even placement of one’s voice throughout a song. Additionally, it reinforces the circular position of the mouth which is so necessary for the pitch-centered clarity of the voice.

However, technical mumbo-jumbo aside, what was at the heart of this performance – and every performance – was David’s heartfelt, passionate, soulful rendering of this beautiful song. He digs so deep and comes up with vocal gem after vocal gem, delivering his message with purpose and drive.

For, with David, the song is the message to inspire change in the world and his voice is the vehicle, carrying us all on the right road to hope and peace..

In the final moments of this song, at the 2:34 mark in the first video, the camera caught some of the reactions of some of the audience members. They were noticeably flabbergasted by the powerful sound of David’s voice.

In fact, one male viewer dropped his jaw in disbelief. It really is a cute moment in the midst of such a compelling performance.

This was a distinctly David performance and his soulful take on a classic musical theatre selection was beyond memorable – it was singular and extraordinary. Bravo David! And God Bless The Children!

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

7 Responses to “David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part Eleven: Climb Every Mountain”

  1. Thank You Pamela and Masterclasslady for a beautiful review and background of the song, David’s performance, technique and crowd reaction. Heard David sing this in SLC and Beaver Creek and yes it took my breath away.


  2. When I first heard David sing this I knew the arrangement sounded awfully familiar, and, sure enough, he admitted to me that he borrowed it from the version Guy Sebastian sang on Australian Idol in 2002 (which is where he first heard the song). It made my day to know one of my favorite artists was so inspired by my other favorite artist!


  3. My goodness, what a gorgeous voice! When will his mission end? I wonder if he took those dancing lessons I recommended? This young man has the potential to be a star on Broadway! He is such an attractive young man – a real cutie. Love it!


  4. It’s a beautiful song and performance. Thank you for the article. 🙂


  5. Davids VOICE is like no other, he reaches into his soul to sing.
    Thank you for appreciating his musical genius.


  6. David is certainly one of a kind. He has the looks, voice, charisma, and just a beautifully good soul going for him. Not many people have all of these attributes to the degree that David has.


  7. Thanks again everyone. He is truly a magnificent gift to the music world.


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