Friday, January 4, 2013

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!

Rosanne Simunovic


  1. Thanks again Pamela for a beautiful review and background of the song. It was breathtaking to hear David sing this song in SLC and BC.

  2. Thank you Pam and Rosanne! Climb Every Mountain has been a favorite song of mine since I was a little girl. However, I have never heard anyone sing this with so much emotion and passion. When I heard David sing this in jaw dropped also. What a stunning performance.