When Executive Director of the Forbes Center, Regan Byrne, asked for a volunteer to arrange the finale, Christopher Little stepped up. As the music director for The Overtones (one of the two co-ed a cappella groups on campus), Little felt he was the best man for job after having arranged 12-15 songs for The Overtones in the past two years.
According to Little, arranging a song is no small feat. “... You have to listen to the song over and over and over again so you get a context as to what is really happening in the background.” Little says he normally starts with the bass and then picks out specific melodies within the song - with the goal being to get “different people to hit different notes at different times.”
Those “different people” translates to 120 voices that comprise JMU’s seven a cappella groups and an a cappella group from Harrisonburg High School. “I wanted the arrangement to be simple, yet powerful,” says Little. “Keep Holding On peaked my interest because it has a positive message, and it has a message that impacts different age ranges, genders and classes.”
In addition to the song having meaning to Little because he is graduating, he adds that it speaks to him on a spiritual level. “I need to keep holding on to my faith and what is good and true for my life.”