In the 1995 film Mr. Holland’s Opus, a musician and composer tries to write one memorable piece of music to gain fame. He takes a job as a high school music teacher to pay the bills and over time discovers unexpected and even greater fulfillment during his thirty-year teaching career.
Such a story has parallels to that of Brigham Young University’s Ron Simpson, producer of this CD, general manager of Tantara Records, coordinator of the Media Music Division of BYU’s School of Music, and music director of the Young Ambassadors. Simpson left a career as a studio owner, producer, music publisher, and composer to take the lead of the fledgling BYU songwriting class in 1984. Since then, some fifteen hundred students have been through the program. It Starts with a Song may be similar to the crowning climax in Mr. Holland’s Opus, when all of the main character’s former students form an orchestra that premiers his long-awaited symphony—but it is less about the music and more about the tremendous number of lives he has touched and the love his students have for him as their teacher.