What’s in a name?

If there’s one thing guaranteed to arouse comment when I introduce our company, Epiphany Music, it’s the name.

I get everything from quizzical, half-comprehending looks to, “Wow – really like the name.  I love the word ‘Epiphany’”.  (Yes, it really does happen.)  Occasionally, people will ask where the name comes from.  So, for those of you who haven’t heard the story before at one of the training events we run or conferences at which I’ve spoken, here’s how we arrived at “Epiphany Music”…

My wife, Tracey, and I used to live in Leeds.  At the time, I was working as Music Officer for Arts Council England, Yorkshire (or “Yorkshire Arts” as it used to be known).  In any spare time, I was feeding my passion for music by writing and recording my own material.  In order to do this, I built up quite a sophisticated home studio in a spare bedroom.   With the advent of affordable, high quality digital recording systems, I had realised that for a budget similar to what was required to hire a modest local studio long enough to produce a CD’s worth of material I could pretty much buy all the necessary gear and do it  myself.

So what’s this got to do with “Epiphany”?  Well, bear with me…

In addition to producing my own music I began to work on other people’s material and undertake commissions – especially when I took the plunge, left Arts Council England and went freelance!  People were kind enough to comment on the quality of the recordings and would sometimes ask where the music had been recorded.  In addition, it seemed to be the “done thing” to credit the recording studio in the booklet accompanying any CD release.  I couldn’t simply say: “Recorded in my spare bedroom.”  It just wouldn’t look professional.  So I turned to a name that Tracey and I had joked about on moving into our house.  We had thought that we ought to nickname our house “Epiphany” – so the phrase, “Recorded at Epiphany Studios” began to make its way onto credits.  It sounded terribly grand!

So why “Epiphany”?  Well (and here you might need need to dust off some of that Sunday School knowledge) in order to fully grasp our reasoning you had to know our address.  It was: 3 Kings Approach.

Get it?  Three Kings, Approach.  Feast of the Epiphany etc…???

I rather liked the sound of the word and it stuck, becoming associated with all kinds of musical ventures with which I was involved.  Of course, it never quite worked the same when we moved from Leeds to just outside York.  Fortunately though, Tracey’s birthday happens to be 6th January (!) so we felt quite justified claiming a close connection and choosing it as the name of the company we formed as co-directors in 2005.

Anyway, regardless of daft puns and tenuous accidents of birth, I rather like the word.  You see, one dictionary definition of “epiphany” might be: “A moment of sudden insight and revelation.”  That’s what music can do.  And I’m sure that all musicians and educators will recognise those moments in the lives of the young people with whom we work – most especially, perhaps, when working with children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  That moment; that smile; that flickering recognition that, yes, I CAN do this – that’s what epiphany means and that’s what Epiphany Music is all about.

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