The Inspiration for Peace ~ by Stanton Lanier (Copyright 2012, not to be re-published without permission)
Since Peace is one of my top songs on iTunes and a listener favorite around the world, I wanted to share some of the story behind this melody, originally inspired and composed for my fourth album, The Voice (in 2009 it was remastered and is featured as the closing track on December Peace). I started composing Peace in December 2004, and unlike most of my songs, it took another six months to reach its final form. It was recorded in August 2005 at the George Lucas Skywalker Sound Studios in California, with Grammy winning producer Will Ackerman. The angelic vocals of Noah Wilding were added a few weeks later at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont.
This composition was inspired by a little girl named Hayley, who died of leukemia at 22 months old, and whose life will always remind me to treasure every moment with childlike faith. When I received the phone call December 19, 2004 with news of her passing, I couldn’t sleep. I found refuge at my basement keyboard into the night. With headphones on, and everyone else in the house asleep, I started writing a song to remember and honor Hayley’s life.
The first version of Peace was like a music box lullaby. As the months went by before recording The Voice, the music evolved to a deeper place that attempts to share a peace that transcends circumstances, a peace that passes all understanding…a peace that Hayley knows and would want us to know. The delicate vocals are like those of an angel watching over Hayley, and each of us. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Hayley’s life was an inspiration to thousands of people who followed her story and prayed for her. I played Peace at her funeral, then her story led to Peace and other melodies being played at services of remembrance for families who had lost a child to cancer. Music to Light the World began donating CDs to offer hope and healing. Today this program is called Get Music Give Hope, and every year at least one CD is donated (sometimes several) for every CD sold. Thanks to customers and donors, over 50,000 donated CDs have touched 500,000 lives as patients, family members, friends and caregivers have listened to the music in cancer centers and hospitals around the world. Thank you God for Hayley.