But For The Grace Of God by Rich Willey arranged by Michael Abene

Original price was: $110.00.Current price is: $55.00.

The legendary Michael Abene has arranged this beautiful tune by Rich Willey for full big band plus optional strings and French horns.

Used as a closer, this chart sends your audience home having had a serene, peaceful, emotional, and deeply meaningful experience.

SKU: BMRWBBC010 Category:


But For The Grace Of God, dedicated to his late parents Leonard and Carolyn, is an expression of gratitude from Rich for his very life and all the amazing opportunities that have come his way on his journey. This has been performed with and without strings (and French horns) and is a powerful piece either way, but obviously sounds better with strings and French horns.

Written for five saxophones, five trumpets (solo 5th trumpet part can be played on trumpet or flugelhorn), four trombones, piano, guitar, bass, drums, first and second violins, violas (divisi), cello, double bass and four French horns. Mike Abene specified 34 strings total (twelve 1st violins, ten 2nd violins, six violas, four celli, and two double basses) as you can hear in the recording below. The string parts used in the recording are as follows: six 1st violin parts, five 2nd violin parts, three viola parts, four cello parts and two bass parts (twenty actual parts in all).

Doubles in the winds are as follows: ▪ alto 1 also plays flute, clarinet and soprano, ▪ alto 2 also plays flute and clarinet, ▪ tenor saxes both also play clarinet, ▪ baritone sax also plays bass clarinet, and ▪ trumpets also play flugelhorn.

The lead trumpet part goes up to a D♭ above the staff. This tune is between Grade 4 and Grade 5. Chart length is 112 written bars, tempo is ♩ = 76 and the score is 15 pages.

Our big band charts are now available only as PDF files for you to print out yourself (at half the price that we used to charge for printed parts).

Upon completion of your order you will receive a download link via an email receipt for your purchase.

Here is how this chart sounds as played by Rich Willey’s Boptism Big Band (instrumental version):

Here is the vocal version of this chart (as heard on Rich Willey’s Puttin’ On The Ritz album (Zeke Listenbee, vocalist):


Dan Higgins — 1st Alto Saxophone
Brian Scanlon — 2nd Alto Saxophone
Bob Sheppard — 1st Tenor Saxophone
Sal Lozano — 2nd Tenor Saxophone
Jay Mason — Baritone Saxophone

Wayne Bergeron — Lead Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Dan Fornero — 2nd Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Rob Schaer — 3rd Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Tony Bonsera — 4th Trumpet & Flugelhorn

Alex Iles — Lead Trombone
Andy Martin — 2nd Trombone
Steve Holtman — 3rd Trombone
Bill Reichenbach — Bass Trombone

Wally Minko — Keyboards
Andrew Synowiec — Guitar
Edwin Livingston — Bass
Peter Erskine — Drums
Joey DeLeon — Percussion

Dylan Hart — French Horn
Danielle Ondarza — French Horn
Jeremiah Frederick — French Horn
Sharon Jones — French Horn

String players are listed on cover of CD.

Recorded January 5th, 2019, Conway Studios, Los Angeles, CA, engineered by Tommy Vicari

Rich Willey and Michael Abene in Knoxville, TN, 9/6/2018.

Photos by Janet Willey.


Testimonial from Mrs. Diane Bragg, widow of the late Jack Bragg:

December 10, 2022

Dear Rich,

Our mutual friend Jim Butz forwarded your contact info to me so that I could contact you regarding your wonderful composition “But For The Grace Of God.” He had given me a “heads up” in advance of his (and the St. Luke’s Orchestra’s) masterful [memorial] performance during worship. It is such a meaningful piece for many folks, especially in light of Jack’s commitment to both choral and instrumental music. His love of all styles of music (both sacred and secular) as a teacher, singer, and conductor, lifted everyone around him.

Our Chancel Choir and the congregation enjoyed your piece immensely — they were “into” your piece mentally and physically — fun to watch them!

Jack’s musical roots were deeply held, and he shared them generously. I thank you and Jim for sharing your gifts in such a meaningful way. May God bless you always.

Best — Diane Bragg