Category: Music

The Arts: Talent and Discipline
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The Arts: Talent and Discipline

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The arts can nourish the human heart and soul and help to build character. Whether dance, music, theater, visual or literary arts, students must approach their chosen art-form with commitment, focus and discipline. Talent and Discipline What about talent? Talent is a gift, the source of inspiration and insight and is crucial to achieve excellence. But it’s […]

Answering Some Vital Questions
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Answering Some Vital Questions

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Where do you go when it starts to rain? That and some related “musical questions” have been playing over and over in my mind for the last few months. They have made for some interesting soul-searching. For me, the self-examination began on the road. I have to take three business trips annually, all to Kansas […]

A Child, a Song, and the Weight of Glory
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A Child, a Song, and the Weight of Glory

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In 2012, twelve year old singer Jackie Evancho delivered an exquisite rendition of Nella Fantasia. It is the vocal version of Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe. Gabriel’s Oboe is from the soundtrack for the 1986 film The Mission: A favorite film, and composition, of mine. Sweet child, I believe that what you were singing about was […]

The Heartache of Cavatina
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The Heartache of Cavatina

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Most people associate the beautiful song Cavatina (written by Stanley Myers) for classical guitar with the 1978 movie The Deer Hunter. But Cavatina’s heartbreakingly beautiful melody originally appeared in a 1970 a movie called “The Walking Stick”. The Heroine of The Walking Stick was a 26 year old woman named Deborah Dainton who walked with a limp because […]

Is Rock Music Good for You?
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Is Rock Music Good for You?

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We all know that the lyrics of rock music are often morally offensive; however, evidence is appearing which indicates that rock music itself may be harmful regardless of the lyrics.  Although studies of the harmful effects of rock music are hard to find, there is a growing concern that there is something about the beat […]

Why I Keep Returning to the Music of Beethoven
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Why I Keep Returning to the Music of Beethoven

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In the great treasury of music, I keep finding myself coming back again and again to Beethoven. You may think it’s because he was one of the greatest composers who ever lived despite his deafness. That is true, everybody loves great music and everybody loves an over-comer. But there’s something more that keeps drawing me […]

Chiming in on the Church’s Changeless Chant Challenge
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Chiming in on the Church’s Changeless Chant Challenge

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Normally I attend a parish that has excellent music—the best in town, actually. However, last Christmas Eve I ended up at a Mass that included a strange musical prelude. There were great voices in the choir, but the instruments employed (drums and an electric guitar) were out of place. The pounding and grinding were like […]

The Way to Be as Happy as Pharrell Williams (Actually Happier)
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The Way to Be as Happy as Pharrell Williams (Actually Happier)

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The ancients knew we were made for it, we moderns are constantly seeking it: Happiness. It’s often associated with peace, rest, contentment, or completion. It’s the nunc dimittis we all hope to whisper at the end of our day. No matter who you are, where you are, it appears as the Lode Star for all human activity […]

A Study of Transcending Disability
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A Study of Transcending Disability

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I keep a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven on the fireplace mantle in my home. It reminds me of the human capacity to overcome adversity to achieve great things. When I doubt myself in my own acquired disability of multiple sclerosis, I listen to Beethoven — particularly his 9th symphony — written in total deafness, […]

The Love Songs of The Beatles
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The Love Songs of The Beatles

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It’s been 50 years since the Beatles first landed in America and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I’m a pretty avid Beatles fan, and like following the continued legacy of the band.  My favorite aspect of the Beatles is the songwriting team of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The Beatles were a phenomenon many […]

Pete Seeger with Banjo, 1947
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Pete Seeger, Marxist Minstrel

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Seeger was a loyal comrade.

 Christmas Classics from a Father-Daughter Duo
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Christmas Classics from a Father-Daughter Duo

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Just down the Texas highways from me live Kevin McCormick and his daughter Rachel. A mutual friend introduced us, and I learned that Kevin and Rachel has just completed a Christmas album full of classic hymns and songs. The result is an endlessly listenable arrangement of beautiful Christmas favorites: “The First Noel” to “Silent Night” […]

Lenten Music: Kyrie XVII (B)
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Lenten Music: Kyrie XVII (B)

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One of my passions is Gregorian Chant and since we are in the heart of Lent, it is a good time to look at a chant piece proper to the season: The Kyrie in the Sundays of Advent & Lent (Kyrie in Dominicis Adventus et Quadragesimae): Kyrie XVII. Though there are a few variations of […]

In Paradisum: A Reflection Upon a Chant
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In Paradisum: A Reflection Upon a Chant

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My uncle died a couple of years ago.  At the time of his death, I had cause to go back to a particularly beautiful chant piece for funeral Masses called the “In Paradisum” (IP). The Latin text (with my own rough English translation beneath) is as follows: In Paradisum deducant te Angeli; (May the Angels […]

When There Was Romance
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When There Was Romance

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Hey, pallie, what the heck happened to romance? I use the word “pallie” in deference to the great Dean Martin. A few summers ago, just before the annual Dean Martin Festival in Dino’s home town of Steubenville, Ohio, I decided to compare today’s hits with his. I started with the No. 1 song on Billboard […]

Review of CD by Cloistered Nuns: Advent at Ephesus
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Review of CD by Cloistered Nuns: Advent at Ephesus

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A few years ago, I was delighted when friends gifted me with a CD of sacred music by a religious community that I’d never heard of before, The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. It was their first album, privately recorded, and self-released, yet I was quickly taken by these gentle, prayerful voices and soothing […]

Pope Paul VI's Playlist
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Pope Paul VI’s Playlist

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In an attempt to stay plugged in to American culture while I live overseas for 16 months, I have regularly acquainted myself with the Billboard Top 40. Not surprisingly, in reflecting on the love proposed by Humanae Vitae, the concept of faithfulness is glaringly absent from mainstream media and culture.  Not that freedom, totality, and […]

Liturgical Worship or Concert Attendance?
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Liturgical Worship or Concert Attendance?

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Reflecting Upon Attending a Christian Concert On Friday, February 4, I attended the Rock and Worship Roadshow at the Resch Center in Green Bay, WI.[i]  I went because the artist Matt Maher was playing and I hoped to have the opportunity to meet and talk with him.[ii]  I am glad to say that I was […]