When I first started in hymnody, I wrote hymn texts inspired by the music of others---tunes in the public domain. Soon the questions began. "Wait what? You didn't write the music?" "Have you ever considered writing your own music?" "So why don't you write your own music?"
I decided it was time to write my own music. Whether set to my compositions or those of others, my hymn texts are theologically sound, carefully crafted, and singable. As a church musician, I know that when any one of these three elements is missing, the congregation is the first to suffer. While Jesus did warn us that following Him would mean suffering, I doubt that that is what He had in mind...
As a convert to the Church, I want to encourage fellow Catholics to sing with all our heart, soul, and strength. During this pandemic, we can practice doing so at home. Singing is not meant to be confined to the choir; the Mass itself is like a fountain pouring out the joy of Christ upon our hearts, a joy that we are charged to share with a desperate and hurting world. Translating that joy into works of music is part of my life's vocation.
November 7th, 2020: "Blessed Mary Ever Virgin," written to the tune ST. THOMAS (Wade). First verse performed by a cantor as the entrance hymn at the 9 AM Mass, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Lake Ridge, Virginia. Start from about 3:45 in this video.
August 15th, 2020: “O Queen of Sorrows, Weeping Rose,” written to the tune REPTON. Performed by a cantor as the Communion meditation at the 10:00 AM Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Parish of St. Catherine of Siena, Trumbull, Connecticut. Here is a partial video of the service; start from about the 7:30 mark to hear the hymn.
March 2020: “Hear, Holy Mother,” written to the tune CHRISTE SANCTORUM. This hymn asks Our Lady’s intercession in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here is an article about this piece from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport website.
January 2020: “Christ, the Word of invitation" (tune: HYFRYDOL) for Word of God Sunday, commissioned by the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena, Trumbull, Connecticut.
January 2019: “Fully God and fully human" (tune: ST. THOMAS (Wade)) on the wedding feast at Cana, commissioned by the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena, Trumbull, Connecticut.
At Christmas 2020 I wrote the carol "Let Us Set Sail for Bethlehem" to the tune MENDON. In this article, I talk about my faith journey and perform the carol! Fairfield County folk may pick up a few inside references.
In 2020 I also contributed several texts just for fun to the Hymn Society's "COVID Carols" project.
December 2018: “Carol of Welcome,” (tune: SLANE) used in Christmas services at the Episcopal-Lutheran Church of the Nativity and Holy Comforter, Baltimore, Maryland, and First Church of Christ, Scientist, Ukiah, California. This carol can be sung in English alone or as a macaronic text in English and Irish!
Stay, well, tuned.