“Time, like an ever rolling stream, soon bears us all away…”

What you see here is the view from the sanctuary in my parish this afternoon, moments before we began the procession for the Mass marking our 100th anniversary. To put it simply: I’ve never experienced a liturgy quite like this. It was, in every sense, grand: from the entrance procession that included members of various [Read More...]

“Will you join in our crusade…?”

More “Les Mis” music! Below, the international trailer for what looks, increasingly, like something truly great. [Read more...]

For All Saints Day: “I want to be in that number…”

The inimitable Louis Armstrong does it as only he can.  From 1959, at a concert in Germany. Trivia buffs take note: Armstrong lived not far from where I live today, and is buried in Flushing.  His funeral in 1971 drew an astonishing who’s-who of the music world, and the honorary pall bearers included Bing Crosby, [Read More...]

“Within our darkest nights, you kindle a fire that never dies away…”

A priest friend who works at a college on Long Island posted this on his Facebook page this morning: It’s another cloudy day here on Long Island. It’s dark with out power and hard to get around with so many trees down. Dark, no energy and cut off. For many it seems bleak. What lies [Read More...]

“When October goes…”

While we wait for the storm here at The Bench, a little seasonal music — to my mind, the best thing Barry Manilow ever wrote, to accompany a gorgeously melancholy lyric by the late Johnny Mercer. Here’s Rosemary Clooney, with the Glenn Miller orchestra, performing “When October Goes” in 1988. [Read more...]

You’ve got to hear this

A group of cloistered nuns has recorded an album of chant, and and the preview (see the video below) is just gorgeous. From the press release: They are young. They are hidden. They are extremely musical. And now they have a worldwide album distribution deal. But they don’t set foot beyond Northwest Missouri’s rolling farmland. [Read More...]

Owed to joy: check out this thrilling symphony flash mob

Just when you thought this contrivance had been done to death, somebody finds a new and delightful way to bring a little joy into everyday life. This first popped up on YouTube last summer, but since we have a while into the Hallelujah! flash mobs start up again, let’s indulge ourselves, shall we? This comes [Read More...]

Officially adorable: dads singing “Part of Your World”

Now I’ve seen everything. For all you dads out there with little princess-fixated daughters, take heart: you have plenty of company. Enjoy. [Read more...]

“Yes to You”: priest raps a poem about same sex attraction

And now for something completely different. Below is the latest effort at outreach by Courage, the Catholic ministry to gay men and women. It features Fr. Claude (Dusty) Burns aka Fr. Pontifex, with music by Sean Beeson. Excerpt: The same Church that says no when we fail to keep our sexual selves in check Is [Read More...]

RIP, Andy Williams

The legendary crooner is gone:   Andy Williams, the silky-voiced, clean-cut crooner, whose hit recording “Moon River” and years of popular Christmas TV shows brought him fans the world over has died, his publicist said. He was 84. Williams died Tuesday night at his home in Branson following a yearlong battle with bladder cancer, his Los Angeles-based publicist, [Read More...]