“Don’t let the light go out…”

For our Jewish neighbors, a favorite of The Bench: a seasonal chestnut from Peter, Paul and Mary and their classic 1988 TV special on PBS.   Happy Hanukkah! [Read more...]

It’s here: this season’s first big holiday flash mob

Leave it to T-Mobile to kick-start the season with another splashy production number in a public space — this one, a shopping mall outside Chicago. [Read more...]

The story behind “Now Thank We All Our God”

From the vault, one of my favorites: I suspect most Catholics don’t know the name Martin Rinkart. But this Lutheran deacon and composer left us a beautiful testament to faith and thanksgiving: he composed the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God.” Some details about his life and times shed new light on this familiar [Read More...]

The spirituality of Springsteen

That was the topic of an unusual workshop held last month at  St. Barnabas parish in New Jersey last month, where  Augustinian friar Fr. Kevin Keelan spoke about the religious threads running through the writings of Bruce Springsteen.  (One of those in attendance was Springsteen’s mother, Adele, shown above with the priest.) From the Trenton [Read More...]

Friday palate-cleanser: singing about Jesus on Letterman

Elsewhere, I’ve written about the new production of “Godspell” on Broadway, and even linked to a clever flash mob staged in Times Square.  Here’s the cast on the David Letterman show earlier this week.  (It’s always good to remember that we are the light of the world, isn’t it?) Fun fact: In the early 1970′s, [Read More...]

How do you make a music video for people who can’t hear music?

Like this. Behold: a music video for hearing-impaired children, courtesy The Deaf Professional Arts Network. [Read more...]

"Godspell" gets born again

With “Godspell,” as with so many things, you never forget your first time. Mine was in the spring of 1973, on an 8th grade class trip that took us down to Ford’s Theater in Washington to see that “hippie musical about Jesus,” as one of the nuns in the school disdainfully called it (though to [Read More...]

Aaron Neville: "I want people to see Him in me…"

Raymond Arroyo has a glimpse inside the profound faith of this Catholic singer — and Aaron Neville himself speaks movingly of his journey into drug addiction and back: “It’s four o’clock in the morning in New York, and I’m staying at a friend’s house, and I’m sitting there by myself with a tape recorder. And [Read More...]

"All are welcome" — or are they?

Discussing notions of what is beautiful in liturgy, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin used his newspaper column recently to take aim at one popular church hymn: Beautiful can never be mistaken as an indicator of what pleases some majority of people somewhere. The fact that our parish likes to sing a particular song at [Read More...]

Is your neighbor bugging you?

Be glad you don’t live next door to this guy in Riverside, CA.  He does this every year (check out last year’s spectacular, set to “Thriller.”). Me, I consider Halloween a success if I remember to buy enough candy corn.  But something like this?   I’m awestruck. [Read more...]


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