Want beautiful sacred music? Don’t go to church. Head to the train station.

Proof, from the New York Times:  On a recent Sunday afternoon, 17 people with sheet music gathered in a semicircle in the Graybar Passage at Grand Central Terminal. People streamed by. After a brief warm-up, the group’s conductor, John Hetland, dressed in dark jeans and a green plaid shirt, lifted his hands and the chorus began its [Read More...]

Planning a wedding? Good luck topping this…

Last May, British singer-songwriter Tom Fletcher stood up at his wedding reception and sang a speech to the bridal party. Last week, he decided to post it online. It’s become a sensation, with over eight million hits so far on YouTube. After you’ve watched it below, you’ll understand why. He set the speech to some [Read More...]

Heavenly and heartbreaking: Newtown kids singing “Over the Rainbow”

Kids from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown appeared on “Good Morning America” yesterday with singer Ingrid Michaelson for a sweetly moving rendition of a song that, I dare say, has never resonated quite like this. Check it out, and learn the story behind it, below.  Warning: Kleenex suggested. [Read more...]

“When you’re worried, and you can’t sleep…”

…count your blessings, instead of sheep…” Herewith, one of my favorite songs for the holidays—which really isn’t a Christmas carol, or a hymn, and it doesn’t even mention the season.  But it never fails to strike a chord and say to me, “Christmas.” It comes, of course, from the 1954 film “White Christmas,” which they’ve [Read More...]

“Landfill Harmonic”: making music from what others throw away

This video is beginning to make the rounds: a glimpse at how some are making beautiful music in Paraguay from, literally, garbage. It’s a teaser for a documentary called “Landfill Harmonic:” Cateura, Paraguay is a town essentially built on top of a landfill. Garbage collectors browse the trash for sellable goods, and children are often [Read More...]

Remembering jazz great Dave Brubeck, Catholic

The composer and musician died today:  Dave Brubeck, a jazz musician who attained pop-star acclaim with recordings such as “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital, in Norwalk, Conn., said his longtime manager-producer-conductor Russell Gloyd. Brubeck was one day short of his 92nd birthday. He died of heart [Read More...]

The zinging nun: sister writes anthem against Vatican rebuke—UPDATED

Instead of spotlighting a group like, say, these sisters, (who just knocked “50 Shades of Gray” off the top of the Billboard classical chart), the New York Times has decided to go in another direction in writing about Catholic music this holiday season. The result is below. Details: When Kathy Sherman was in college during [Read More...]

Organ donors needed: why many Catholic churches don’t have organists

Is organ music in church doomed to disappear?  Details, from Catholic News Service: If music conservatories are producing a bumper crop of organ performance graduates, why can’t the parish down the street get a substitute organist for the 10 a.m. Mass? There’s no single answer, but liturgical musicians who spoke with Catholic News Service attribute [Read More...]

“We are going to see the king…”

Soon and very soon.  Like tomorrow, in fact. As a little warmup to tomorrow’s feast, here’s an award-winning gospel choir doing a rockin’ version of a favorite hymn for this feast: “Soon and Very Soon (We Are Going to See the King)”.  Can I hear an “Amen”? [Read more...]

What’s turning off young Catholics? Lousy music

So says a leading lay Catholic in Scotland. Details:  A leading Scots lay Catholic has claimed the music sung in churches is “lousy” and is the reason why young people have stopped going to Mass. Joan Dillon, a Masters graduate of RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), also claimed music at Mass was “more [Read More...]