What Would Pope Benedict or the Psalmist Say About THIS Music?

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your truth in the watches of the night, on the ten-stringed lyre and the lute, with the murmuring sound of the harp. (Psalm 92:2-4)And, apparently, with the music of birds on wires, as well, at least in the eyes, and to the ears, of one clever musician in Brazil!While reading a newspaper one day, a musician named Jarbas Agnelli saw a photo of birds sitting on an … [Read more...]

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And Now, Nicholas Connors will Blow. Your. Mind.

I know nothing at all about this child, except for two things. No, three.1) He has a lithe vocal instrument of remarkable clarity, sweetness, and power.2) His mother appears to know how to support without forgetting to be honest.3) J. J. Watt was is very cool. And I don't actually know who he is.Check out young Nicholas' performance of the National Anthem. That's a rare gift and a natural musicality, there. … [Read more...]

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Absorbing the Mind and Music of Sam Rocha

One of the great charms of Sam Rocha is that he hasn't much interest in thinking along easy or comfortable lines. Whether writing on education, or poverty or art, he is always just a little bit jarring. Sometimes you have to read a piece of his twice, or even go back to it a third time, to fully appreciate the depths and nuance of his arguments.This originality informs his musical ideas, as well. Not too many people, for instance, consider Saint Augustine's thoughts on love, humility, … [Read more...]

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Grief, a Joyful Nun, Misery-lovers & the Annunciation

My column at First Things looks at two stories from last week -- one grievous, and one glad -- and how, amid the mysteries contained within each, some people could only be miserable:The immediate responses seemed like reasonable ones: The plight of a family facing a wound of such depth would naturally evoke empathetic sadness in others, and our human need to feel empowered in dreadful circumstances fueled an impressively-answered fundraiser meant to defray the costs of emergency airlifts, … [Read more...]

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Augustine’s Confessions Set to Music? Let’s Bring This Baby Home! – UPDATE: GOAL REACHED!

:::UPDATE:::: GOAL REACHED! Applaud yourselves for the hand you've had in a creative endeavor! :::END UPDATE:::Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You … [Read more...]

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Advent Reading Recommendations 2013 – UPDATED

Julie Davis beat me to it, but as usual, I have some Advent Reading ideas -- and more than one of them would also make terrific Christmas gifts:Topping the List, because I just think it's so cool to have music specific to Advent to access at this time: The Benedictines of Mary's must-have recording, Advent at Ephesus. If you didn't get it last year, do yourself a favor and gift yourself with this glorious music, which is the antidote to all the noise that is about to come upon us. Listen … [Read more...]

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“A Very Safe Place” in a world so thin of them…

The value of a musical education begun during the early years of childhood has been well-documented; students who are exposed to musical instruction while young tend to do better in math and language arts and -- more importantly -- they develop a musicality that will remain with them for as long as they choose to use it, and can always be re-gained. At a recent family event our sons brought out a guitar, a uke, a mandolin and (and a fiddle for a guest) and it was kind of delightful to have a … [Read more...]

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Benedictine Voices: Angels and Saints Debuts at #1

So, Katrina is in one of her hissing moods, tonight, and I have decided that what she needs is to listen to the incredibly sweet tone of the Benedictines of Mary, whose latest album, Angels and Saints at Ephesus has debuted at #1 on the Classical music charts.Why am I doing this? Because that's just the kind of gal I am, and also because "music hath charms to soothe the savage breast", and for soothing the savage there is almost nothing better than this stuff. I don't know if it's because … [Read more...]

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No Room for God in this “Adoration of the Magi”

I really like the way Simcha Fisher analyzes this painting, "The Adoration of the Magi" by Tai-Shan Shierenberg.Is it a problem that these "Magi" are not kings or wise men, that they're not even all men, that they don't have historically accurate clothes or hair, or that they don't show any signs of bearing gifts or of having traveled afar? Not necessarily. These departures from more traditional art may irritate or perplex you, but they aren't enough, in themselves, to disqualify this … [Read more...]

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The Muscular Spirituality of Leah Libresco – UPDATED

In its end-of-year issue, Our Sunday Visitor has profiled 9 Outstanding Catholics of 2012 who have been particularly effective "examples of leadership, service and witness in the past year."Three of those nominated for consideration blog here, at Patheos -- Marc Barnes (Bad Catholic), Lisa Hendey (A Good Measure) and Leah Libresco (Unequally Yoked) -- and another, Sister Lisa Marie Doty, of Nunspeak Blog has contributed several pieces, to our Habit of Witness series.It was my pleasure … [Read more...]

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