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Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014 MMA Benefit Concert Setlist

It was just a wonderful evening, and I can't say what a privilege it is to sing with so many wonderful musicians. And that's just the people I worship, play, and sing with every Sunday! Last night, there were visitors, and they had gathered with a purpose. As every music director knows, the difference between a "normal" worship service and an "extraordinary" one is that the people who come to the latter are intentional, they are there with a purpose. And last night's concert of liturgical music gave us a couple of great purposes: to sing music written for God's worship, to raise funds to form young people in faith, scripture, and worship, and to be together with some foundational songwriters in the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council. I don't think anyone went away disappointed.
"I Will Praise You, Lord" - Gary, Terry, and me

This whole project started about ten weeks ago when another church had to cancel a benefit concert date David had set for his concert. He sent an email to Gary Daigle and me, saying something innocent-sounding and giggly like, "Hey, guys, any chance we could do this at one of your churches? I just think it would be so much fun!" So I checked the calendar at St. Anne and the evening of October 11, aside from a 4:30 p.m. wedding ceremony (no mass) was open. Everyone at the parish, including the pastor, seemed very open to the idea, so I booked it. What I didn't know was that one of our wedding coordinators had failed to put a rehearsal on the calendar, which should have reserved the church from 6-7. The upshot of this was that we had to take the concert on knowing that our setup time would be about an hour. An hour to set up and sound check for a choir of 40, strings, woodwinds, rhythm section, and the featured performance. Mission: Impossible.


David Haas
Somehow, with a lot of work the evenings before, setting up, setting levels, and breaking down again, the whole thing came together. Flights were on time. Tickets got sold. Volunteers volunteered."The song goes on." A quick inquiry at the beginning of the concert indicated there were visitors who had come to the concert from Canada, Minnesota (besides the artists, I mean), Iowa, Missouri, California, Indiana, Tennessee, and...Germany. (Actually, those are some priest-friends who happened to be staying at St. Anne anyway, but hey, they could have gone somewhere else on a Friday night!)


In case you were just dying to know what went on at St. Anne last night, this is the setlist for the Music Ministry Alive benefit concert. Thanks to Mark Karney, our sound engineer, and Gary Daigle for all their hard prep and technical work, and to the amazing band: Nick Bisesi on sax and flute, Anna Belle O'Shea on flute, Randy Meyers on drums, Orlando Cano on percussion, Paul Hilderbrand on bass, Pat McCoy and Dennis Kantarski on guitars, and the Chicago String Quartet.

All six performers:
Canticle of the Turning (Cooney)
We Come to Your Feast (Joncas)

Daigle-Donohoo-Cooney set
I Am for You (Cooney)
I Will Praise You, Lord (Daigle-Cooney)
Safety Harbor (Cooney)
All Things New (Cooney)
Covenant Hymn (Daigle-Cooney)
We Praise You (Balhoff, Daigle, Ducote)
To You Who Bow (Cooney)

All six performers:
Jerusalem, My Destiny (Cooney)
Blest Are They (Haas)

Haas-Haugen-Joncas set
With the Lord (Psalm 130) (Joncas)
Where Your Treasure Is (Haugen)
One Heart, One Mine (Haas)
I Have Loved You (Joncas)
Shepherd Me, O God (Haugen)
You Are Mine (Haas)
For Every Child (Haugen)
Watch, O Lord (Haugen)
We Are Called (Haas)

All six performers:
Walk in the Reign (Cooney)
On Eagle's Wings (Joncas)

Some smarty-pants asked me if I was going to write some new lyrics during the concert, and you'll be glad to know I didn't. But right before the concert, I decided to sneak a new verse into the end of "Walk in the Reign," which after all these years is still one of my favorites (and, I confess, it still rankles me that it has been excluded from Gather since the first Comprehensive edition, but that's life...). Right before the concert started, I went to the choir and told them to "sing hope" for the people who had gathered, because it's one of the lost virtues, isn't it, in a post-post-modern world that equates hope with a fantasy of winning the lottery, or with divine vengeance wrought upon our enemies. So after the bridge of "Walk," in which we sing, following Micah, "Bethlehem! You think you're so small that God doesn't notice your children at all?", I sang a few new words to lead us into Michael's wonderful "On Eagle's Wings":

We wait in the darkness
As death has its day
We tell ancient stories
We watch, fight, and pray,
But everywhere ‘round us
The sower has strewn
The seeds of the future
And whistles a tune,
God whistles a tune, That 
Close as tomorrow
The sun shall appear,
Freedom is coming,
And healing is near.
And I shall be with you
In laughter and pain,
To stand in the wind,
And walk in the reign,
To walk in the reign.

Knowing we are not alone as we look for signs of those seeds sprouting around us, against what we perceive to be against all odds but as inevitable as the sunrise, that is real hope. All I can say is, "I shall be with you" as we watch and wait and work together, and I can play a song on the piano, or if it's a really easy one, on the guitar. Being with one another, even if we have to go to meetings once in a while, makes hope possible. 

Thanks, Terry, Gary, David, Marty, and Michael, and all you folks who played and sang and gave and wept with us.