Sunday, February 9, 2020

We Should Glory in the Cross

As a composer, Bob Hurd has always grounded his creative work on liturgical need for the worshipping community. He never writes for just for the sake of having a “hit song,” although many of his songs have indeed become the most popular songs in the Catholic repertoire. So when I proposed the idea of us collaborating again, Bob immediately asked, “What are the current needs in liturgical music today?” 

I pondered that for a couple of days. This was shortly after the Christmas season for 2018 had concluded, and my parish was already planning for Lent, Holy Week and Easter. My music director and I sometimes joke that Holy Week is easy to plan for because we always do the same songs year after year. But that got me thinking. Why are we doing the same songs all the time for the great liturgical seasons? Yes, certainly there are classics in the Catholic repertoire that are essential to Holy Week and Easter: “Hosanna Filio David” on Palm Sunday; “Pange Lingua” on Holy Thursday; “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” on Easter Sunday. I would never dream of replacing those beloved songs at my parish. But when you consider all the ritual texts that occur during these holiest of days, there is wealth of source material that could use some fresh musical settings. 

OCP has not published a collection of new music for Holy Week and Easter since the year 2000. Music composed at that time was beautiful and have since become classics that are still in use today. But a lot has happened liturgically since the dawn of the new century. The official Mass text was revised in 2010, as mandated by the new Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition. And there is now an emphasis and preference for singing the actual Propers of the Mass: the Entrance and Communion Antiphons, and the official texts of the Responsorial Psalm. As some liturgists say, “We must sing the Mass, not sing at  Mass.” 

The Mass Propers are meaningful and underutilized in American Catholic parishes. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal has always given four options for singing at the Entrance rite:

In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: 

(1)   the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum as set to music there or in another setting; 

(2)   the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduale Simplex for the liturgical time; 

(3)   a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; 

(4)   another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.  

-General Instruction on the Roman Missal, #48

For various reasons, in America we latched onto that third or fourth option – the singing of an appropriate approved hymn, much to the detriment of singing the Antiphons. Pastorally, I can understand that. Singing a hymn or song is easier for the people, who are accustomed to hymn form, or the Refrain-Verse (responsorial) structure of modern song, which allows them to sing easily. The challenge of the Antiphons is that the official text varies in length and form every Sunday. To effectively sing them, the assembly must learn a new song each week, or fall back on a system of non-metered chant that has been the usual vehicle for the singing of the official liturgical text for centuries. Either option may be difficult for the average parish community. 

A number of composers are addressing this challenge either by setting the Antiphons to chant, or by creating a new system that allows for the text to be sung in a contemporary song form. I eagerly look forward to singing the fruits of their labor! For the new Hurd-Canedo collection, as Bob and I studied and prayed the various antiphons, psalms and ritual texts, we realized what a rich song writing opportunity we had. For example, here is the official Entrance Antiphon for Holy Thursday, now known in the Roman Missal as Thursday of the Lord’s Supper. 

We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
in whom is our salvation, 
life and resurrection, 
through whom we are saved and delivered. 

Such an amazing and meaningful text! On Holy Thursday, many communities sing a Eucharistic hymn for their Entrance Song, but the official antiphon sets the table, so to speak, and reminds the community of the fact that the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper is the beginning of the sacred Paschal Triduum. Notice how this Entrance Antiphon for Holy Thursday doesn’t even mention the Eucharist but is focused on the Cross (Good Friday) and the Resurrection (Easter). In other words, there is no compartmentalization of the three days of the Triduum. We don’t just sing of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday. We don’t just sing of the Cross and Jesus’ death on Good Friday. We don’t just sing of the Resurrection at the Easter Vigil. Right from the start, we are reminded by this Entrance Antiphon that the Triduum is one continuous celebration of our salvation through the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

As I prayed that Entrance Antiphon, I considered how an assembly might be empowered to sing that text in an accessible way. I also thought about the style of music that Bob and I are known for. Would it be possible to sing “We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” as a gospel-style hymn? I typed up the text and placed it in front of me at my piano, along with pencil and blank manuscript paper. 

I gave myself a strict mandate: Use the official text only! No paraphrasing, and try not to repeat words, if at all possible. I recited the text aloud, over and over. Discovering a rhythm to those words, I began to put together some chords on the piano. From there, a melody emerged. After a couple of hours of playing through my rough draft, I had a song! I recorded it on my iPhone, scored it out on Finale notation software, emailed it to Bob, and gave him a call. It was a good beginning and we were on our way. 

“We Should Glory in the Cross” is the title song of the new Hurd-Canedo collection. At this writing, Bob and I are still in the studio, recording and mixing, so I am not yet able to share a sample track, but we are anticipating a release later in 2020. We also looked at the official texts for the Responsorial Psalms and antiphons for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. In future blogs, I will write about these new songs. 


Monday, January 27, 2020

Baseball Sign-Stealing Scandal: “Say It Ain’t So!”

I love baseball. Sometimes I think that makes me a dying breed, but then I go to a game to see my beloved San Francisco Giants at their beautiful Orenco Park, thrilled to be in a full stadium with fellow Giants fans. 

I’m a late bloomer; I did not play in Little League. Growing up in Los Angeles, I started out as a Dodger fan. (I know, I know. That means I’m a team traitor, but I moved to San Francisco in 1986, fell in love with the Giants, and never looked back.) But I didn't actually play the game myself until my college days in the 1970s, when I would watch my friends play informal pick-up games on the athletic field. One day, someone noticed me sitting alone on the grass.

“Hey, Ken!” a close friend shouted. “We need an outfielder. Come on down!” 

“Who, me?” I shouted back. “No way! I’ve never played baseball in my life. I would only embarrass myself.” My friend gave me a surprised look as the game continued, short an outfielder. Later, he approached me (let’s call him Tim). 

“What do you mean, you’ve never played baseball?” asked Tim. “Where have you been? I’ve seen you enjoy Dodger games on TV.” 

“It’s true,” I replied sheepishly. “I’ve never done any sports in my life.” I’m the oldest sibling, I had no older brother to introduce me to sports, and my father was already in his senior years by the time I was in grade school. So I focused on music and math but not sports. 

“Lame excuse,” said Tim as he handed me a mitt. “Catch!” He then tossed me a ball. What do I do? It was a clumsy effort but I managed to catch the ball. “Now toss it back to me,” said my new coach as he walked several feet away from me. 

My initial excursion into actually playing baseball was tentative but promising. “That’s it. You’re getting it. Way to go, Kenny!” I had to admit I was enjoying this impromptu game of catch. Then followed several afternoon coaching sessions when I learned how to throw the ball near and far, and how to catch it in several situations: long overhead flyball in the outfield; scooping catch at shortstop followed by a quick toss to first base; diving catch; you name it, I caught it. I was actually starting to get good! But then came batting lessons. 

I was a lousy hitter, or so I thought. Tim taught me the correct batting stance, and how to watch the pitcher and anticipate his pitch. Eye-hand coordination! The secrets of this sport that I only watched on TV were finally opening up to me! It wasn’t long before I started playing informal live games on our college field with other friends. I was having a grand time! 

I ended up as an outfielder, with centerfield as my favorite position. I developed a knack for catching a long flyball and tossing it back to an infielder just in the nick of time. As for batting, I never hit a homerun but I consistently sent fast choppers through that sweet spot between third and second, always forcing the shortstop to attempt a diving catch and missing. I always put the ball into play and generated a lot of RBIs. After a while, I noticed players on the opposing team would alter their positions slightly whenever I came up to bat. That sure felt good! I had a talent in baseball that I never knew I had, all because of friends who took the time to show me the ropes. Those skills have served me well throughout my life in parish and youth ministry situations whenever an informal baseball game was played. 

The upshot of my newfound skills is that I grew to love baseball even more. Being a player, I finally understood the nuances of the game and saw things I never noticed before when I simply watched on television: the double-play set-up; the need for the batter to run quickly and never dive into first base; the different kinds of pitches a skillful pitcher can employ; and the catcher’s signals to the pitcher to help him decide which pitch to throw: fastball, curveball, changeup, breaking ball, slider, etc.  And that aspect of the game is what is currently causing angst among baseball fans. 

Baseball is a game of inches and nuances. It’s a game of strategy in which the manager utilizes his players like a chess master; where the pitcher studies an opposing hitter’s stats and videos ahead of time so he can decide on the best pitch to get him out; and where the catcher, who has the best seat in the stadium, understands the flow of a game and calls the best sequence of pitches for the pitcher to throw. These catcher’s “signs” are essential in a traditional sport that is played in a loud stadium and does not use technology to transmit this essential strategy into player headsets. 

Naturally, sign stealing by the opposing team is going to give them an edge. If batters know in advance what pitch will be thrown to them then, of course, they will successfully fatten their batting average. The history of the game is littered with stories of teams who found ways to read the opposing team’s signs to give their hitters that edge. It’s not kosher; it’s cheating! And usually, cheating teams have been found out and penalized. 

In times past, cheating teams utilized their own system of counter-signs to convey pitch info to their batters. Fast forward to 2017. The Houston Astros, who had been in the cellar for several seasons, suddenly bounded into the playoffs. Their players’ batting averages were off the charts.

Now they were in the World Series, hitting their way to a championship by beating the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers, who arguably had the best pitchers in baseball, including the amazing Clayton Kershaw. Followers of the game now know the reason for the Astros’ successful surge: they were cheating! They utilized technology and chutzpah to read their playoff opponents’ signs. A video camera was strategically hidden in centerfield, zooming in on the catcher as he discreetly signaled pitches to his pitcher. An Astro player studied the monitor and banged on a plastic trash can – a trash can! – to convey to his batter the pitch that was coming up: one bang for fastball; two bangs for curveball; no bang for changeup; etc. One of the enduring images of that World Series is a dejected Kershaw hanging his head low on the mound as yet another Houston homerun was batted against him. 

How low could a team go? Did the Astros think they could actually get away with this? They won the World Series; they had their dogpile on the infield after their last out and sprayed each other with champagne in the locker room; they had their victory parade through the streets of their city. To their credit, the dejected Dodgers returned to the World Series the following year against Boston, only to taste defeat again. Turns out the manager of the 2018 Red Sox was instrumental in setting up the Astros’ cheating technology when he served as a coach for the 2017 Astros. Hmmm. Can you smell the rats? 

No, the Astros and, apparently, the Red Sox could not get away with this. Thanks to a whistleblower, Major League Baseball conducted an investigation and found the Astros guilty of illegal use of technology. Justice was swift: Houston GM Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch were suspended, and the team’s owner subsequently fired them. The Astros were also fined $5 million, and they forfeited their first and second-round draft picks for the next two years. 

In a further development, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was also quickly fired, as was Carlos Beltran, the new manager of the New York Mets who, you guessed it, was a player for the 2017 cheating Astros. At this writing, MLB is still investigating the Red Sox. So discipline is being handed down against executive and managerial staff. Players have not been disciplined because of their cooperation in the investigation. 

Both the 2017 and 2018 postseason and World Series are damaged goods. Both the Astros and the Red Sox will have an asterisk next to their championship pennants and trophies. Those games cannot be replayed. It’s too late! Many of those players have either retired or were traded to other teams. Meanwhile, the Dodgers and their fans will always wonder “what if.” There is no guarantee that LA would have won the World Series in those two years but their opponents’ cheating certainly makes the outcome suspect. Careers are forever altered. Pitchers Yu Darvish (now playing for another team) and Clayton Kershaw have a reputation for always choking in the postseason. So does LA manager Dave Roberts. If they had won the World Series in both years, their careers and stats would have been revitalized. Sadly, it is now too late to do anything about it. 

Please understand that I am in no way, shape or form a Dodger fan, but I do believe that the integrity of the game is of utmost importance. What does it say to the youth of America when cheating is so callously used to win championships? I think of all those kids in Little League, those high school stars, those college and minor league standouts and, yes, those everyday batters and outfielders like me who played informal pickup games in parish and school fields across the land. 

Baseball is supposed to be fun. We build our memories of the game on our skills and our following the rules that ensure an honest outcome. If that integrity is compromised then baseball is a sham. Say it ain’t so! 

Sunday, January 5, 2020


Mystery of life. 
In youth 
you think you’ll live forever. 
You blaze a trail. 
You yearn. You live. 
Decades pass, 
the unexpected and unplanned 
become your life, a gift of love. 
Grateful. So very grateful. 

Mystery of death. 
Life crashes down 
as friends from youth are taken 
way too soon. 
You shake your head. 
You mourn. You pray. 
Time’s a thief, 
so unexpected and unplanned. 
Yet death cannot destroy your love. 
Still grateful. So very grateful. 

-Ken Canedo, January 2020 
as I mourn the recent unexpected loss 
of two high school friends, 
Michael Milas and Tony Smith,
Queen of Angels Seminary, Class of 1970. 
God rest their souls. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

2019 Christmas Letter to Family and Friends

Dear Family and Friends, 

Welcome to my blogsite, where I post occasional musings that may or may not be amusing or otherwise. I blogged sporadically in recent years but got back into it as I was nearing the completion of my second book, From Mountains High: Contemporary Catholic Music 1970-1985. 

Writing a book is an exhaustive task, as one might imagine, requiring months or even years of research and interviews, followed by more months and years of writing and re-writing. 

I heard that while he was working on East of Eden, John Steinbeck began each day by writing a letter to his editor – a loose and free-wheeling journal in which the famed author worked out ideas for his novel, discussed character motivations, or just about anything else that came to mind, including the view outside his window and what he had for dinner the night before. Sounds good to me. You can catch a glimpse of how my mind works in these blogs. I try not to vent but, at the very least, I hope it's interesting. 

2019 was an amazing year! Here are some highlights. 

Wedding of my niece Daniele Vignaude and Christopher Kimmons 

I am the oldest of nine siblings. My family was eventually blessed with an additional nine; I have eight nieces and one nephew. Daniele, the daughter of my sister Teresa and her late husband Aumont, is my second niece to be married, after my oldest niece Adrien. In March, we all got together at Rancho Palos Verdes in Southern California for a delightful ceremony and celebration. 

It was great for all of us to be together again. I remember Dani as a delightful toddler and it was very emotional for me to see her all grown up and beautiful in her bridal gown. Chris serves in the Army so they both moved to the military base in North Carolina shortly after the wedding. 

From Mountains High is awarded Third Place in the Liturgy category by the Catholic Press Association

The Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada is an association of newspaper and media specialists specialized on reporting on the Roman Catholic Church. Founded in 1911, it has over 600 member organizations and reaches to over 26 million people. 

From the CPA website: 
The purpose of the Catholic Press Awards is to acknowledge the outstanding work of its Publisher and Communication members as they strive to further the mission of the Church. On a daily basis they inform, inspire and educate readers keeping them connected to their faith, and telling the story of the Church. It is those contributions that are recognized through these awards. 

In the category of liturgy, my book From Mountains High was awarded Third Place. This is a great honor and I was delightfully surprised to receive this recognition from my industry peers. This second book in my series on the history of contemporary Catholic music covered the stories of the St. Louis Jesuits, Michael Joncas, Hispanic music ministry, Monks of Weston Priory, David Haas, and other groundbreaking composers from the 1970s and early 1980s. I am now working on books three and four concurrently. 

More info from my website.

Mass of Glory is recognized by OCP with the 2019 Publisher Award 

The secular record industry awards Gold and Platinum Records to those artists whose recordings have reached a landmark plateau in sales. In the liturgical industry, the various publishers bestow similar awards for individual songs and composer collections (albums). Last summer in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the annual convention of the National Pastoral Musicians Association (NPM), I was surprised to receive the 2019 Publisher Award from Oregon Catholic Press for Mass of Glory, the Mass setting I co-composed with Bob Hurd way back in 1991. A gospel-style setting of the acclamations of the Catholic liturgy, Mass of Glory quickly took off in popularity after it was released 27 years ago, culminating recently in over 25,000 units sold! I’m told that in the liturgical industry that is a rare achievement, especially for a musical setting of the Mass. Publisher Wade Wisler announced the award at our company banquet, and my fellow composers and staff spontaneously burst into singing “Alleluia! Give the Glory” as I walked to the podium in shock to receive the award. God is good! 

Bob was unable to attend the convention so he received his award a few weeks later in the mail. Coincidentally, we had already been at work on our follow-up project. 

New Bob Hurd-Ken Canedo album of liturgical music 

Bob Hurd and I go way back. We’ve known each other since college days in the early 1970s. In a series of recent blogs, I trace the long arc of our friendship and creative collaboration. 

It became clear just a couple of years after release that “Alleluia! Give the Glory” and Mass of Glory were being sung in Catholic parishes all over America. People started asking Bob and me about our next project that we jokingly called Son of Alleluia! Give the Glory. As I explain in the blog, we were both so busy and involved with our own lives and ministries. But in this past year, we suddenly started composing together again, via email and with personal time together at Bob’s piano at his home in Claremont, California. Watch for future blogs on the story of our new songs and our recording sessions. 

Nicholas Andrew Barber 

For the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of sharing music ministry my friend Nick Barber, a contemporary Catholic songwriter who hails from Lincoln, Nebraska. A recent convert to Catholicism, I met Nick at my parish, Holy Trinity in Beaverton, Oregon, when he and his wife Erika were enrolled in our RCIA. I soon discovered Nick’s amazing talent as a singer-songwriter, and we started performing together at local parishes, the Grotto in Portland, and Lady Hill Winery in St. Paul, Oregon. Nick’s background is compelling because he is also a practicing cancer doctor, specializing in hematology and medical oncology. Click here to read Nick’s inspiring story. 

Meeting Pope Francis 

The most incredible event in this amazing year was my participation in a sacred music conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council on Culture in Rome. The conference culminated with a special personal encounter with Pope Francis. 

My blogs from those days tell the story. 

2019 was definitely a year of extraordinary blessings. On top of all this excitement, I continue my day job at OCP as music Development Specialist, plus my weekend music ministry at Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton, where I also help out as a presenter for our RCIA program. If you are ever in Portland, I invite you to our Sunday morning liturgies at 8:00, 9:30 and 11:15. You’ll find me at the piano, supporting Mark Nieves, our Director of Music Ministry, and our very talented choirs. 

God bless you and those dear to you! I cherish and appreciate our friendship. Have a Merry Christmas, and may 2020 bring you good health and God’s abundant blessings. 

Peace, joy, love! 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Son of AGTG: Why So Long for the Next Hurd-Canedo Project?

No one was more surprised at the success of Alleluia! Give the Glory  than Bob Hurd and me. Based on popular requests, Mass of Glory  and several of the album’s songs were quickly added to OCP’s pew resources: Music Issue and, eventually, Breaking Bread, Spirit & Song, and Glory & Praise, Second and Third Editions.  It wasn’t long before people started asking, “When is the next Hurd-Canedo album coming?” 

Over the years, Bob and I joked about creating a new project called Son of Alleluia! Give the Glory, but we just got too busy in our own solo projects and career paths. Bob immediately launched into an exciting collaboration with Jaime Cortez that resulted in their groundbreaking Spanish-English bilingual collection, Somos El Cuerpo de Cristo / We Are the Body of Christ.

Bob started teaching philosophy at Santa Clara University in California but continued more solo liturgical albums/collections well into the 2000s that continued to display his gift for openness to the diverse needs of the multicultural Church: Ubi Caritas; Misa del Pueblo Inmigrante; A Contemplative Rosary; Holy Is the Temple; A Lenten Journey; CantarĂ© Eternamente / Forever I Will Sing (bilingual psalms compilation); God’s Eye Is on the Sparrow (a retrospective on his years with Anawim); Dining in the Kingdom; Our Common Home (a compilation of various composers reflecting on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si); The Bread of Your Word; and so much more. I get exhausted just reading this list of Bob’s continuing creative output! 

Meanwhile, in the 1990s, I got involved at St. Monica Parish in Moraga, California as pastoral musician and, eventually, as youth minister. At this parish, I honed my skills as a liturgical composer, writing songs and hymns for the community’s liturgical needs. Unity Music Press, an imprint of the Lorenz Corporation in Dayton, Ohio, started publishing octavos of my individual songs, including “Fly Like a Bird,” which was eventually picked up by OCP. Unity also published my Pentecost musical, We Are a Light.

Most notably, in the 1990s, I met Jesse Manibusan and collaborated with him in youth ministry events throughout the Diocese of Oakland. We had a band that led the music at monthly gymnasium liturgies at Catholic high schools in Oakland, Concord, San Francisco, San Mateo, and other cities in the Bay Area. From this partnership emerged new original songs for youth ministry, including “Holy Spirit,” “Mountain of God,” “We are the Light,” “Power of Peace,” “Fish with Me,” and other songs that were featured in Jesse’s solo albums, and in our collaborative CD, Love Never Fails in 2003. We had a follow-up album in 2016, Fish With Me

In 1999, OCP published the first edition of Spirit & Song that included the youth ministry songs that Jesse and I were composing together. In November 2000, I left the Bay Area and moved to Portland to take up a job with OCP as Marketing Assistant. I now work for them as Music Development Specialist while continuing my ministry as a composer and as a pastoral musician at Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton, Oregon. 

OCP did gather together all the diverse parts of the Hurd-Canedo Mass setting in the Mass of Glory collection (2000) that included the new movements we composed for Spirit & Song, including a Glory to God and the Memorial Acclamations. This was revised in 2010 with the promulgation of the new Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition.

And, within the past 19 years, Bob and I became authors, writing for various liturgy magazines and books. My books include Keep the Fire Burning: The Folk Mass Revolution (2009) and its sequel, From Mountains High: Contemporary Catholic Music 1970-1985 (2018). Bob’s book, Compassionate Christ, Compassionate People, was published in 2019. 

Can you see why it’s taken almost 30 years for Bob and me to finally do a follow-up to Alleluia! Give the Glory? We’ve just been too busy on the paths of our respective lives and ministries. God is good! 

Next blog: More details on the new Hurd-Canedo album/collection!

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Was I dreaming?  There I was in the great cathedral, sitting in the pews with a broad cross-section of humanity: CEOs and soldiers, patriarchs and prostitutes, young and old, men and women of all races, all faiths, all nations.  Our hands were raised in prayer, and we were united in one voice, singing an incredible gospel-style song that I had never heard before.  Swaying back and forth with the congregation to the basic blues beat, I was too far back in the church to see what was going on in the sanctuary.  But it didn’t matter.  God was in our midst, right where we were, as we sang our hearts out. 

Shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters in the Lord, I gazed upward and was pleasantly surprised to find that the cathedral had no ceiling!  Instead, our sweet singing soared straight up to God’s blue sky!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

The alarm clock buzzed and I slowly sat up in my bed in a hotel room.  It was indeed a dream!  I shook my head and got my bearings.  Today was the wedding day my good friend, Tom Riley, to his fiancĂ©e, Becca.  The liturgy was to take place in Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Sacramento, California, where we had a rehearsal the night before.  After the rehearsal dinner, Tom, his brothers Mark and Brian, and a few other friends and I went out to a local blues bar.  This wedding was a major event in Tom’s family, and we wanted to celebrate.

Funny how dreams work: the cathedral, the blues, celebrating with family and friends not seen in such a long time.  All that entered into my dream.  And that song!  That melody!  It was still playing in my head!  I had to write it down.  Looking around the hotel room, the only paper available was the hotel stationery on the desk table.  I was determined not to forget that melody, so I quickly drew out several staff lines and penciled in the notes with the 12/8 time signature. Confident that I had captured the gist of the song, I folded the stationery in half, placed it in my bag, and got cleaned up and dressed for the wedding liturgy.  

It was a wonderful day, and in the midst of the joy and celebration I promptly forgot about the song and the dream.  In fact, I didn’t even think about it again until two weeks later, when I cleaned out my bag.  There was the crumpled hotel stationery with the penciled melody.  Intrigued, I went to my piano and started playing through it.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  There was that song again, just like in my dream.  Was this for real?

Now the song was stuck in my head for several days as I tried to write lyrics.  I knew early on that this was to be a Gospel Acclamation because three “Alleluias” fit perfectly into the opening bars.  But it needed something else to complete it.  I decided to share it with my old college friend, Bob Hurd.  Maybe he would have an idea for what I could do with this song.  

As I drove down Highway 101 from San Francisco to San Jose, I kept the radio off so I could sing the song over and over again.  By the time I arrived at Bob’s I had the additional lyrics that the song needed: “Give the glory and the honor to the Lord!”

And so, I sat down at Bob’s baby grand piano and played him this fragmented dream song.  Bob listened silently and asked me to keep playing it again and again.  

“You know, Ken, I’m working on a new collection of gospel-style music, and this Alleluia would be perfect for it!”  We took out a lectionary and figured out some basic verses.  By the end of the day, we looked at what we composed together: “Alleluia! Give the Glory!”

At that time, Bob and I were working together as pastoral musicians at St. Leander’s Church in San Leandro, on the Oakland side of the San Francisco Bay.  Our contemporary choir was already singing a Holy, Holy, Holy that I composed, and a Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen.  All of this, plus some additional acclamations that Bob composed, would eventually become the Mass of Glory,  so named because of our Gospel Acclamation anchor song. 

The Alleluia! Give the Glory  collection contained the parts of the Mass of Glory  that Bob and I had completed thus far.  This 1992 CD was my very first published work since my college-era songs that were published by F.E.L. Publications in the late 1970s.  Bob was gracious in allowing me equal billing with him on this CD.  The whole idea of a gospel-style collection was a departure for Bob, and we didn’t know if the Catholic community would accept this more lively material.

Just six years later, OCP asked Bob and me to complete our Mass setting by writing music for the Glory to God, the Lord’s Prayer, and additional Memorial Acclamations.  Mass of Glory  had taken off almost immediately, and now it was to be the anchor Mass setting for the new Spirit & Song  contemporary songbook.  

Today, almost everywhere I go, people are singing Mass of Glory  and, especially, “Alleluia! Give the Glory.”  It started out as a dream.  Now, with the enthusiastic acceptance of this song by people all over the world, that dream has come true.  All I can say is, “Give the glory and the honor to the Lord!”