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! 

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