Please describe your background with the Catholic Church and your musical
I was born and raised Catholic. My parents instilled a strong faith in us
from a very young age and some of my favorite memories of childhood
involve our prayer times together and going to Mass. We used to pray
along with the rosary on the radio at night with the candles lit. It was
beautiful! My first job as a church organist was at the age of 11 in a
neighboring parish. When I was about 20, I began singing for weddings at
church and soon became the cantor and soloist for St. Stanislaus Parish in
Rochester, NY and eventually started working with several other parishes
in the diocese, including my present position as Music Coordinator for the
Chapel at St. Ann's Community - an adult care facility.
CM: You have decided to share the
musical gift God gave you with others. How did you come to record your cd?
I have to thank God first for the gift He's given me -
I can't take any of the credit for it. My hope is to always be able to
use the gift for Him - that's why singing Christian songs is so important
to me and why the title of the CD is "For His Glory" - every song is for
Him! I had never really thought of recording before, although people
would suggest it to me a lot. My husband, Gene, and my sons, Brian and
Andrew gave me a gift certificate to Dynamic Recording Studio in Rochester
for a Christmas gift in 2001. I was in absolute shock - completely
speechless for a least two minutes - which is a long time for me!!!!! I
had never expected it and even when I first started recording, I had no
intention of doing anything more with the CD than just keeping it for our
family and a few friends.
CM: On the CD, you sing one of my
favorite songs, "How Beautiful", which was sung as my youngest son
received his First Holy Communion. How did you select the hymns you
recorded on the cd and which is your favorite?
"How Beautiful", by Twila Paris, is one of my favorites, also. Although,
it' s not considered a "Catholic" song, I think it really is so beautiful
and gives us the image of Jesus and His sacrifice for us and it just
touches my heart whenever I sing it. All the hymns I chose were
favorites of mine and of my family and friends. Two of them, "In the
Garden" and "The Old Rugged Cross" bring back wonderful memories of my
father, who died in 1977. He loved to be outside and working in the
garden and these were two of his favorite songs - they make me feel
especially close to him. He used to love to listen to them and have me
play them for him. It's hard to say which song is my absolute favorite
because I love them all and all for different reasons. "Panis Angelicus"
is a favorite because my mother sang that for us at our First Holy
Communions and then again at my sons' also. I think, musically, my
favorite would be "Pie Jesu" - I like the way it flows and the way it's
written, it just seems to reach up to heaven!
CM: You dedicate your CD to your
husband and sons. Can you tell us more about your family and how you
balance your roles as mother and musician?
My family is wonderful and my best blessing from God! My husband, Gene,
and I have been married for over twelve years now; our son, Brian is 11
and Andrew is 10. We keep pretty busy with work and school activities and
sports. My children play baseball and soccer and both of them race Soap
Box derby cars. We really try to make everything we do a family activity
- we all attend the games together as much as possible and travel together
some weekends to derbies.
There was a time a few years ago when I had to make a choice about whether
or not to continue working at the church we were parishioners at. The
position was beginning to require a lot more time away from home in the
evenings when I wanted to be home with my family. After praying and
asking God for His guidance, I knew that my time needed to be spent with
my family - they are my first priority, only God comes before them. I
knew that He would lead me to a new way of using my music for Him. It's
hard to see beyond the present day sometimes, but we have to trust that
God knows what the road ahead holds for us.
Now, when my husband is working in the day and the boys are in school, I
spend 3-4 mornings a week singing and playing for funerals at several
different parishes in our diocese. I also have another job with very
flexible hours working with friends of our who have their own business.
On weekends, we do things together as a family and attend Mass together at
St. Ann's where I am the Music Coordinator. Being at St. Ann's together
has been a wonderful experience for us. After Mass, we all stay as a
family and visit for a while with my aunt and Godmother, who is a resident
and also chat with the other residents and help transport them back to
their rooms. It's like having lots of grandparents and also, good
friends. I believe it also helps teach our children about the dignity of
life at any age.
CM: Who are some of your favorite
I absolutely love to listen to Twila Paris and Donna Cori Gibson - their
music is so inspired and just comes right from the heart!
CM: How can Catholic parents help
select appropriate music for their families? What can we do to help
support contemporary Catholic artists?
I think all parents can guide the music choices their children make by
setting an example - we like most styles of music, from classical to
country to rock. But there are certain radio stations I never tune into -
whether my children are with me or not. I won't support the type of
lifestyle that certain "artists" promote through their music. When we're
home, I most often am tuned in to
listening to talk shows on the radio. I think children will imitate what
they see their parents doing.
I think it's up to all of us to spread the word about contemporary
Catholic artists. I don't think a lot of Catholics know that there is
this great new Catholic music out there. Music speaks in a way that
nothing else can - it really touches the heart and is such a powerful gift
from God - we need to use it more to spread the Word. I would tell
everyone to tell a friend about the Catholic music stations that are
available - not only is it great music, but they are a great way to learn
about what's going on in our Catholic world. Tell a friend about your
favorite Catholic artist! It's a great way to reach out to others!
CM: Are there any additional thoughts
or comments you'd like to share with our CatholicMom.com readers?
I'm thankful to everyone at CatholicMom for giving me this opportunity to
share my music and thoughts. It's so wonderful to find a place that
actually supports being a mom - and being a Catholic! God bless and
thanks to all of you!
To Order Dawn's Music
Read more CatholicMom