Catholic Mom Music Spotlight

Dawn Chmiel
For His Glory
Hymns of Faith and Inspiration

This CatholicMom.com Music Spotlight features recording artist Dawn Chmiel, a busy wife and mother of two from Upstate New York.  Dawn's first recording, For His Glory, is a wonderful compilation of some of her favorite hymns – both classical and contemporary, and includes Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” Weber’s “Pie Jesu,” “How Beautiful,” by Twila Paris and “Anima Christi” by Donna Cori Gibson.  To hear samples of Dawn's special sound, click on the disk cover at the right or visit Dawn's web site at www.dawnchmiel.com.  I know that you and your family will enjoy listening to Dawn's music - I found myself inspired and encouraged to pursue my own dreams in reading Dawn's responses to our interview questions below.  Happy listening!

Lisa,
Webmaster, CatholicMom.com

To Order Dawn's Music

Catholic Music Network

or

visit www.dawnchmiel.com

Dawn's Discography

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Catholic Music Network

For His Glory
Hymns of
Faith and Inspiration

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CM:   Please describe your background with the Catholic Church and your musical background.
       
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 recording artists?
       
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 www.SacredHeartRadio.net or 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

visit www.dawnchmiel.com

Read more CatholicMom Music Spotlights