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Catholic Mom Music Spotlight

News At Eleven
Here Till The End
Have You Not Heard


Great news for Catholic music fans!  Contemporary Christian praise band News At Eleven has announced the release of their sophomore effort, Here Till The End. 

Building on the signature sound from Have You Not Heard, their first CD, this group of talented USC alums has moved out into the "real world" and their music has evolved and grown too.  Inspired by a New Year's Eve jam session, Here Till The End features thirteen new original compositions and a greater emphasis on lead vocals.

From the soul filled "See What Love the Father Has" to the acoustic "Fill My Soul", this latest News At Eleven project features something for everyone.  The opening track, "Alleluia (Raise Your Voice)" is infectious from the first listening.  The CD's final tune, "With the Lord There Is Mercy", featuring awesome baby vocals by Gabriel MacPhail, will leave you wanting to hit the "repeat" button and listen again.  High production quality and talented musicianship on every level make this CD a pleasure to listen to and inspire praise and worship with enthusiasm.

Congratulations to News At Eleven on another great recording effort that leaves Catholic music fans staying tuned to see what's next !

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Top row, L to R: Kurt Hanna, Anthony McLin, Zach Laney, Mark Patti.Bottom row, L to R: Matt MacPhail, Ann Lyles MacPhail, Andrew Clifford, Gina Gatto, Rich Fineza.  Not pictured: Paola Bonetto, Carmel Heckel, is psyched to share the following great interview with the sensational Catholic music group News At Eleven.  Enjoy the group's insights, and be sure to visit their website through our link at the right to hear their great album!  I know you'll love it!  Lisa, Webmaster,

CMCould you describe the origins of News at Eleven and how you selected your group's name?  Also, who are the members of the group.

News At Eleven is:
Paola Bonetto - Flute, Vocals
Andrew Clifford - Vocals
Rich Fineza - Vocals
Gina Gatto - Vocals, Auxiliary Percussion
Kurt Hanna - Vocals
Carmel Heckel - Vocals
Zach Laney - 6-string Guitar, Vocals
Ann Lyles MacPhail - Keyboards & Piano, Vocals
Matt MacPhail - Bass, 12-string Guitar, Vocals
Anthony McLin - Vocals
Gabe Monterrubio - Tenor Saxophone
Mark Patti - Drums

MATT MacPHAIL: News At Eleven began in Los Angeles as a group of USC students and alumni who sang together at the USC Catholic Center's 11 AM Mass.  I guess we think of the group as having started in 1999 when we recorded our first
album, but really, most of us had been playing and singing together since '95 or '96.  You know how college music groups are -- things kind of changed from one year to the next, and in our case, really, sometimes one week to the next.   But about January of 1999 or so, a lot of things started to come together at the same time, and I think we had a string of 5 or 6 Sundays where we sounded really great at Mass. 

So at the time, I was working at this small law firm in L.A., absolutely hating it.  This one afternoon, I was daydreaming about how great the group sounded lately, and how it might be fun to record a few songs.  I had a couple of original songs I really wanted to record, but I also started making a list of all the songs we really liked as a group.  So I called Ann (who was then my girlfriend and is now my wife!) and suggested we do this.  I was waiting for her to tell me I was crazy, but she really liked the idea as well.  We brought the idea to the rest of the group, and I think that's really when News At Eleven was born. 

ANN MacPHAIL: As for the name of the group, we kicked around a lot of names --some of them VERY silly ("Fr. Bill's All Star Band" was one rejected idea), but settled on "News At Eleven".  The idea was that we were music ministers at the
11 AM Mass, and helped deliver the "Good News" of Jesus Christ at Mass each Sunday.  It's kind of subtle but we liked it because it's both a reference to the Gospel and a reference to our origins as the 11 AM music group at the USC Catholic Center.

CM:  How is your Catholic faith integral to your music ministry?

KURT HANNA: I think my faith holds a unique power in my music.  Music is the most direct connection I can make with the Almighty, whether I'm singing, playing, or listening. There must be a reason why a group of angels is referred to as a "choir." Only in music, can we mere mortals hear what God's voice sounds like.

GINA GATTO: For me, being involved with music ministry is a way that I can serve God by sharing the gifts He has blessed me with.  Music is such an integral part of the Mass...not only do I enjoy being involved with music ministry, but it is the best way I know how to praise and worship God.

ANN MacPHAIL: God speaks to us all in different ways, including music.  I tend to feel God's presence most through songs.  Music can help bring the Word of God to life by adding a happy, reflective or peaceful tone.  Sometimes I hear congregations somberly reciting words like, "Alleluia" and I have such a hard time understanding how anyone can say that without smiling and shouting!  But if you put the words to music, you can't help but feel the joy in the meaning.

CM:  Where does the inspiration for your compositions come from?

KURT HANNA: Almost all of my lyrical ideas come from my own struggles with faith versus dogma.  I try to turn these internal struggles into meaningful lyrics. I don't look to Biblical passages very much for words, except to maybe find a theme or a when I get stuck for a line.

MATT MacPHAIL: This sounds kind of weird, but many of my musical ideas come to me in the middle of the night.  I'll be half awake and I'll find I have a tune going through my head.  For years, I'd always say to myself "hey, that's really cool--I'll have to write that down when I get up in the morning!"  I'd wake up the next morning, and it would be absolutely GONE.  I finally learned my lesson and bought a small recorder that I keep next to my bed in case something hits me.  Ann has gotten used to me jumping out of bed in the middle of the night and running into the other room to record something before I forget it!
Obviously, not all of those late-night tunes pan out, but when one of them does, I'm always struck by how God blesses me with music.  It's hard to explain -- it's almost a feeling that God is handing me all these musical ideas and it's up to me to figure out how to put them together.  In any case, it's great to share those ideas with others.  God speaks through all of us in different
ways, and it's neat to get to share God's word with others that way.

As for lyrics, I tend to almost always write music before lyrics, so in most cases, I have a melody and chords and absolutely no idea what the song is going to be about!  I also really like looking to the Bible for themes.  I've found so much that I really like in the Psalms (which are the original songs of praise and worship, after all!) and Isaiah.  Sometimes it's as a starting
point, sometimes there'll be a whole section that I'd like to explore in a lyric. 

ZACH LANEY: I've been playing liturgical music for a number of years now, but actually composing Christian music is a relatively new thing for me. I'm more comfortable and used to writing songs for a secular arena, but the processes are similar in many ways. Music usually comes first for me and can be derived from a number of places--from a progression that comes out of thin air to something I hear in another song that I'd like to try and incorporate into whatever I'm working on.

Next come lyrics, which I try to match to the tone or feel the music is giving me, and that ranges from phrasing to subject matter. Like Matt, I also get lyrical inspiration from the Bible and themes that catch my eye. Looking at everyday relationships and experiences can also inspire me. Because my songwriting is secularly rooted, my sacred compositions tend to be more subtle and layered with respect to the religious messages they contain. But like I said, this whole process is still very new to me and is something I continue to work at and try to improve upon.

ANN MacPHAIL: My inspirations often come during homilies or other spoken messages that make me see a familiar Christian theme in a different way.  I get really inspired by revelations like that and feel I have to share them with someone.  Other times, I'll come up with a song idea in the car or in the shower because that's where I have time to think.  Unlike most people, I tend to come up with lyrics and music at about the same time.

CM:  How can Catholic parents find and support suitable music for their children and teens?

GINA GATTO: There is so much Catholic and Christian music out there....all you have to do is look in the Christian/Gospel section of a music store. You can also listen to the local Christian radio station to get a feel for various artists...and of course the Internet is a great resource. Simply poking around with a search engine will lead you to some great websites. One site I
like is - They have a great selection of mainstream Christian music! For music that is specifically Catholic, Oregon Catholic Press ( is a great resource for liturgy and other Catholic music.

ANN MacPHAIL: I agree--there's a lot of great Christian music out there these days, but it sometimes takes a little digging to find it!

MATT MacPHAIL: The challenging thing for parents is to not only FIND music that's suitable for their kids, but also to find suitable music that their kids will LISTEN to.  That seems to be getting a little easier these days -- Christian music has become amazingly diverse and there are so many great artists out there writing and performing music that appeals to a younger
audience.  The Catholic presence in what's commonly referred to as "Contemporary Christian Music" is not as great as it should be, unfortunately, but I do honestly believe that's beginning to change to some degree.  One of the artists I'm really enjoying right now is Matt Maher, a Catholic singer/songwriter out of Mesa, Arizona.  His new CD is available through Oregon Catholic Press and is well worth the money!

CM:  What future plans does the band have?

MATT MACPHAIL: We are up to our elbows in pre-production on our next album! One of our big goals for this project is to have considerably more original music than we did on our first CD, and so it's taking us a lot longer to get through to the time when we can actually start recording.

ANN MacPHAIL: It's a lot more time consuming, yeah,  but we're really excited about the music and getting to work together on a different level.  On the last project, we were really trying to reinterpret well-known songs or put a fresh spin on them, but we still had to work within the confines of what the composer had in mind.  This time around, Matt, Zach, Kurt and I are all writing together in various combinations on different songs.  You really get to start with a blank slate, though.

MATT MacPHAIL: It's taking a lot longer, but it feels a lot more personal this time around -- and we're very excited to share that with everyone!

CM: Any closing comments you'd like to make?

GINA GATTO: Thanks for having us!  We hope you enjoy our music!  Let us know what you think!

MATT MacPHAIL: If anyone would like to get in touch with us, drop us a note through our website.  We'd love to hear from you.  If you're interested in getting updates on how our next album is going, drop by our site and join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date by email.

For more information on News At Eleven, visit them at



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