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Friday, June 26, 2015


Music is and has been one of the most important parts of my life. Going way back to my very earliest years when I remember listening to the morning John Gambling "Musical Clock" program on radio WOR, "the Bamberger Broadcasting System"station back in the very early 1940's. From Kuser School's "Do you know the muffin man," "Go in and out the windows," and "Love's old sweet song," right up to my teen years at Hamilton High School, music was driving shotgun in my journey through life. In Uncle Sam's U.S. Army, I always managed to find a few singers to bounce some songs off the wall of the latrine, no matter where I was stationed. Even today, 70 or so years later, I am still knee deep in things musical. One of the disappointments I did experience was when I converted to the Roman Catholic faith way back in the early 1960's, the wonderful old hymns I had been so familiar with were no longer part of the church service. How delighted I was when Vatican II threw open the windows and began bringing in selected classic hymns into the Roman Catholic Mass. I recall the late Father Bohnsack coming to the altar at St. Anthony on a Saturday evening Mass and trying in vain to bring out the melody of these "new" songs that were being brought to parishioners all over the world; songs I grew up with when I was a parishioner at St. James P.E. Church on Greenwood Avenue.  Father Bohnsack tried "teaching" these "new" hymns while uncomfortably singing themn a-capella. I happened to be in the front row of the church one afternoon as he introduced "Faith of Our Fathers;" very unfamiliar to him but one of my very favorite hymns. He heard me singing along and must have mentioned it to my dear friend, Sister Delora Marie who approached me and asked me to assist in the task of bringing new music to the church. To make this long story short, I did assist as best I could and we got off to a somewhat rusty start. Fast forward to the year 2015. St.Anthony and Our Lady of Sorrows under the leadership of Msgr. Tom Gervasio, who has an excellent singing voice, has engaged true musicians to bring the wonder hymns to their respective congregations. I can only speak for St. Anthony,  the parish I call home. Mr. Carl DiDonato is an incredible organist and composer. His beautiful and inspiring "How Awesome is this Place" gives one goose bumps. Vocal leadership is provided by the lovely Rose Mary LaMacchia whose lovely voice and cordial manner is "delightful." These two very talented individuals have added so very much to the musical heritage of the holy Mass. At each Mass, I hear still another of my old time favorites. Indeed, just last Saturday, "Abide With Me," a hymn that I dearly love and sing at home and also at my Kuser Park gazebo programs was part of the service. Just plain beautiful!

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