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    A View from the Pew

    Recordings and Music by Denise Morency Gannon

    Booking 2012 Live Concerts Now!

    The concert includes a string quartet, oboe, piano and guitar, cantor/soloist, assembly parts and worship aids. The presider and lector narratives are also provided. Fee dependent on location within the contiguous U.S. For booking, email denise.morencygannon@gmail.com or call 508-982-3200 to reserve your date.

    The Way of the Cross

    Listen to selections and ordering information

    Three-time ASCAP award recipient.

     

    In 1982, no computer software existed for composers. We scored everything by hand, including orchestra parts. The handwritten original manuscript of the Way of the Cross employed the majority of floor space on the family room floor of my parents’ home. The pharmacist that I happened to be dating at the time served as a pastoral musician for a parish in the north end of New Bedford. When I showed him the score, he literally scanned the entire floor saying, “I have an idea,” and invited me to perform the unfinished work as a Good Friday prayer service in his parish. Stations One, Two and Eight were still incomplete, so I hastily 'borrowed' works from several other artists to compensate and pull the work together for the event. I played recorder, guitar and piano on the other selections and asked an area musician to premier the cello score. Much of the oboe and string scores remained only a sketch in my head.

    Word of a new work spread quickly throughout our small diocese, which prompted me to complete the score. Original music replaced 'borrowed' compositions; new manuscripts found their way into the hands of gifted players who loved and played the work into life. I became engaged to the pharmacist, who turned out to be a computer geek in his spare time and learned how to manuscript music with an early version of Music Write, providing clean and readable scores for the musicians who looked forward to Lent every year to meet and play the Way of the Cross. World Library Publication picked up an option to publish and distribute a recording of the symphonic version of the piece and married it to a collection of artwork that accompanied new prayer text. Within a twenty-eight year period of approximately 50 performances of the Way of the Cross in 32 locations, the pharmacist and I married, raised three children, became caregivers for aging parents and relatives, earned two masters degrees and multiple certifications in health care and religion, changed jobs between us several times, volunteered in our parish and schools where our children attended, became involved in city government, authored and published consistently in our respective fields, served on a number of boards and committees, faced a number of serious health issues, built several additions to our home, created and managed a business, maintained relationships with friends old and new, and managed to stay in love with each other and the Church, all through the grace of God.

    Throughout their infancy and childhood, my children came to know Friday and Sunday nights in Lent as 'Stations concert” nights, when parishes would book the event and our family would hit the church trail. Sean, Tim and Martha learned how to set up music equipment, distribute programs at the door, manage a sales table, act as the cross bearer and candle servers for the liturgy, and socialize with people after a concert. Sometimes the events would produce a 'surprise' drama, like the time when a server arrived at the third station (Jesus Falls for the First Time) and decided that imitation really is the most sincere form of flattery and fainted because he forgot to eat prior to the service, breaking his jaw on the marble floor of the church (we packed up and went home without finishing that concert). Or the time when we took the fast ferry to Nantucket Island and got caught at sea in a blizzard that rocked our little boat so much that we all arrived sick the night of the concert (if anyone doubts that God possesses a sense of humor, they need only have gazed upon our green faces as we washed ashore that evening). Overall, my children grew to know this work intimately and developed a deep connection to this extraordinary gift of word and song that eventually became part of their anthropology, a way of life and a path to faith.

    Our concert ensemble witnessed amazing grace, like the time that we waited for our cellist to arrive for a half hour before we realized that he was a no-show and gave the cello score and a second music stand to the violist, Jonne Gomes, (playing viola tonight) and watched in awe as he simultaneously and successfully played two scores in two different clefs (way to go, Jonne). In another concert, the page turner (my husband, Pat, who also doubles as second conductor, sound engineer, equipment mover, sales table manager and booking agent), got the flu and stayed home. It took the ensemble exactly one station into the concert to figure out that the page turner role was essential, when we realized that all of our hands were occupied playing our instruments and could not turn the pages of my full score so that I could sing and play the work. We all took turns that night, skipping measures of music here and there to flip pages. At another concert, I lost my voice at the beginning of the event and all the players took turns singing the notes they could reach and skipped the notes they could not sing. The concert mistress lifted the bow to her violin and issued her famous line: “Make it work”. And we did. Our concert ensemble family of players lost two cellists to early death; playing the Way of the Cross helped us to heal from those reeling events.

    Several years ago, I suffered a number of health issues that resulted in the loss of vocal ability and placed me in the same shoes as a baseball player who can choose to keep trying to hit a ball with a bad arm or quit while people still remembered a great game. Like any death, I grieved the loss of my voice, a cherished friend, and reconciled the end of my singing career. I no longer sing publicly and prepared to face the fact that the Way of the Cross may no longer be possible as a live concert and heard only by those folks who purchased a recording of the work. Simultaneously, my daughter began to discover her own vocal gifts. As her own lovely singing voice developed, I considered that she may be the one to carry on the work that my husband and I began very innocently with that first concert. When Sheryl Walsh, the music director of St. John's in Attleboro asked if I would revive this concert piece, I asked my daughter if she would sing the score for tonight's performance, and she agreed. Listening to Martha sing the same music and lyrics that I did moves me in a way that surpasses singing the work myself. St. Paul got it right: “Eye cannot see, ear cannot hear what God has ready for those who love him.” Pat and I continue to marvel at the movement of the Spirit of God in our own lives that brought us to this point, to see our own faith life realized in the living witness of our own children. We can only wonder and give thanks at the gracious love of God, the giver of so many rich and beautiful gifts that nurture and sustain our lives within our deepest joys and sorrows.

    I sing with the psalmist, “How shall I make a return to the Lord, for all the good God has done for me?” My thanks to the musicians who breathe life into this work. I extend my deepest gratitude to my family, who continues to walk the Way with me. I love you.


    Invitation to Prayer

     

     

     

    Listen

    Always and Everywhere

    Waiting Only to Love You

    Mary's Song (My Most Loving Heart)

    Come Follow Me (Song for Youth)

    Jesus

    ...and more!

    Ordering Information for Invitation to Prayer:

    To order Invitation to Prayer, send an email to morgan.music@verizon.net with the following information, or send the same information using the “Contact me” section of this website.

    Your name
    Your mailing address
    City, State, Zip
    Quantity of CDs you wish to order.
    Each CD is $10 plus applicable sales tax and shipping. An invoice will be sent to you with the CD order; please pay from the invoice upon receipt. Thank you.

     

    Lift Up Your Hearts

    Ordering information

     

    Listen 

    On Eagle's Wings (Joncas)

    Just Like a Deer (Joncas)

    Happy Are We (Morency Gannon)

    How Can I Keep from Singing?

    Amazing Grace

    Shall We Gather at the River

    Ave Maria (Norbet)

    Lift Up Your Hearts (Morency Gannon)

    The Lord is My Light: Psalm 27 (Giuttari)

    Song of Farewell (Norbet)