BOSTON — The Arch Street Band of St. Anthony Shrine here has released two CDs of its popular contemporary Christian music.
Widely regarded as “not your grandmother’s church music,” the band’s first CD,Songs of Worship and Praise, is a good example of the exhilarating liturgical music offered every weekend at the shrine. It includes unique renditions ofStand by Me, Cry Out with Joy, Be With Me, Lord, and nine others, arranged by Jennifer Honen Galea, director of Music at St. Anthony Shrine and leader of the band.
More traditional, the band’s second CD, Songs of Hope and Resurrection, includes selections, such as Be Not Afraid, I Am the Bread of Life, and On Eagle’s Wings. Songs on this CD were chosen to offer comfort and hope to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Proceeds benefit the shrine’s Lazarus Program, which offers dignified burials for the unwanted dead.
The Arch Street Band evolved out of the shrine’s music ministry. “We decided to form the band and record the CDs,” said Galea, “in response to hundreds of requests from people who love the music they hear at the shrine’s weekend Masses, which are markedly different from most other Catholic churches.”
“I would describe what we do as a unique blend of traditional, liturgical music and contemporary Christian compositions,” she said. “I believe it is hugely popular because it is intensely uplifting and full of joy. People tell me that the music encourages them to participate in the Mass, rather than merely observing it.”
Band members include Mark Emery, singer and trumpeter, a two-time fellow of Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center and a regular performer with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, and Vermont Symphony. He has performed in more than 14 countries.
Sarah Powell, vocalist, has performed in both opera and musical theater with many companys, including Longwood Opera, College Light Opera, and Boston Opera Collaborative.
David Wade, guitarist, performed at Bill Clinton’s inauguration and has sung backup for Barry Manilow. Victor Jannett, vocalist, is a Professor of Voice at the Boston Conservatory and has performed in all types of venues, including the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Don Holm, drummer and percussionist, performs with local orchestras, opera and theater companies, while remaining active in Boston’s jazz scene.
In addition to its CDs, St. Anthony Shrine’s Arch Street Band has also presented The Story of Francis, a dramatic musical on the life of St. Francis and The Dramatic Stations of the Cross, which is performed every year on Good Friday. This year the band released a recording of the performance. The Arch Street Band is producing a CD of Christmas songs.
To purchase CDs, see www.stanthonyshrine.org, or call 617-542-6440, ext 116.