The world in which I live and breathe is that of sacred music – helping people sing by encouraging them to use their own voices. And much of that work, over the years, has been through both composing my own sacred music, and assisting/promoting the work of others at the same time.
None of this happens on its own. There are now, literally, hundreds of thousands of Songs of the Notre Dame Folk Choir scores all around the world. But they wouldn't be there were it not for the dedication of a small group of editors at World Library Publications – the publishers of the ND Folk Choir.
I've been working with many of these people for almost two decades; their dedication to the craft of congregational singing is second to none. Just about all of them have church jobs in addition to their full-time work at WLP. They are, as I have found, just as fiercely committed to the admonitions of the Second Vatican Council as I am.
Throughout the years, the projects I've worked on with my WLP editors have become all the better through creative collaboration with these people. From the Mass for Our Lady to a live recording of 1,500 church musicians in Louisville, from the Abbey of Gethsemani to pulling together talented instrumentalists for an Irish recording, they have been faithful and creative colleagues through my long journey in the world of sacred music publishing.
It is sometimes said that you are known, in part, by the company you keep. If such is the case, then my own life has been all the better because of these people. So here's to you: Ron, brilliant guitarist; Keith, my eyes and ears in the studio; Jerry, the best editor at the helm anyone could ask for; Mary Beth, a never-ending source of elegant class and poise; Jen, whose courage and commitment this past year has been nothing short of inspirational; and Deb, who keeps the presses rolling and always seems to have our concert programs printed ahead of schedule. (And Alan, that master word-smith, I can't go without mentioning you, who have helped me so often over the years!)
I have been blessed, indeed, by these best of companions. They are the company I keep – faithful men and women who work in the same vineyard as I, who pour themselves out that the church might ever be born anew.
As we approach Gaudate Sunday, I can't help but think that rejoicing means all the more, because of this great circle of support.
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Location:Franklin Park, Illinois