Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Land That's Free

This year's long Independence Day weekend calls for a patriotic tune for the "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."

Below is an old film clip featuring the late great Kate Smith performing the Irving Berlin classic "God Bless America." It's complete with the seldom-heard first stanza:

"While the storm clouds gather
Far across the sea
Let us swear allegiance
To a land that's free
Let us all be grateful
For a land so fair
As we raise our voices
In a solemn prayer ... "


Flashbacks: 2010, 2006

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Healer of My Soul

On Friday and Saturday, I exhibited for my gig at the Archdiocese of Atlanta Eucharistic Congress. With tens of thousands of attendees, it's always a great event.

Saturday evening, we attended the vigil Mass for the Solemnity of of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ ("Corpus Christi"). During Communion, the youth choir and instrumentalists presented John Michael Talbot's "Healer of My Soul."

Below is one man's rendition of that beautiful song for this week's (belated) "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Secret

Quote of the day:
"I think 80 percent of the population are really great, caring people who will help you and tell you the truth. That's just the way it is. And I think 20 percent of the population are crooks and liars ... So the truth is, the secret is, find out who the crooks and liars are."

-- Tom Hanks, from here.

Hat-tip: Scott Beveridge's Facebook Wall

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dear Prudence

Friday evening, we braved the scattered storms to head out to the Beer Garden in Astoria for our friend Ernie's going-away party. He's headed back to Texas after several years of life in the Big Apple.

Nearly the whole gang was there from the young adult group at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan (through which we came to know Ernie).

For most of the night, a young man on solo guitar ably played covers of many popular tunes. One that caught my ear in particular was The Beatles' 1968 song "Dear Prudence."

So, for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," below are two covers of this favorite -- one by another young musician named Andrew Stein and a live performance by the amazing Alanis Morissette.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Not Afraid to Live

Most Christian traditions observe tomorrow as Pentecost Sunday. It's a little strange to be celebrating it in mid-June. But, as Easter fell late in this year's calendar, so then must Pentecost.

To learn about this special day in the liturgical year, the go-to person is A Concord Pastor. For more than a week, he has had many excellent posts with art, prayers and music.

At her blog, There Will Be Bread, Fran also has a fine post on Pentecost. In it, she includes this wonderful thought she once heard in a homily:

"Easter makes me not afraid to die; Pentecost makes me not afraid to live."

Below, for this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," is a beautifully-done example of the chanted Pentecost sequence "Veni Sancte Spiritus" (Come, Holy Spirit).


Flashbacks: Pentecosts 2010, 2009, 2009, 2008 and 2007.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Back to the Earth

We are in Western Pennsylvania this weekend vising family and friends as well as taking in some of the sights.

Today, we headed to Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and visited the beautiful Phipps Conservatory and the nationality rooms at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. It was my first time at both in several years.

As a tribute to my native place, this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" features a song by the Pittsburgh band, Rusted Root. "Back to the Earth" was the last track on the band's mid-'90s debut album. (The Alaska photos in the video are unrelated to this post -- it was difficult finding a high-quality version of this song on YouTube.)