Stephen DeCesare with Christiana Rodi - Songs for the Journey - Catholic CD Review

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If you are attracted to the strong sounds of well trained classical voices, you will enjoy this offering entitled “Songs for the Journey” from St. Martha’s Church of East Providence, Rhode Island. It’s an interesting mix of standard classical songs such as Schubert’s “Ave Maria”, Franck’s “Panis Angelicus” and Mozart’s “Exultate Jubilate” along with songs that lean to this side of contemporary such as “How Beautiful” and “Prayer of St. Francis. There are also several original compositions by Stephen DeCesare.

Stephen DeCesare along with Christiana Rodi are the two soloists on this CD who are obviously trained vocalists. They are able to bring across the depth of the classical pieces as well as the sincerity of the more contemporary songs.

The original songs written by Stephen DeCesare have solid messages of our faith and draw very closely from actual scripture. One song in particular “Magdalene” is a song which intersperses narration of the scriptures of Mary Magdalen washing the feet of Jesus with musical dialogue alternating where Jesus rebukes the Pharisee’s comments in her defense. The song “Choose Life” has a very strong message of contemplation where the pregnant woman has a conversation with Jesus about what to do and in response of her question, he states that she should “choose life.” The alternating voices of male and female in these songs although logical in the text, made me feel as though I was listening to a musical. There wasn’t enough information on the CD inserts to indicate if this might in fact have been the case of music to go along with a skit or play setting.

All in all, Songs for the Journey is a solid CD although the classical pieces were pretty predictable in the Catholic music repertoire almost to a fault as they are encountered on many CDs. I felt at times the strong voices and the background music weren’t always in synch in regards to volume compatibility. The original songs were thought-provoking and blended in well with the known classical pieces. The strong vocal power carries this CD and will provide the listener with good listening on the whole.

To purchase a copy, contact St. Martha’s Parish in East Providence RI:
St. Martha
Address: 2595 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence, R.I. 02914-3292
parish email address: [email protected]
Phone: (401) 434-4060

Fax: (401) 434-4849

Reviewed by Sally Bolderson


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About Author

Susan Bailey is an writer, speaker and musician. She is the author of River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times, published by Ave Maria Press, and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message, part of the Literary Portals to Prayer series published by ACTA Publications. Along with her own blogs Be As One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion), Susan frequently contributes to CatholicMom.com and the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. She has also contributed to Catholic.net and Catholic Online. Susan writes articles and a monthly column known as Be as One for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press. Bailey, who works as a marketing/advertising assistant for a local real estate firm, is an associate member of the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where previously she served as chair and secretary, helping to organize the biennial “Gather Us In” women’s conference, one of the first major Catholic women’s conferences in the country. As part of her duties she wrote the monthly column for The Catholic Free Press known as “Concerning Women” and appeared on CatholicTV’s “This is the Day” to promote the conference. A professional musician and graphic artist, Bailey released four CDs, performed on EWTN, CatholicTV and World Youth Day 2002, and worked as a cantor in her parish of St. Luke the Evangelist for fifteen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (with concentrations in US History and Music) from Bridgewater State University. She and her husband, Rich, have two grown children and live in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Susan invites you to join her email list where you will receive updates on exciting professional developments and speaking engagements. Email subscribers also receive special giveaways and previews of new projects. Susan loves a good conversation and looks forward to corresponding with you! Join here.

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