If I Ask
How did a professional economist, public servant and community volunteer come to write Christian worship music? (Before reading further, and to put things into context, you are encouraged to listen to clips of a few songs on the CD. For starters, try the title cut #6, the soft melody of #14, and a vigorous Lord's Prayer #11. Make sure your speakers are turned up a bit to catch the full sound.) 'I was a Bronx boy, the eldest of four, and a first generation American. My folks didn't have much money so having their children take music lessons was never on their radar screen. But mom's melodic voice as she sang along with the top radio tunes of the 1940s, and the Italian melodies I heard throughout childhood became ingrained in my psyche. From doo wop groups on the street corners of 187th Street and Arthur Avenue to Fordham University's men's choral group, I always seemed to find an outlet to sing during my spare time. After teaching myself guitar chords while in graduate school, I sang folk, rock, pop, traditional and Broadway songs whenever friends or family got together. Then along came Vatican II and the explosion of 'contemporary' songs at Catholic masses.' 'Being a church song leader and then folk group leader meant that I was regularly playing and learning new worship tunes. Soon, I found myself penning scripture verses and crafting my own songs. I firmly believe that, in response to my hearing the Word of God at mass, these songs were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Because I had never studied music formally, I simply wrote down lyrics and chords that I strummed on guitar. I later began writing out musical notation for some of the pieces.' 'Finally, in preparation for this recording, and beginning in 1993, Stephen Yates transformed my simple versions into beautifully arranged compositions that, with the help of fine vocalists and instrumentalists, brought them to life. A constant throughout this entire period was the love and support I received from my wife Barbara and our three daughters, April, Christa and Alexandra, to whom I am forever grateful.' 'The title song (Track #6) reflects the scriptural theme that petitioning the Lord for help is a constant of our faith. Most of the tunes are based on specific Old and New Testament themes, as you will discover from the CD's detailed liner notes on each song. My hope is that you will find inspiration and meaning in this collection of tunes. All of them are intended to give honor and glory to God. May He find them worthy of the task.'