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Watch My Back!

On Friday, December 23rd of 2005 I threw my back out! It was very tough to play music for 7 masses on Christmas time. But as you remember on my last blog, it was still a very nice time.

However, once the Christmas festivities were winding down, I found myself laying flat in bed unable to even roll out! Ouch!! It was very painful. I tried to rest and do nothing but the pain would not go away.

On the weekend of New Years Day I had to be dollied into St. Bridget Church to play music for the masses. At the end I told my cantor: "Pardon me, I have to go and take care of a weak back". She said: "Pardon me, how long have you had a weak back?" and I said: "Oh about a week back….."

But seriously, I had to go to the doctor to get pain medication and muscle relaxers. Those of you who know me know that I am very much against taking pills but I had to give in by day 13 of pain. Anyway, I'm better now but when I overdo it I still have a little bit of pain. What I miss the most is being able to bike every day! I have begun again but very slowly.

Since Christmas I have had a couple of wonderful experiences.

I attended the Catholic Composers Forum in St. Louis. (See photographs in the photo page). It was a terrific experience being there. We talk about many things but most of them are about how to better our craft as artists who write the music that falls into the faithful's lips. I learn so much from these meetings. I had wonderful conversations with some of my liturgical heroes such as Bob Hurd, Rory Cooney, Roc O'Connor, John Foley and they inspire me to continue learning so I can become the best I can be.

My other trip was to St. Frances Cabrini in Houston, TX. I had a concert and a workshop there and, let me tell you, it was a great time! We played for the 1st anniversary of their new worship space. It is a beautiful replica of the Church of St. Frances Cabrini in Europe. Inside there is a beautiful space that has balanced good liturgical space with tradition and high technology.

Musicians and choir members from Spanish choirs and English choirs united to have a nice group and they played with great talent. Many of my songs can be a bit of a challenge to play well, but these folks had them "like the record".

It was a treat for me to play music the way it was meant to be.

Thanks to Fr. Norbert for his hospitality and for all the ministers at St. Frances Cabrini.

My Advent recording is advancing. I am doing some preliminary work for the recording and the new songs are sounding great to me! I hope you like them too when you have a chance to hear them.

This past Friday I recorded a Spanish version of With Rejoicing Hearts for a youth collection from OCP. I will ask them if they let me post it here on this webpage so you have a chance to hear it. It sounds great!

This week I'll be in Washington D.C. with Tom Kendzia playing music for the

East Coast Conference for Religious Education. It will be a great gig.

Stay tuned; I'm also playing a concert with Bob Hurd in Beaumont, TX on March 24th at St. Pius X. Concerts with Bob are always a great time.

I'll write again soon. Keep practicing.


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