In this week’s Catholic Review, you’ll meet Ray Herrmann – a talented member of the rock group, ‘Chicago,’ and a devoted Catholic who is involved in quite a remarkable religious music project.
Over the last few years, Herrmann has produced three CDs of the musical works of St. Alphonsus Liguori. The great saint and founder of the Redemptorists was an accomplished composer, but his works have largely gone unnoticed and unheard since the 18th century.
Working with Redemptorists of the Denver Province, Herrmann put together a very moving collection of the saint’s music and prayers. The collection is focused on the rosary, the Seven Sorrows of Mary and the Way of the Cross. The most recent CD also features Liam Neeson reading some of St. Alphonsus’s prayers with the saint’s music serving as an underscore. (Read the CR story about the St. Alphonsus project here).
Here’s a sample of “To Jesus in His Passion,” one of St. Alphonsus’s compositions as arranged by Herrmann:
Herrmann is a multi-talented musician. I was fortunate to see him in concert and spend some time with him at an Aug. 14 Chicago performance at the Pier Six Concert Pavilion in Baltimore.
Check out this sax solo from that concert. It’s certainly different from anything St. Alphonsus would have played!
It’s definitely worth buying Herrmann’s collection of St. Alphonsus’s works. It’s inspired music and long overdue for production. All proceeds from the sales of the CDs go toward helping the Redemptorists in their South American and African mission work.
In the meantime, here are some more shots of Herrmann in action…
Ray Herrmann plays the flute during an Aug. 14 concert with 'Chicago' at the Pier Six Concert Pavilion in Baltimore. (CR Staff/George P. Matysek Jr.)
Ray Herrmann plays a solo. The musician began playing the piano at 6 and clarinet at 7. He learned flute and sax in high school, earning a master's degree in music from the University of North Texas. (CR Staff/George P. Matysek Jr.)