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Friday, September 19, 2008

Once Upon Eternity

Though I believe in God, I am not a Christian. But, as my friend Larry Epke has said, the existence of really great spiritual music is a strong argument for its own validity.

Here is an example of such beauty, the first song off the album Come Alive! With the Sacred Heart Singers. This album, dating from sometime in the early 1970s, features a choir of girls and young women from a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula singing songs written by members of the choir.

This charming ensemble of 20-odd young ladies recorded at least three albums, and were apparently a big deal up north--they sold their music on album, cassette, and 8-track! I'd love to know what happened to the various members, or whether any of them continued in music. (An internet search shows that the lyricist for several of the best songs, Paulette Niemi, is involved in the school system of a town in the UP.)

Some of the lyrics on the album are more, er, doctrinaire than I'm comfortable with ("Make this a Christian generation!"), but the more open-ended material here features lyrics wishing peace to the listener and a mass of harmonious voices brimming with simple sincerity.

The simple blend of singers and guitars on this track, "Once Upon Eternity," is special. It's as affecting as anything I've heard in a long time.


Blogger Bob Purse said...

Stu, this is singularly beautiful - I'm not surprised you are so taken with it. It has a meditative quality to it, and a gorgeous, flowing nature.

It reminds me (but is better than) to 45s in my collection, one by Les Djinnes Singers from France (aka "50 French Girls") and the other "Angels Watching Over Me" by Medical Missionaries of Mary Choral Group (no, I'm not making that up). It also has some of the qualities of love in the quieter numbers on the Camp Bryn Afon album, such as "Worth Health Spirit".

Anyone else reading this has no idea what I'm talking about. Thanks for being such a close friend that, a. you'd know that I'd adore this and b. you know of some or all three of the songs I just referred to.

This is heavy rotation here, too. I'd love to hear the rest of the album.


5:27 AM, October 01, 2008


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