St. Agatha choir releases its first Gospel recording

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The choir at St. Agatha Parish is hoping to spread the Good News well beyond the walls of the church at 3147 W. Douglas Blvd.

The choir recorded a contemporary Gospel CD, “It’s Over It’s Alright,” and is now making it available for sale and on music streaming platforms. Money raised will support the parish’s outreach ministries, said Father Larry Dowling, the pastor.

The album was the brainchild of St. Agatha’s music director, Dennis Smith, who also composes and performs for a jazz group. Smith wrote seven of the 10 songs on the CD.

His favorite is the title track, which he wrote for the parish, which went through difficult times, especially after former pastor Daniel McCormack was convicted of abusing children in the parish. At the same time, the community the parish is part of has suffered from poverty and violence.

The parish was nearly torn apart, Smith said, but has been healing since Dowling was assigned in 2007.

“Our parish has gone through so much in the last 10 or 12 years,” Smith said. “We were almost broken apart. What that song is about, it’s no matter what you’re going through, God will see you through.”

He also likes “Jesus You Died for Us,” which begins with a spoken-word poem written and performed by Dowling.

After Smith got approval to move forward with the CD from Dowling and the parish council, he had the 10-member choir practicing twice a week and the band, which comes in for special occasions, practicing twice a week as well. For most Sunday Masses, Smith and his brother are the choir’s only accompaniment.

The choir had one main recording session in the church in November, Smith said. Then he stacked tracks of the vocals to make it sound like a larger group and added in the band’s backing.

“They did all the little magic things they have to do to enhance the music,” Dowling said. “The music is very inspiring and cuts to the heart. It cuts to the very core of my soul. It energizes me and consoles me and all that.”

Smith said he brought the idea of recording the choir to Dowling, but he wasn’t the only one to have the idea.

“The choir had been singing together for a while,” he said. “Lots of people kept saying, ‘You guys don’t have a recording. Why not? You need to have a recording.’”

He wrote five songs especially for the project; the other two “I had in my back pocket, ready to go,” Smith said.

This was his second recording; the first, “Smith Brothers: You Can Make It, Volume One,” includes a mix of jazz, rhythm and blues and hip-hop.

The choir’s album is available on most streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes, GooglePlay, and iHeart Music. Physical copies of the CD are available for $12 each by calling Smith at 708-243-5836 to set up a time to meet at St. Agatha.

“I’m there almost every day,” he said.

He also plans to take boxes to all of St. Agatha’s sharing parishes, he said.


  • music
  • parishes

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