Psalms will take center stage at free concert

Composer Chuck Marohnic sat at his concert piano in his home Oct. 6. Marohnic has composed music for the Book of Psalms and a selection of them will be presented at the “Psalms Reborn” concert Oct. 27 at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville. The concert is the last major event for the local Year of Mercy observance.  (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
Composer Chuck Marohnic sat at his concert piano in his home Oct. 6. Marohnic has composed music for the Book of Psalms and a selection of them will be presented at the “Psalms Reborn” concert Oct. 27 at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville. The concert is the last major event for the local Year of Mercy observance. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Chuck Marohnic, a Louisville pianist who has composed original music for the Book of Psalms, said he likes to imagine Jesus Christ sitting in the audience during his performances.
This makes him much more attentive and causes him to play with an open heart and mind, he said during an interview at his home last week.

Marohnic — whose career as a pianist, educator and composer spans more than four decades — is the author of “Psalms Reborn,” a collection of original compositions inspired by the Psalms. Marohnic and a group of singers will present “Psalms Reborn” at a free concert sponsored by the Archdiocese of Louisville. It will be held at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St., at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27.

The concert will be the last major event of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s observance of the jubilee Year of Mercy. The jubilee, called for by Pope Francis, began Dec. 8 of last year and will end on Nov. 20, on the feast of Christ the King.

Another Year of Mercy event, the Life Conference, is planned for Oct. 22. It’s a first-of-its-kind gathering in Louisville that aims to unite people concerned about the spectrum of life issues — from poverty and climate change to the death penalty and abortion.

The “Psalms Reborn” concert will feature psalms that speak of God’s mercy, according to a press release from the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Marohnic said the concert will be presented in three stages that show Gods’ mercy in people’s lives.

The first stage will offer psalms of lament, which, the composer said, is a “call for mercy.”

The second stage will offer psalms of thanksgiving, which express the love and gratitude a person feels when they’ve experienced God’s mercy, he said.

The third stage will offer psalms of celebration. “When we realize that we can live a fulfilling life in God, which is the complete expression of mercy, we find joy and happiness,” said Marohnic of the final stage.

His compositions feature music from several genres, including rock, rhythm and blues, country and western, world music and Latin music.

Those who attend the concert will be in for a “quality experience,” he said, noting that he likes to think of the event as more of an “encounter.” They will “hear music they’ve never heard before and hopefully experience God in a way they haven’t.”

Marohnic, a life-long Catholic and a member of the Cathedral of the Assumption, started composing music for the psalms five years ago, after having what he calls a “unique” and “very powerful” experience.

He recounted how he took up the practice of Lectio Divina five years ago and, while meditating on a psalm one day, he started hearing the words of that psalm as music.

“This was very powerful. I wrote down the music I was hearing and composed Psalm 27,” he said. Following that experience, he prayed for several days and let “the psalm reveal itself in musical terms.”

He recently completed compositions for all 150 psalms. The songs are being recorded by Music Serving The Word Ministries, a non-profit organization based in Arizona whose mission is to “serve God’s word and invite people to Christ through music, media, outreach, technology and teaching,” said the release.

Marohnic retired as director of the jazz studies department at Arizona State University six years ago. He and his wife Mary Ann, a singer, have performed across the country and abroad. But Marohnic said playing music just for fun is not enough, a lesson he said he learned some 20 years ago when he re-connected with his Catholic faith.

“Music takes Scriptures to another dimension,” said Marohnic. “Music has a profound impact on the human psyche. When you couple that with the Word of God it creates a very powerful experience.”

Marohnic said that all the lessons from his faith, such as forgiveness, have been reinforced through playing music. He also said he believes music is a gift given to musicians to “serve the Lord and the word.”

“It’s a channel of communication between God and us,” he said. In his personal life, he considers music a form of prayer. This is not to say that he experiences God every time he sits down to play the piano, he explained, “but I open myself up for the opportunity to present itself. I enjoy being in the presence of God in my music.”

“Psalms Reborn” is an invitation to people “to find their own connection to God through music,” he added. He hopes the concert will help people see that the psalms “are just as relevant today as they were when they were written.”

To learn more about the “Psalms Reborn” project visit https://musicservingtheword.org/the_psalms_reborn_
project.

The Record
Written By
The Record
More from The Record
St. James unveils ‘Homeless Jesus’
By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer The bronze figure huddled under a blanket...
Read More
0 replies on “Psalms will take center stage at free concert”