Nick's Notes: Praise You in the Storm

by Nick Alexander It has been my intention to follow up my last Nick's Notes article, about finding exceptional worship songs, with another article about how to discern which untested songs may work well for a congregational setting. However, over the last three months I have been thrust into a trial that I wish to recount here. I suspect that I would be able to continue my series in future installments. My father-in-law, Richard, is a good man, a devout Catholic, and had been afflicted with epilepsy for nearly his whole life. A recent series of events (which included a minor traffic violation that caused the removal of his license), made him decide to do something about it: enlist for brain surgery. This particular surgery, mind you, was among the most basic of surgeries … and he had it performed at one of the top hospitals in the state, by a doctor who has performed this surgery for well over twenty-five years. This surgery came and went. Other than his complaints of a terrible headache, he was well on his way to recovery. He had one last surgery remaining, the replacement of that skull portion with a metallic plate—the portion removed that made the surgery possible. Then early on Sunday morning, everything changed for the worse.... (Click here to read the rest of the story)

Grapevine Videocast: Fire at John Michael Talbot's Hermitage

Presented by GrapeVine, this video tells the story in pictures and music about the tragic fire that struck the Little Portion Hermitage, home to the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, founded by monk and well-known Catholic recording artist John Michael Talbot. This simple slide show portrays the hermitage before and after the fire, and provides information where you can go and donate to their building fund. There is also an audio podcast that goes along with this video - you can find it at Please join in prayer as the Brothers and Sisters of Charity seek God’s will in the rebuilding of the Little Portion Hermitage.

Grapevine News Minute covers the Papal Visit

Susan Bailey writes: Episode #86 of the GrapeVine News Minute is up The podcast player is located on the homepage of the GrapeVine website as well as on the podcast page. Go to to access the player for easy listening. The GrapeVine News Minute for April 27, 2008 Episode #86 Sponsored by Gretchen Harris Music Ministry. We talk to 2 performers (Fr. Stan Fortuna and Dana) and 2 spectators (Matthew Baute and Annie Karto - they happen to be artists too!) on their impressions of the Pope whom they saw in person during his visit to America April 15-20. Matthew's photo album of the Mass at Yankee Stadium Music: B 16 Bomber, Fr. Stan Fortuna (courtesy of Francesco Productions) We Are One Body, Dana (courtesy of HeartBeat Records) Perfect Sacrifice, Annie Karto Love Wins All, Matthew Baute (courtesy of World Library Publications) Read about the Pope's visit plus other news about Catholic music on the new Music section of Catholic Online. Check the show notes for a special iMix of songs performed by various artists for Pope Benedict during his visit - click on the Podcast tab at the top of the website page. We love your feedback! Call the hot line at 206-600-6940

Grapevine Magazine and Catholic Jukebox

Nick Alexander here...

Have you discovered Grapevine Magazine? In my mind, it is the absolute best resource to discovering the latest from Catholic Contemporary musicians, liturgical and entertainment-oriented. Run by Susan Bailey, there are musician profiles, latest events, and music reviews. The resulting magazine is quite attractive in print, and the articles draw attention to this otherwise "blind-spot" in Christian music.

Not to be outdone with print, Susan Bailey has been promoting the Grapevine News Minute (actually, about fifteen minutes), a weekly podcast which allows you to dig deeper in these stories, and get to hear songs live.

Susan Bailey, along with George Leite (of Catholic Jukebox/Catholic Rockers/Catholic PraiseCast fame) presented an informative session at the Catholic Faith & Media Conference at Franciscan U of Steubenville, earlier this month. They even got a few good blurbs about Top Catholic Songs in... Thanks So Much!! (Check out their presentation on Grapevine's main page).

Discover the blessings of Catholic Music, and check out both Grapevine and Catholic Jukebox today.

Grapevine Rewind - Nick's Notes - Winter 2007

A Lenten iMix Nick Alexander here... It’s hard to imagine, but this time last year I didn’t own an iPod. Don’t misunderstand me. For those who are current on the iPod craze, I am not giving you a reason to gloat. Neither do I wish to gloat on those who do not yet own this technological marvel. An iPod is a huge financial investment, and it is impossible to understand how revolutionary it truly is without having one yourself. There is a reason I share this. At this time, last year I was preparing for Lent. As a fan of Christian music, that includes loading my multi-disc CD player with albums that can best prepare my heart with the solemnity of the season. It would also mean a greater desire to listen to Christian music. And yet, when I listen to Christian radio, and sing along with the praise and worship classics, sometimes I can’t help but get a sour feeling when a song with the word “Alleluia” comes on, or a song that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. It’s “Lent!” I mutter. It’s the wrong time! Don’t they understand ... Press to Continue...

Great Advent Reflections and New Christmas CDs

Susan Bailey writes: From time to time I get more new stuff than I can schedule into the GrapeVine News Minute Podcast or the magazine, so I will mention it here. Sean Ward from CatholicTV in Boston, MA sent me a note yesterday about Advent reflections that they are doing on the website. If you have not visited this site before, be sure and visit it. All their programming is online, proving once again that CatholicTV is staying ahead of the curve. You can find their Advent programs where it says "Now Playing - CATHOLICTV SERIES" - scroll down a bit to find the Advent link. Of their Advent programming, Sean writes, "Check out Fr. Bill Kelly. He has a different reflection every week (along with the other four priests). Beginning next week they are sung. CatholicTV's Advent programming is underway. Each day of the Advent calendar we have a different reflection. Think of it as your thought for the day as you wait for Jesus birthday." Artists have certainly been busy! Just within the last week I've received 3 wonderful new projects, one of which (Popple's new release, "Plaid") will be profiled in the Winter issue of GrapeVine, coming out in February. My schedule with the podcast is full for this month but I just had to mention these two new releases that I've received related to Christmas. Mike Zabrocki has put out his first Christmas project and it contains some traditional songs that I've not heard before including my favorite, "The Cherry Tree Carol" which he does with his wife, Laura. There's also a great Advent hymn on it, "Come O Lord." Listen to samples on Mike's MySpace site. Tom Franzak has put out a wonderful new project which includes members of his family (and they all sing very well!). The packaging for this CD is very unusual and really catches the eye. When it first arrived in my mailbox and I opened the package, I thought it was a Christmas card. That's because the package is designed to be just that. The inside contains the CD, lyrics to all the original songs and a picture of Tom and his family. It's beautifully done. I listened on the way into work this morning and really enjoyed hearing both spiritually-based songs ("Emmanuel," "Behold the Child," "Let It Be Done," etc.) and songs with traditional secular Christmas themes ("A Christmas Card," "On Christmas Day," "Through the Eyes of a Child," etc.). I always love anything that's new and innovative. Tom's daughter Lucy, especially, is a wonderful singer. Great job, all you Franzaks! You can find their project at That's it for now. Stay tuned for this weekend's podcast which will feature Lynn Geyer talking about her Merry Christmas New York City show at Carnegie Hall. Peace and Happy Advent! Susan Bailey
Customize This