Music Inspired by the Angels
Music Spotlight with Sounds of Light Productions, Angel Light
By Lisa M. Hendey
Contemporary Christian music comes in all styles these days. For those who enjoy incorporating music into their prayer, the new CD Angel Light from Sounds of Light Productions, will be a wonderful resource.
Sounds of Light Productions is comprised of the musical team of Elizabeth Sullivan-Holleman, Lynne DeRussy and a talented young woman named Mary Catherine. Their debut CD features twelve original compositions, based on a combination of traditional prayers, beloved Psalms and Sullivan-Hollemanís angelically inspired themes. Cantor Lynne DeRussy is the primary vocalist for the project, working in harmony with Sullivan-Hollemanís lovely piano work. Some of the songs feature an ethereal Celtic flavor bordering on luminescence, which aptly pays tribute to the angelic muses of the project. Those who enjoy liturgical music and more traditional music will likely enjoy Angel Light.
Sounds of Music Productions recently shared with me the following comments on their musical teamwork and their new CD, Angel Light:
Q: Please give some background information on Sounds of Light Productions? How did you come together creatively and what are your respective backgrounds?
A: After serious illness, the composer, Elizabeth Sullivan-Holleman, began dreaming new music for a Catholic Mass. The first song she dreamed was Agnus Dei in Latin. Upon hearing the voice of Lynne DeRussy, singing as the cantor at Our Lady of the Gulf Church, Betty (Elizabeth) thought, "That's the voice I hear in my dreams." Thus, Betty and Lynne started their work on this Mass together, later entitled "Irish Mass." A third friend, Mary Catherine (psuedonym), a piano student of Betty's, was composing her own music, which she shared with them.
Lynne is a native New Orleanian who now resides on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans, the mother of two daughters, and a free lance muralist, scenery artist, cantor at her church, and a proficient seamstress.
Elizabeth Sullivan-Holleman, a graduate of Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane Univeristy, is a musician, composer, linguist, author and teacher. She has taught more than 3,000 children of all ages and is listed in Who's Who Among American Teachers. She is the mother of a son and daughter. She is a former Commissioner on the State Arts Commission and Chairman of the "Tribute to Mississippi Musician" Series held at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi.
Mary Catherine, a new composer and lyricist, prefers to be known simply as Mary Catherine. Her Catholic faith is very dear to her. Her compositions for children are especially lovely.
Q: How did you decide on the selections for this, your first recording, and what went into the arrangement process for the prayers and Psalms selected?
After we finished the Irish Mass, we wanted to create music for the prayers of the Rosary and also wished to put some of our favorite Psalms to music.
Q: Would you please say a few words about the original pieces included on the CD? What inspired the "angelic" theme that runs through these songs?
The theme of Angel Light is based on a very vivid dream that Betty had. The creation of the other angel songs comes from Betty's experiences during her illness. We feel we are protected and guided by angels always.
Q: "Babe of Bethlehem" is a lovely, dramatic retelling of the nativity. Could you please tell us what motivated you to write this song?
Betty, as a school music teacher, wrote "Babe of Bethlehem" for her children's choir which was to perform the Nativity in church.
Q: I know that this is your first collective recording. Do you have plans for future projects or productions?
Yes, we do indeed have plans for future projects. These include: The Prayer to St. Michael, the Nightingale Suite, a collection of children's songs, and music derived from the letters of St. Paul.
Q: Who are you trying to reach with your music and what message do you hope to share?
We simply wish to share with others that which has been given to us. We feel our message is one of God's love for us and of hope.
For more information on Sounds of Light Productions or to order Angel Light, visit www.soundsoflightproductions.com
Lisa M. Hendey is webmaster of www.CatholicMom.com, a wife and mother of two and a Christian music fan and supporter.