Making Music

Feb. 10-16, 2005
Making Music
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Our Lady of Lourdes’ Parishioner Releases Divinely-Inspired CD

UTICA — Larry Hagan, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica, released his “for you & for me” CD in January. The CD has been a year in the making. It has rock, folk, country and blues music on it, and even includes a Gregorian chant sung a cappella. “Every song on the CD is in praise of the Lord,” said Hagan.

A parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Church for 15 years, he is also the office manager and a member of the folk singing group. “Most of my music ministry has been shaped by my spiritual connection here at Our Lady of Lourdes,” said Hagan. He has entertained Our Lady of Lourdes School students since 1999 and he has enjoyed it very much. “You can’t help but smile,” said Hagan. “It’s fun.” The children’s favorite song is “Get on Board for the Lord” which they sing frequently. It is set to country music and it is the latest of the songs that Hagan wrote. He also directs the youth folk singing group. Their spirit impresses him. “I like their exuberance and uninhibited joyful prayers to the Lord that they express through song,” remarked Hagan.

Hagan’s music career began in June 2002, when he was influenced by a presentation given by Father Patrick Wachira Kanja, who was visiting the U.S. from Kenya. As he spoke of his experiences in Kenya, Father Kanja mentioned that the motto for the Diocese of Kenya was “Arise and Evangelize.” Noting that, Hagan wrote the motto on a piece of paper, which he placed in his bedroom after he got home that night. Every morning, he looked at the words that he had written. Two weeks later, he wrote a song entitled “Arise & Evangelize.” Originally written as a tribute to Father Kanja, Hagan rewrote it with the intention of spreading the news of Jesus Christ. It is now the theme song of the Good News Foundation, of which he is a board member.

He tried in earnest to get his song recorded. He tried to get a friend to help him record it, but his friend was too busy. Then he tried a studio, but the studio was too busy, also. In July 2003, Hagan’s wife, Carmen, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. In September, Carmen was hospitalized so that she could receive chemotherapy and radiation. He is thankful for the support he received from family and friends when they visited his wife in the hospital. “It became apparent to me that when you visit people in the hospital, you bring the Holy Spirit with you,” stated Hagan. “I felt it physically. We both felt a change when they came into the room. Carmen’s spirit changed.” Hagan and his son visited Carmen three or four times each day. In November 2003, after visiting Carmen, he and his son drove by an abandoned church that had been turned into the Castle Recording Studio. After visiting the studio, arrangements were made to record his song.

Hagan recorded more songs during the following year. “It wasn’t my intention to do an album,” said Hagan. “All of the songs were recorded at a very difficult time in my family’s life. In retrospect, God granted me the joy of creating music during a very difficult time in order to give Him glory and maintain some level of sanity.” In addition to the songs ”Get On Board for the Lord” and “Arise & Evangelize,” Hagan wrote “Sinner to Dinner.” All three songs are included on the CD. “God gifted me with some songs and I was led by His hand to do this,” explained Hagan. “I was the instrument. Look what the Lord has done. She no longer has the tumor. God gave us ways for this problem to be resolved.”

Hagan’s CD may be purchased at the Utica Catholic Bookstore, Barnes & Noble in New Hartford, The Last Unicorn in New Hartford, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, The Good News Center and online at www.cdbaby.com/hagan.

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