Praising God in song

By 
  • September 18, 2008
{mosimage}MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - The 19th International Festival of Religious Song in Mississauga will bring both professional and amateur performances to the stage in competitions this year.

The festival, originally started by members of the Polish Catholic community and promoted by Catholic Radio Toronto, is meant to encourage musical talent, especially for use in praising God. The new professional category this year will provide a place for more established Catholic musicians to compete, whereas everyone previously competed on the same level.
“It was started almost 20 years ago to convince people they have a place in church and that their ability to sing is welcome in church,” said Anna Rogala, one of the event organizers. “It’s also to promote young talent because this is often one of the few times they have to perform in public other than in their parish.”

The festival has featured special performances by professional musicians in the past, including Tony Melendez, Fr. Stan Fortuna and Sal Solo.

There are usually about 20 competitors, Rogala said, and they are encouraged to write their own lyrics and music, based on a theme. This year’s theme is taken from Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.”

“The lyrics must be in line with Catholic teaching and must reflect the theme of the festival,” Rogala added.

Musicians are also encouraged to look for inspiration in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope’s message to the youth for World Youth Day or “any other parts of Scripture that speak to the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church and the faithful.”

The festival takes place Nov. 15-16 at the John Paul II Cultural Centre, 4300 Cawthra Rd., Mississauga, beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 6 p.m. on Sunday and ending before midnight.

The cut-off date for registration is Sept. 30. Forms and regulations are available at www.catholicradio.ca/festival . For more information, contact Rogala through e-mail at festival@catholicradio.ca , by phone at (416) 588-0555 or by fax at (416) 588-9995.

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