Season of Grace
Of Christmas Past...Of Christmas Present The promise fulfilled...the sacred season of the birth of Christ is celebrated throughout the world, traditions lovingly held and passed down from generation to generation. Each year the world gathers in anticipation of this most blessed event. This collection of devotional songs is our gift to you...each one a story unique yet similar in celebration; reverent and joyful, reflective and peaceful. The childlike wonder of Christmas is in us all. We give thanks for the spirit of the season itself. 'Of a Child' feels incredibly blessed and fortunate to have been able to work so closely with such gifted and talented people. It is our wish that those who listen to this recording experience some sense of the joy and magic we felt in bringing these songs to life. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a joyous holiday season. 'Everyone became a 'part of this project' as opposed to just 'laying some tracks' (and it made for a wonderful journey). Come with us on this journey of spirit as we see the mystery and joy of Christmas through the eyes of a child.' (John Ryskowski, 11/2002) The Players: Kathleen Kelley-Master Storyteller & Vocals Cathleen Wong-Flute, Recorders, Tin Whistles, a bit of Piano (on 'Of a Child'), and all the Dots & Squiggles Grant Geissman-Guitars Alan Steinberger-Acoustic Piano John Ryskowski-Percussion, Master Foley Artist, and Kids' Choir Coach Kids' Choir A special acknowledgement to the crew! Derek Jones, our incredible sound engineer, lent genius and imagery all his own. Arutha, Paul, and Rich at Discmakers, and all the Megatrax gang ... thank you. Who is 'Of a Child'? The two 'CKathleens - Kathleen Kelley and Cathleen Wong - met quite by chance at a wedding ceremony performance. Despite their different experiences (in life and music), they enjoyed working together and became friends crossing paths for years professionally before collaborating on this very special project. A labor of love, this CD was inspired by the strong definitive gifts of Kathleen and Cathleen. Comments: 'What a beautiful CD! Congratulations. . .' Kevin Hiatt, LA composer (12/12/2002) 'We were playing our copy (Of a Child: Season of Grace) all over the holidays, it is extremely moving and beautiful.' Update @ Chancery Cruising - volume 8, Issue 20 (January 2003) 'I liked 'Of a Child' better each time I listened to it. It is instrumentally sparse, and my ears had a difficult time with that at first. But this quality actually makes it's warmth and elegance more compelling...' Christmasreviews.com (11/2003)-'A TOP 2003 PICK' 'I don't know how to describe 'Of a Child: Season of Grace' by vocalist Kathleen Kelley and instrumentalist/arranger Cathleen Wong, except to say it is one of those rare recordings that has real magic in it...' firstname.lastname@example.org ('Dr. Christmas') (12/2003) - Christmas CD Review Personal Notes: Kathleen: I remember clearly the inspiration for this recording. It was shortly after September 11th and as our country grieved, we collectively witnessed through the anguish and pain a feeling of solidarity. Incidents of absolute goodness and selflessness, fleeting -- but real. We seemed to put all things aside for a while, helping each other, fiercely patriotic and protective of one another. The Christmas that followed was painful for many, but the sense of goodness, generosity and peace remained throughout the season. Acts of grace and a renewed patriotism gave way to heart wrenching recordings of music, comforting a bereaved nation, respectfully remembering all that is good about this country. Cath and I talked about recording an Americana CD, putting our hearts and thoughts into music. Something to reflect upon, something to bring strength and hope. Soon however, the season was upon us, and the project changed with it. Cath seemed inspired by the reverence and grace that special Christmas brought -- her earliest writings reflect this. They are beautiful and moving. As the days went by, she began experimenting with other arrangements -- centuries old works, forgotten and dated were given new life under her gifted hand. When the songs were all written, the dots and squiggels put to paper, the thematic quality of the album came through. Each piece is a story -- theatre actually, vivid, visual and clear. As I've written in my dedication, the finished pieces inspire awe. Some are fun, 'kick up your feet' and colorful, (the ones with the kids, especially!), others are peaceful, quiet and reflective. The original song, 'Of a Child' tells it all though. Hope, nostalgia and joy. Warm and cozy wonderment -- It'll take you back and make you feel good. Looking back and looking forward it has been an amazing journey. As the new blessed season approaches, I look forward once again to the peace and joy Christmas gives us. A sacred respite. The ultimate Gift from God. Best wishes to all. ...and Cathleen: I never had to write and/or arrange this amount of music in a short time - but with Christmas, it was the perfect first full CD project. There is an abundance of material, rich with tradition and centuries old, available (not to mention, my love of the season itself). The challenge was to create a CD that was uniquely 'Of a Child's'. The influences of my eclectic background (which includes Blues, Classical, Folk, Jazz, Musicals, Opera, etc...experiences of the typical freelance musician) are reflected in the writing. The balancing of our limited resources versus desires, further defined and purified the sound, keeping it intimate. This project also allowed me to further examine my feelings about music in general - besides it being an essential part of my life. In my humble opinion, music is the reflection of one's imagination allowing them to relive special feelings and/or memories, unique to that person's soul. I hope that I was able and will continue to create musical vignettes that will allow me to touch at least a few people!