My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Grosswirth & Benedict: A Musical Duo

Dear Blog Visitors:

While Pope Benedict XVI and I have experienced differences in terms of a few church policies, we at least share a profound love of classical music.

As an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music in the 1960s, it was my career ambition to become the conductor of a major symphony orchestra. While I did very well with my conducting studies, I was not as proficient with the piano.

Anyone who has aspirations toward the conducting podium must be equally proficient with the piano; unfortunately, my piano skills were not good enough to cast me into the highly competitive conducting pool. However, I did manage to win a conducting competition in the 60s that resulted in my guest-conducting the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Rochester's Eastman Theatre. I also did a minimal amount of conducting thereafter.

Pope Benedict would be pleased to know that for many years, my wife (Brenda) and I were able to utilize our musical skills in the church. (Brenda has her masters in performance in organ from the Eastman School of Music.) Brenda and I often played together, with Brenda on organ and myself on trumpet (my primary instrument). I was also a cantor and Brenda & I played with handbell choirs as well. However, in recent years, financial realities have caused Brenda and I to focus on our secular jobs, whereby our musical instruments have been gathering dust.

Just as I had moderate sucess in the conducting field, Joseph Ratzinger, before ascending through the ranks of the Catholic hierarchy to his present papacy, was a very accomplished classical pianist.

If you watch the video that follows, I mention the fact that despite the differences between the pontiff and myself, there is nothing I would like better than to conduct a concerto with Benedict XVI as soloist. However, the reality is that this is not going to happen, due to our age and distance from our musical pasts.

In any event, here is the video:

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