This line from
Psalm 104 is one of my favorites and I think it sums up why I love to sing
and especially why I love to sing to God. When I first began my piano
lessons at the age of five, I had no idea where I was headed in the world
of music, although when my first job at the age of 11 was as a church
organist, I should have had some clue! Throughout my grade school years,
I often sang with and accompanied the chorus.
During high school, I
sang in several musicals and loved it! However, I never thought that my
career would have anything to do with music. In fact, I took quite a
different path and received a degree in Police Science in 1985. The
following year, I received a job offer as a police officer in New
Hampshire - but somehow, at that time, it felt as if it wasn’t the right
path for me to follow. I turned down the job and remained at home in
Rochester, NY. A few years later, I was to meet my husband, Gene and we
were married in 1991. Within the next two years, our sons, Brian and
Andrew were born. My number one priority was to be a good wife and
mother. I have never regretted making that choice to stay in Rochester –
I feel sure that God was leading me in the right direction.
Singing in church had been a part of my life since I was
young and that did not change. Being involved in the choirs at St.
Stanislaus and St. Theresa churches in Rochester was how I met my husband,
who was a parishioner at St. Stanislaus. I think it was a great case of
divine intervention!!! After becoming a wife and mother, my relationship
with God seemed to be revived - I began to see life in a whole new way
and I think that began to show through in my music. I had always been
able to sing and to play piano and organ and I had been using those
talents at several area churches in the diocese for
many years. But as my
belief and faith in God changed – I could begin to notice the difference
in my own voice. The words of the hymns were not just words, but they
were a sincere prayer to my Father in heaven – they became a prayer of
comfort for families at funerals, they became prayers of rejoicing at
weddings and prayers of true belief in the Holy Eucharist at every Mass.
When people tell me that they love my voice, I thank them but I have to
add – it’s not my voice – it is God working through me. He alone has
given me this gift as He has given to each of us a gift. My desire is
to always use the voice He has given me to praise Him and hopefully, to
bring His people closer to Him.
From 1986 until 2001, I was a member of St. Stanislaus
Church and was cantor, soloist and secondary organist there throughout
those years as well as Music Coordinator from 1998 until 2001. For the
past ten years, I have also sung at St. Ann’s Chapel, at the St. Ann’s
Community, in Rochester, NY for funerals and
special liturgies and in 2000, I became the Music
I enjoy so much my work there with the choir and with the residents and
staff. In the past ten years, I have also served at Our
Lady of Victory, St. John the Evangelist, Church of the Annunciation,
St. Charles Borromeo, St. Rita and Assumption Of Our
Lady. I have made so many wonderful friends at these
parishes and so many others that I have worked with over the years.
Thanks to all of you!
Recording my first CD was a wonderful experience – and a
lot more work that I ever thought!!!! I want to thank first of all, my
husband Gene, and my sons, Brian and Andrew, who presented me with a
Christmas gift in 2001 of recording time at Dynamic
Recording Studio. That morning
was one of the few times I was ever speechless (although it didn’t last
long)!!! Gene has been a constant source of strength for me throughout
all the time I’ve known him and this past year, working on the CD For
His Glory together, has been no exception. I could not have done it
without him. I also want to thank my mother, Joanne Hawkes-Orman, who was
my first example of what it was like to sing to God in His church. She
continues to sing to Him and I thank her for her constant encouragement.
My father, Douglas Hawkes, to whom I have dedicated the song In the
Garden, was one of the most loving and kind people I have ever
known. Although he died thirty two years ago, his example of being a
true Christian still inspires me today. Finally, but most importantly,
thank you, God – let it all be for Your glory! I will sing praise to You
as long as I live!
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