Over two years in the making, tenor vocalist John Ogrodowczyk’s second album Faith and Beyond charts an exotic spiritual journey. Although it begins with John’s classical favorite Panis Angelicus, it quickly departs from the traditional by exploring the spiritual subtext of Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, a song so poignantly relevant in today’s war-torn world. From there, the listener is intro- duced to an original adaptation of Lord of the Dance, titled Dance, Then, Wherever You May Be. John and his son David composed new words to express the idea of the ever- present divine force of creation; the title is an invitation to listeners to join in the celebration of the cosmic dance, wheverer they may be in their own spiritual journeys.
The album includes arrangements of To Where You Are and You Raise Me Up, two beautiful and inspirational songs popularized by Josh Groban, with the latter piece presented in an original arrangement of acoustic folk strings including appalachian dulcimer.
Other unusual features are a stirring rendition of God Bless America recorded live at Fenway Park in Boston, on the occasion of Father’s Day, 2006, when John was invited to sing our national anthem for the soon-to-be champion Boston Red Sox; a duet version of Amazing Grace with Carol Yetto and her children’s choir; and a nod to John’s heritage in the beautiful Polish lullaby Lulajze, Jezuniu.
The album closes with an orchestral arrangement of Peter Mayer’s beautiful folk paean to the Earth entitled Blue Boat Home, which inspires us to remember that while our attention is directed heavenward, we must never forget the debt we owe to the “blue boat” that carries us on our adventures.
With John’s pure, clear voice, and accompaniments alternately spare and lush, Faith And Beyond is inspiring music for anyone’s journey of the spirit.
Growing up in a Polish, Catholic parish, I attended many church services as an altar boy, and loved to hear the choir sing. Among the many songs, sung in English, Polish, and Latin, two stood out for me, Shubert’s Ave Maria and Cesar Franck’s Panis Angelicus. They were sung so beautifully by our parish tenor, whose clear voice inspired me and I knew that I wanted to sing them like that some day. The beautiful melodies of these songs have been permanently implanted in my soul, and as the years go by, their meaning grows and expands with my faith. I hope you find in them a source of inspiration along your own journey of Faith ... and Beyond.