The Holy Rosary in Song
A Catholic Music Interview with Frank Loconto, Singing Rosary
By Lisa M. Hendey
With the declaration of October 2002-2003 as the Year of the Rosary by Pope John Paul II and the publication of the papal encyclical "ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE", many Catholics found themselves moved to an increased devotion to the Rosary. The encyclical and its addition of a new set of Luminous Mysteries spurred a rush of books, articles and resources aimed at helping those wanting to pray the Rosary.
One such resource is "Singing Rosary", the creation of musician and entertainer Frank Loconto. For years, Frank and his brothers appeared on stage and television sharing their musical talents. Recently, Frank Loconto has lent his voice to a higher calling, praising God and the Blessed Virgin Mary with his "Singing Rosary" compositions.
Q: Frank Loconto, creator of the "Singing Rosary", thank you for your time and participation in this Catholic Music Spotlight. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background with the Catholic faith.
A: I have been in 'show business' all of my life and with my two brothers Pete and Art we performed for many years as "The Lane Brothers", recorded for RCA in the late 50's/60's, performed in the major supper clubs and concerts around the US and parts of the world, appeared on television shows such as: The Jackie Gleason Show, Dick Clark's Bandstand, The Tonight Show and NBC Specials. On the personal side, I was born into a loving Catholic home, taught by the Franciscan nuns and have been blest with the faith all of my life. Singing in the choir at church and school and serving as an altar boy certainly prepared me for my later life on stage...there's no doubt about it.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to record the "Singing Rosary"?
A: Let me give a little background.... I have been a songwriter for many years, having written many secular songs and countless musical commercials (jingles). I began writing what I called 'Jesus' songs about 15 years ago and sung them quite a few times on "New Breed Of Man", a Catholic program aired on the Trinity Network. The idea for the "Singing Rosary" first came to me about 10 years ago and it took me a while to feel that I was worthy to put this wonderful prayer to melodies and music. I have a recording studio business in Sunrise, Florida and with the help of some very talented musicians the project was completed. I'm happy that the Holy Father announced the new Mysteries of Light just in time for me to include them on this 2CD set.
Q: As a mother, I imagine putting my little ones to bed with this recording playing quietly in the background. What feedback have you received about how people are using the "Singing Rosary"?
A: I am very honored when I hear that mothers like yourself are using the "Singing Rosary" to play for their children, even at bedtime. I think that's wonderful. I've heard from a few 'grand-moms' who are teaching their grandkids the prayers by playing the "Singing Rosary" CD's. Some people play it in their cars on the way to and from work, others use headsets while walking or jogging. I'm very pleased with the positive feedback we have received. Knowing that the "Singing Rosary" is both soothing and prayerful to the listener, makes me feel that in some small way, I'm helping people in their spiritual walk....and that's great.
Q: Please share with our readers your story of how the melodies for the Singing Rosary came to you and describe the process of creating this compilation?
A: As I recall, I was in my home one evening.... strumming my guitar, and writing new gospel songs, when I began 'singing' the Hail Mary. The melody just seemed to fit with the words, and then I tried the 'Our Father' and 'Glory Be' and they also fit perfectly with the same melody. I was completely surprised by this, as praying the rosary had not been part of my daily prayer life.....so we see once again that the Lord has His ways of getting us to 'do the right thing'. When I began producing and recording the "Singing Rosary' in my studio, I asked my good friend Teddy Mulet, a world class musician, who has been on many Grammy winning albums and world tours with Gloria Estefan and recently toured with Justin Timberlake, to compose a musical prelude announcing each mystery. Teddy has done a masterful job and I'm grateful to him as well as the other musicians and engineers whose dedication to this project helped bring it to fruition.
Q: What benefits have you seen in your own life from a devotion to prayer of the Rosary?
A: My mother was very devoted to Mary and said her daily rosary. I'm sure that her example rubbed off on me, although as I mentioned earlier the rosary beads usually stayed in my pocket, and I must admit I didn't take them out very often. I am convinced that having the inspiration to compose and sing the Holy Rosary came directly from a higher power, and I'm very grateful for that. The Rosary, next to Holy Mass, is the most powerful prayer we have to overcome the struggles in life, and if the "Singing Rosary" can help one person to come closer to Jesus and Mary, it will have done its job. I keep my portable cd player and my headset right by my bed and listen to the "Singing Rosary" each night....although I seldom get beyond one decade. It works better than sleeping pills.
Q: Do you have plans for additional Catholic music recording projects?
A: Yes! I have a series of songs already recorded and they will be available on CD during the coming year. I also have been inspired to compose a second rosary which I call the "Rock-n-Rosary". It is a little more contemporary than the original version and it has different melodies to each of the prayers. I'm very excited about the "Rock-n-Rosary", and hopefully it will be embraced by people of all ages. It will be available in the first quarter of next year.
Q: Are there any additional thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?
A: First of all, thank you Lisa for providing this wonderful outlet for Catholic artists to publicize their work. St. Augustine said: "Music is praying twice", so we get a 'double-grace' each time we listen and pray along with Catholic music. Secondly, I would like to tell your readers how important it is to support web-sites like CatholicMom.com. With so much 'junk' on the internet, Catholic sites bring a 'refreshing aroma' to our computer screens. Keep up the good work and God bless you and your readers.
For more information on the "Singing Rosary" contact:
Lisa M. Hendey is webmaster of www.CatholicMom.com, a wife and mother of two and a Catholic music fan and supporter. Visit her at www.LisaHendey.com for more information.
http://www.catholicmom.com CA, US
Lisa M. Hendey - webmaster, 559 5551212
rosary, catholic, mysteries, book, review
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