The Curé of Ars
… is an exciting new musical based on the extraordinary life of Saint John Vianney. We have a beautifully recorded CD of the score, performed by a great cast! We hope that sales of the CDs, and mp3 albums, will help us finance a fully staged production of “The Curé of Ars” musical. With your support, it will be amazing! The CD comes with a BOOKLET that contains a synopsis of the play, a statement of purpose of the author/composer, the lyrics for each song, and more.
[The booklet comes with the CD, not with the mp3 album.]
In the Third Millennium, much of the teachings of The Church have been watered down, misrepresented, or simply ignored. A case could be made that ignorance of Church teaching is one reason for an epidemic of despair, disillusionment, and devaluation of life itself. But, The Church is supposed to be our Rock, our Pillar of Truth! Instead, it has been contaminated by the spoils of Spiritual Warfare.
Because of the scandalous behavior of some priests, bishops and cardinals, the public image of the Catholic Church has been impugned. Some are saying the 2000 year old Church, that was established by Jesus Christ, is “Evil”. This is nothing new. The same thing occurred during the French Revolution, but the Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney, helped to change all of that.
It seems the time is NOW to bring that holy, humble, heroic priest out of “retirement”, and have his amazing story told … on stage! Today, Catholics are embarrassed, angry, disappointed, hurt and betrayed by the scandals and coverups. We cry out for justice and comfort for the victims, and we strive to support them because the Catholic Church still is, and always will be, “Holy”.
Long ago, Jesus asked St. Francis of Assisi and St. John Vianney to “Rebuild My Church”. Today, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and the Hand of God, we can all do our part to help restore the damage caused by these ungodly scandals, and by the failings of those who should know better!
As Catholic lay people, we are called to action to evangelize, catechize, and recognize that we can, and must, step forward! One way to respond is through the arts. With the approval of bishops who endorse such ministries, we can help heal hearts and souls. Diocesan approval gives credibility and opens the door to identify sponsors needed to “get the show on the road“. What is “the show”?
Dr. John W. Vitz has written a musical based on the life of St. John Vianney. It is aptly titled, “The Curé of Ars”. The word curé means parish priest. Ars is the small French hamlet where St. John Vianney served for 41 years, and rebuilt the Catholic Church, in France!
When our team met to discuss our Game Plan, we had the idea of casting priests in several of the roles! That could go a long way in undoing what the abusive priests have done to the Church. There are thousands of holy, talented priests in dioceses across America who would love to take part. We believe if the clergy joins the laity in presenting uplifting, inspirational performances of this story, that much good will come of it.
Our intentions are to stage a series of performances, in quality venues with high production values, wherever we can. Hopefully, many dioceses will be happy to get on board. What a joy that would be! The scandals have been devastating, but healing graces will flow from telling this inspirational story of the Patron Saint of all Priests — St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars!
Music Track Samples
The script and the score are written!
A beautiful studio recording of the highlights of the musical is “in the can”!
The score is inspirational in itself, but the story and the production will astound!
- Overture - (Orchestra)
- The Story Begins - The Angel Choir (John Kendall Bailey, Director)
- Mary's Lullaby - Marie Vianney, the mother of the infant John Vianney (Melissa Reese)
- How Can I Know - John Vianney at age 8 - how he found God. (Andrew Alcaraz)
- Hangin' In - John Vianney struggling in pre-seminary (James Locke)
- Anima Christi - St Joan of Arc Choir (Carolyn Williams, Director)
- The Hand of God - Vianney ministers to a foresaken, dying man (James Locke)
- Destiny - Elise laments her beloved Cadet leaving for war (Elizabeth Hunter Ashley)
- Destiny Reprise - Vianney and Elise pray together (James Locke, Elizabeth Hunter Ashley)
- Pater Noster - Vianney praying in Latin to salvage his vocation (James Locke)
- Ordination - The Angel Choir (John Kendall Bailey, Director)
- Truth - Father John Vianney preaches to the sinners of Ars (James Locke)
- La Providence - Theme for the opening of La Providence orphanage (Orchestra)
- Philomena - Vianney and Elise tell the orphans this story of a Saint (James, Elizabeth, Allie Cable)
- Passing Through Time - Cadet decries his life as a long term prisoner of war (Eoin Harrington)
- The Journey of a Soul - Pilgrims contemplate the afterlife while waiting in the confession line (Ensemble and James Locke)
- Enter, the Grappin! - Using the persona of Cadet, the devil attacks The Curé! (John Lucasey)
- The Angelus - Elise prays for the return of long lost love, Cadet (Elizabeth Hunter Ashley)
- The Curé Returns - Father Vianney returns to Ars after he left to go to a monastery (Orchestra)
- Yesteryear - Reunited, Cadet tells Elise how he loves her now, more than ever (Eoin Harrington)
- Made In Heaven - The Wedding March and marriage vows (Elizabeth and Angel Choir)
- The Final Procession - Saying “Goodbye” to The Curé of Ars (Orchestra)
Inside The Recording Studio
Here are a few photos and comments of “The Curé of Ars” recording session.
James Locke, (Saint John Vianney) putting his heart and soul in “Pater Noster”.
James is a remarkable talent and one of the most creative persons I have ever worked with. He is hilariously funny and a serious artist. His commitment to this project was a blessing from the start. Long before we went into the studio, he had his sights on this role. Once we got the go-ahead, he delivered selflessly and consistently.
I pray that James will carry this experience with him forever. He was the perfect “Vianney.”
Engineers, Lee Bothwick and John “The Grappin” Lucasey working the big board. Lee and John spent untold hours in the recording, supervising, mixing and mastering the finished product. John owns the studio and he was the Producer. There is no way that “The Curé of Ars” recording would have happened, had it not been for the vision and generosity of John at Studio 880. He provided his word class studio, recruited James and Eoin Harrington (Cadet), put up with the foibles of the artists (including me). On top of that, he rocked the house with his performance as “The Grappin!”
Elizabeth Hunter-Ashley (Elise) and James (Vianney) recording Destiny Reprise. Elizabeth was the very first one to sign on for “The Curé of Ars” musical. I met Elizabeth at a concert in Danville, CA where she sung an aria from “La Traviata”, by Verdi. I knew, at once, that she was Elise!
Thank God, and Elizabeth, that everything worked out much better than I could have imagined. Elizabeth is a former Miss Minnesota and an absolute angel to work with. As a voice teacher, she recruited several of her students to sing Philomena. That was one magic night for the kids as they got a behind the scenes look into the scope of the studio where they made their “debuts.”
Credit where credit is due
Elizabeth Hunter Ashley
To this day, I am in awe of what Elizabeth contributed to “The Curé of Ars” recording at Studio 880. Her energy was contagious, and she is enthusiastic, reliable, and fun to work with, but most of all – she is a professional and a perfectionist. Elizabeth has a beautiful family, and she is one of those blessed people who is an example of what it means to be a Child of God.
James was the perfect person to record the role of St. John Vianney. He is a huge talent! His performance comes from his heart, and his voice is amazing. He even knows Latin – which is more than we can say for St. John Vianney!
Eoin (pronounced “Owen”) was in high gear pursuing his career as a performer/singer/songwriter. Even though his own CD, “Confess”, was about to be released, Eoin went out of his way to get to the studio at night to sing the role of Cadet Vianney. When he showed up, he was gold!
The owner and chief engineer at Studio 880. John has always believed in my work. His performance on the CD as “The Grappin” (the devil) will scare the hell out of you!
John Kendall Bailey
JKB has been my right arm whenever I need a superhero. He was the conductor of the orchestra and chorus on the “Mass for Peace in the Third Millennium” CD. After the soloists had recorded their tracks, John gathered his singers from Voices of Musica Sacra, and they sang their hearts out as The Angel Chorus. In the studio, John Lucasey blended the Angel Chorus tracks with those recorded by the soloists, and “The Curé of Ars” CD had blossomed.
Melissa was an “angel” when she showed up at Studio 880 – out of the blue – and agreed to sing MARY’S LULLABY. Later, Melissa joined internationally famous Guns N Roses as keyboardist, and became a full-time band-member joining Axl Rose, Slash, et al, on the Not in This Lifetime tour in 2016.
I met Andrew (age 12 at the time) during a voice lesson at the courtesy of Chad Runyon, his vocal coach. His voice was so pure and impeccable, that I offered him the chance to sing on our CD. A few weeks later, Andrew’s father was kind enough to bring him into the studio after work, and Andrew stepped up like a pro and sang HOW CAN I KNOW? You have to hear this young man sing! He has the voice of a saint, for sure!
The first time I saw Joe rehearse his choir at St. Augustine’s Church, in Pleasanton, I knew that he was the one who could get the effect I needed for one of the large ensemble pieces in the play, THE JOURNEY OF A SOUL. This song requires more than just good voices, it is a major scene in the play! Joe worked his magic and the singers delivered a great performance.
Carolyn directed the St. Joan of Arc choir who did an outstanding job with ANIMA CHRISTI (Soul of Christ). I owe a special thank you to the brilliant Evan O’Dorney for his help with the choral arrangement of Anima Christi, and to Judy Linares for her piano accompaniment!