Industry News from the Catholic Marketing Network

Marian album wins Grammy, Catholic executive passes away and other stories
by Catholic Marketing Network | Source:

CMN Industry News
Week of March 23, 2009

Album Honoring Our Lady Wins Grammy

An international anthology of Marian hymns performed by the Phoenix Chorale was recently awarded a Grammy, the music industry’s highest honor, in the “Best Small Ensemble Performance” category. The 51st Annual Grammy Awards were held in Los Angeles on February 8, 2009. The album, entitled Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary, is a unique recording featuring 20th and 21st century musical settings of ancient texts about the Virgin Mary. The album, released last September, was inspired from a special Mother’s Day concert performed by the Phoenix Chorale to honor the greatest mother of all, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“I was delighted to learn we would be honoring Our Lady with a recording,” said Matthew Scott, Roman Catholic Cantor and baritone with the Phoenix Chorale. “Composers have always written only their very best for the Blessed Virgin, and we singers are always inspired to use our voices in the most beautiful way possible to appropriately praise the Virgin Mary. My excitement about this project escalated when we found the ease with which the compositions complemented each other, as well as the exquisite harmonies on each hymn. I suspect this is due to Mary's very nature: the music she inspires is always filled with tremendous joy, humility, grace, and healing. She has certainly inspired something very sacred in this work.”

Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary features noted living composers including Americans Stephen Paulus, Jean Belmont Ford and English composer Cecilia McDowall. The album also features two Marian pieces by Javier Busto, a Spanish composer highly regarded for his sacred choral compositions. Additional compositions from Healey Willan (Canada), Benjamin Britten and Herbert Howells (England) are featured. The Phoenix Chorale, Arizona’s professional a cappella choir is led by Artistic Director Charles Buffy. For more information, visit

Catholic Writers Guild and CMN to Hold Joint Event

The Catholic Writers Guild has announced that it will hold its first annual Catholic Writers Conference Live in-conjunction with the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show this August 5-7 in Somerset, New Jersey. Guild President Karina Fabian commented, “We’re very excited about both the growth of the writers' guild and the opportunity to work with the Catholic Marketing Network on this event. There are a lot of synergies between the two groups and we think we have the making of a real win-win situation for everyone concerned.” CMN President Alan Napleton added, “We couldn’t be happier in welcoming the Catholic Writers' Guild to our gathering. The group represents dozens of Catholic writers who have a tremendous amount of energy and desire to advance Catholic writing and publishing and who also have a palpable love for the Church.”

Called the Catholic Writers Conference Live, the event will provide a unique opportunity for Catholic writers of non-fiction and fiction to learn ways they can improve their craft and market their work. Panel discussions and presentations covering various topics important to both published and non-published writers will be offered along with opportunities to interface with major Catholic publishers.

Early registration is going on now at and more information is available at the website or by contacting Guild Vice President Ann Lewis at Additional information concerning the CMN Trade show is available at or by calling 800-506-6333.

Academy Award-Winning Director to Make Movie on Japanese Martyrs

Martin Scorsese, one of the cinema’s most acclaimed directors, is filming his next film Silence, an adaptation of the novel by Japanese writer Shusaku Endo. Currently filming in New Zealand and scheduled for released in 2010, the project includes actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Gael Garcia Bernal and Benicio Del Toro. The writer, Jay Cocks, also wrote Gangs of New York and Age of Innocence.

The movie is set in 16th and early 17th century Japan, where Portuguese missionaries must contend with traders from rival European nations and the persecution of Christians by Japanese feudal lords. The feudal lords want to drive Christianity out of Japan, and try to do so by torturing priests into apostasy, denying their faith. This is done symbolically by stepping on a “fumie”, a Christian image, like a picture of Mary or a crucifix. Two Portuguese priests, Sebastian Rodrigues and Francis Garrpe, make a dangerous journey to Japan, both to locate and comfort Japanese converts, and to discover the truth about a supposed apostate priest, Ferreira.

Last November some 188 Japanese martyrs from the same era as the plot of Silence were canonized. Today, Japan is less than 1% Christian, of which only about 450,000 are Catholics.

Maryknoll Priest to Lead Catholic Media Group

Father Dennis Cleary, a Maryknoll priest who has served as a missionary in Venezuela and China, has been named the new director of The Christophers, the well-known Catholic media group based in NYC. Father Cleary will lead the media ministry and commented that he has always been inspired by the Christophers’ motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." The Christophers use various media to promote the message that everyone can make a difference in the world and was founded in 1945 by a Maryknoll priest, Father James Keller. The Christophers present annual awards for work in television, film and books.

Cleary, a Buffalo native, was ordained a Maryknoll priest in 1977. He served in Venezuela from 1976 to 1993, living among the poor. He developed an interest in the media, producing a news show "Channel Zero" for three barrios and started a production studio in Caracas that did documentaries.

Mary Ellen Robinson, Vice President of The Christophers, who is responsible for overseeing its day-to-day operations said, “I’m looking forward to working with Father Cleary. I’ve known him for many years, and I’m happy to say he’s been on hand for many of our events and activities. He knows the message of hope and encouragement that we spread all over the world, and I believe that our friends and supporters will welcome his caring presence.”

New Christian Book Show Draws Disappointing Crowds

The inaugural Christian Book Expo took place in Dallas, Texas on March 20-22 and drew few attendees. Event organizers had hoped to attract 10,000 to 20,000 people but ended up with registrations of only 1,500 for the three day event. “We acknowledge the attendance numbers were disappointing,” said Mark Kuyper, President of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), which sponsored the event. “But several of our board members have said they believe this consumer-driven model for marketing represents the future of Christian publishing. We will be evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s event with the goal of greatly increasing next year’s attendance.”

The Expo, a first-of-its-kind event designed to connect publishers and authors directly with readers in the evangelical Christian market, angered many traditional Christian bookstore owners who saw the gathering as yet another attempt to circumvent traditional Christian retail outlets. The Expo featured 150 author-led workshops and seminars, as well as mini-events and evening programming.

Conceived before the current economic downturn and more than two years in planning, the event combined three days of panels and programming to provide both a conference experience and a product. Kuyper said the goal of the event was to drive awareness of Christian authors —238 were featured— and their messages. “The show might, or might not, go on. If we end up doing this again, it would be a smaller show,” Kuyper said. “We’ll be smarter next year,” said Michael S. Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson and Chair of the ECPA’s Executive Committee.

Final Component of OCP’s Never Too Young Series Now Available

Never Too Young: Leader’s Resource, the final element in the Never Too Young suite of publications is now available. The full collection offers music and prayer resources that have been selected and prepared uniquely for youths in grades four through eight. Compiled with a “teacher’s eye,” the Leader’s Resource is helpful for those leading faith formation programs, classes and prayer experiences. Inspired by their own classroom and liturgical experiences, experts Mark Friedman and Janet Vogt provide practical applications to acquaint teachers, catechists and students with the Never Too Young repertoire.

“The new Leader’s Resource helps incorporate the music of Never Too Young into the school year with easily adapted or pull-out-and-use prayer services,” said Tom Tomaszek, Director of OCP’s Artist Relations and Product Development. Tomaszek added, “These are songs young people like to sing, in a book that invites them to join their voices together in God’s praise.” Providing ready-to-use lesson plans, the new Leader’s Resource is organized to reflect the sequence of the school and liturgical year. Professionals and volunteers will find useful strategies to help guide youth through their faith journey. Get more information online by visiting or call 800-548-8749.

Catholic Music Executive Dies

Susan Stein of Heart Beat Records wishes to announce with great sorrow the passing of Mr. Bernard Klein who passed away on March 15th from a massive heart attack. Father of Catholic singer Kara Klein, Bernie was also Chairman of the Board of Heart Beat Records and President of the United Catholic Music and Video Association (UCMVA). He will be sadly missed by the many Catholic artists throughout the world that he has helped in many ways. CMN joins with Susan Stein in expressing our condolences to his wife Judy, their children and their family and friends. May he enjoy eternal rest and joy in the arms of his Heavenly Father.

Read a remembrance of Bernie Klein written by Lynn Geyer of the Catholic Association of Music on the GrapeVine site. Ed.

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