Sunday, August 24, 2014

Peter the Rock Bible Study

August 24, 2014 "Peter the Rock" Bible Study





In view of the Gospel for today, it's only right that Living Waters should rejoice in the great grace the song "Peter the Rock" has been for us. Of course, it was personally presented to John Paul II by Ambassador Raymond Flynn. Greg and Denise and I had recorded it at Jim's house, and Julia was the one who insisted we try to give it to John Paul. Also, Joyce Drahos had created that beautiful dance for the song that we performed in concert in the picture here.  We have posted it on this blog before, but I had never posted the Bible Study about it.  Long after I wrote the song, when I had become a teacher, it occurred to me that the lyrics are all Scripture drawn from all over the Bible. For instance, Our Lord was using imagery drawn from Isaiah 22 (the first reading today) in order to explain to Peter his role. Here is part of the handout I give my students. The place Jesus said these words was significant as well. There was a pagan shrine to the God Pan near the place he spoke where great evil was done in a cave called The Jaws of Hades, or the 'gates of Hell': a pretty good audio/visual He used for that lesson! Here is part of the handout for for your learning pleasure:

 “ P E T E R   T H E   R O C K ”
By Mark A. Lajoie
(Presented by Ambassador Flynn to, & blessed by John Paul II!)
Song Analysis & Bible Study
http://www.youtube.com/v/dlUXHI-URx0 (lyric video created by a friend)

                           A                                     G                              Em  A                      G-Em
1.          SIMON, ALL NIGHT THROUGH, ON THE MOUNTAIN, I PRAYED FOR YOU
            [Luke 6:12-13; Luke 22:32]
                            A                                         G                             Em  A                  G-Em
            AND I PRAYED FOR ALL WHO’LL COME TO KNOW & BELIEVE THE TRUTH
            [John 17:17-21]
                        Am                                                                                                      E7
            BUT HOW CAN THEY KNOW WHAT’S REALLY TRUE THROUGH THE TEST OF TIME?
            [John 15:26; 16:12-13]
                        Am                                                                                                      E
            I WILL CHOOSE FOR THEM TWELVE AND FROM THE TWELVE I WILL MAKE YOU MINE
            [All NT lists of Apostles begin w/Peter; his actions show final authority]

            PETER…

                                                A                                 D                                 A
CHORUS:       YOU ARE ROCK AND ON THIS ROCK MY CHURCH WILL GROW
                        [Matthew 16:18-19; cf. Isaiah 22:20-24, especially verse 22]
                                                F#m                                           D                   Bm                   E9-E
                        YOU’RE MY VOICE AND THROUGH YOUR MOUTH MY WORDS WILL FLOW
                        [Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16]
                                                A                                 Dmaj7
                        WHEN ON EARTH YOU BIND AND LOOSE
                        [Matthew 16:19 again]
                                                A             Amaj7          F#m – F#m (F bass)
                        I’LL DO THE SAME IN HEAVEN TOO

                                    A            F#m              Bm           E                  D         A
                        AND ALL WHO LISTEN TO ME WILL LISTEN TO YOU
                        [Luke 10:16 again]

2.          SIMON, ALL NIGHT LONG, I PRAYED FOR YOU THAT YOU MIGHT BE STRONG [Lk. 22:22-32]
            FOR SATAN HAS WANTED TO SIFT YOU, TO TEMPT AND TEST YOU ALL
            BUT WHEN YOU GET UP AGAIN, GO TO YOUR BROTHERS AND STRENGTHEN THEM
            I WILL GIVE YOU HEAVEN’S KEYS TO TEND MY SHEEP, TO FEED MY LAMBS
            [Mt. 16:19 again]                                                                      [Jn. 21:15-19]
            PETER…(CHORUS)


3.         MY SHEEP AND MY LAMBS, I’VE PRAYED FOR YOU THAT YOU MIGHT BE ONE [Jn. 21]
            ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE IN HEART AND MIND IN THE SON [Eph 4:1-4; Phil 2:1-2]
            SO FLY TO THE ROCK FOR THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL! [Mt. 16:18-19]
            AND LISTEN AS I TALK THROUGH MY SHEPHERD WHOM I WILL NEVER FAIL
                                                                                                                        [Lk. 12:41-48]
            JOHN PAUL…(CHORUS)


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Alive Again!"

 

Mike's looking pretty snazzy in those shades, eh?
“Alive Again!”
 Click this to hear "Alive Again"!

I think we have a ‘flow’ going here!  Mike has written another new song that is pretty obviously inspired. And there is a definite thematic pattern happening in Lajoie & McBride songs here. It is a joyful hope & perseverance through real life trial, fed by the certainty of final victory, at death, in the Lord’s all-powerful Mercy! This song is something beautiful that can really reach into souls with the Sword of the Spirit.

This song has a lot of amazing textures that remind me of a lot of things. Josh said that it has a Coldplay-type instrumentation; it’s a textured weave that rivals ‘what’s out there now’, yet remains true to our Living Waters roots. It also reminded me in tone of my songs “City of Joy” & “Glory”, a cry of pure joy. It is full of genuine, mature emotion. Greg’s lead coming out of the bridge – he’s just plain outdone himself again; it has the melodic arch of the Edge with the dexterity of any number of guitar heroes. Yet the bare simplicity of his intro playing perfectly fits that gentle entrance. I am just so proud of this song.  Thematically, it reminds me of Paul's advice, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" AND, of course, that the same Spirit that raised Christ from death is at work in us!



Mike had these very personal comments on the experience of writing this:

Alive Again is yet another song and idea that came so quickly that I thought it too simple.  The preacher’s words were a work on, but the basic message of the song was there at the start.  At first I could not make sense of the completed song.  Soon after I had finished it, I went to a church meeting with the Loells where we met and listened to Barry Kingston talk about his life changing visit to Medjugorje.  All of a sudden, I thought, Barry would sing "Alive Again".  
 
I felt my mother beside me while writing this, literally, to the right of me while I played the piano.  Several years ago, after she died, my brother had a dream about her.  She came to him and said, "I am okay, it's not what I thought it would be, but it's good and you'll be here too."  We channel spirituality differently, but we got the same message.  His is a dream, mine is a song.  In the past few years, I have seen more loved ones die than in my entire life.  All of my recent compositions have addressed the inevitable.  We will not escape death here on earth.  But I know, with all my heart and soul, that there is so much more, this is a journey.  Learn, grow, move! 
 
A friend of mine listened to this demo and said, "That's what it's like to be in Alcoholics Anonymous."  We struggle with pressure from expectations, responsibilities, mistakes, misunderstandings, regrets, dependencies, delusions.  There are so many times in life that we need a second chance, to change the path we're on, to stand up, dust ourselves off and say, "I know who I am and what I am supposed to be!.”  
 
What did Jesus do?  He carried the greatest pain; rejection, beating, with the burden of all of our sins.  He thought that God, His Father, had abandoned Him.  They killed Him.  But, He rose from the dead.  He is alive again.  And because of Him, I am alive again.


I actually kidded with Mike because he was calling this song “AA”, but that is more than coincidental, isn’t it? I used to work at a detox for alcoholics. Yeah this meshes pretty perfectly with “Booze Blues Cruise”, “Save Me from Myself” and so on. We are all addicts and sinners. Thank God for his Good News.

Mark LaJOIE!

Monday, July 28, 2014

“Do What He Tells You to Do”!

“Do What He Tells You to Do”!

Detail from “The Wedding at Cana” by Veronese

Click this link to listen!

Julia and I and a couple of the boys were driving down to the Christmas Party at Tony & Denise’s this year.  It was pretty lively all the way, but, despite the noise, throughout the drive, this song just kept coming into my head: a ‘bluesy rocker’, perfect for Living Waters, and with a strong message. (And, of course, it fit in perfectly with my faith journey at the time.) I showed Dave the song when I got there.  It was so catchy and yet so meaningful!  I used the chorus in my class when we prayed that Mystery, and the kids just loved it so much.  When I first showed the song to the group, Tony very astutely observed, “Hey, that’s the second Luminous Mystery!”…yeah, that’s right!

When the Mellos asked us to do a concert this summer, I thought this would be PERfect! We learned this song, and “Save Me from Myself” by Mike, as brand new band songs for the concert.  We learned it very quickly, and it came out beautifully live.  It really is a great Living Waters ‘band’ song! Jim recorded part of the concert version; it is posted on YouTube here:  Do What He Tells You to Do VIDEO

It became clear that we needed a studio version of this. Josh and I got together on Tuesday, June 22, 2014, and spent most of the day working – it was ‘flowing so easily’ as it says in “Love’s in a Name”.  It was so great! It only seemed like a few minutes. Mike was there in the morning as support. I was so glad to see him. We actually got most of it done on that day! Greg & Josh tweaked and added some more and? Voila! I think this really does the original vision of the song justice.  [We put out a first mix and will probably add some more in coming weeks.]

One group history story: You may notice I yell “Change!” a couple of times in this song. I do that on purpose. Back in the 70’s & 80’s, when we were doing so many shows, we used to wear these awesome costumes, like the dashikis and the blue ruffled shirts. Well, when it was time to change for the show, I used to yell, “CHANGE!” and then I would freeze into a distorted body tableau…and then another – “CHANGE!”! (Tony especially enjoyed these performances!) It was a visual pun! (Love those!) And then we would change into our clothes. This song is all about the Lord changing our hopelessness – I just had to take this opportunity to yell “Change!”….


The message is a crucial one for right now, I think. The 'beloved disciple' represents US throughout his Gospel, and that is true of this story. The Miracle at Cana was the first of Jesus’ signs and the one which first caused the Apostles to believe; and, He, Himself, is the orchestrator of the Church’s mission of love.  If we do what He says, there will be REAL change that people will see for themselves; they will be able to choose the Kingdom for themselves.  And, there IS such a thing as a “household of faith” and a “communion of saints” (a phrase from the Apostles in the earliest creed), and this truth is modelled for us right from the start in this incident.  The Apostles are brought together with Mary and Jesus by a common, living faith in the Eternal Power of Christ.  It seems Mary knew this instinctively (that happens when you’re full of grace, I guess), and that’s why she said what she did.

Further, like John 6, John 2 is very Eucharistic.  In the early catacombs, the most popular triptych of murals, seen in many places, had the Last Supper in the center flanked by the Miracle of the Loaves, and the Miracle at Cana.  This imagery was preaching the Presence of the Risen Christ when we “DO THIS” in memory of Him. When we ‘do what He tells us to do’ in this case, a miracle happens & the Risen Christ is there!  If He can change water into wine, can He not change the wine into Himself to commune with us? If He can multiply regular bread to feed so many, can He not multiply His own Body to all times and places to feed us all spiritually as we need our “daily Bread”? 

One more interesting fact is about the very unique word for “woman” from Gen 3:15, a verse sometimes called the Protoevangelion or “first Gospel”:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed.  She will crush your head, and you will lie in wait for her heel. (DRV)
This very singular word is used here in John 2 when Jesus says, “Woman, my hour has not come” AND from the cross in John 19, when he says, “Woman, behold your son”.  The “hour” when Jesus, “the seed”, and “the woman” crushed the serpent’s head was precisely on the cross! By performing his first miracle, Jesus was consenting to begin this journey to the cross! Jesus uses this special word to definitively link the Protoevangelion prophecy with the beginning and end of his mission. Of course, St. John is the perfect person to make this connection!

Well, that’s enough theologizing for one post! Bottom line? You really ought to follow Mary’s excellent advice for real in your life! “Do what He tells you to do”.  And then? Watch what happens!!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Living Waters Concert!

Living Waters Concert!





What a day it was! Paul & Helene Mello had asked us to go to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their church, St. Peter's in PetersHAM (the pronunciation of which, Chuck learned, to his chagrine)! We went into the rustic, tiny church to pray together beforehand. The weather was PERFECT. We got to see and talk to so many old friends, and catch up to what's been going on in our lives. We got to sing happy birthday to Paul (at St. Peter's on the day of Peter and Paul)!! As Chuck Trella observed, it was like a slice of heaven.

We got to do a couple of brand new songs which were received very well. Jim managed to catch some footage for us. The sound quality is obviously not the best, but I think this captures the spirit of things. (Parable of the Talents was really effective; my son said it actually reached his heart.) Here is a link to an excerpt from my new song, "Do What He Tells You To Do":



The Trellas went up there to give us a spell, and sing several - excellent - songs. I loved their adapted hymn. Here is a short excerpt from one of their originals:


AND, here is "Love in Arms", featuring Josh Loell and Sam Vassel on brass! You'll notice we're singing "can't you feel the love OUT here"!:


If anybody who went has any other anecdotes to offer, please feel free! We are rejoicing....

Here is a song list (we did "It's Not the Same" as an unexpected encore):


SHOW/SONG LIST 100th Anniversary Celebration – St. Peter’s

                
Sound
LOVE YOU LORD                                                 
1
GREATEST STORY                 
2
FIGHT FOR ME                                                     
3
DO WHAT HE TELLS YOU TO DO    
4
YOU WERE THERE                                          
5
PARABLE OF THE TALENTS                       
6
ROLL THE ROCK OVER                
7
JOHNS SONG - THE ANGELS REJOICE
8
I'LL SURVIVE                                                       




TRELLAS
1
LOVING ARMS                               
2
LIGHT OF THE WORLD         
3
SAVE ME                              
4
PETER THE ROCK                    
5
PRODIGAL SONG                        
6
LOVES IN A NAME
7
NOBODY ELSE

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Save Me From Myself"!




Save Me From Myself!


Peter learned to turn in faith to the Lord! Then he turned to 'strengthen his brothers'


The 'Loell Studio' where the magic is happening!

Brand new Mike song! Inspired by Psalm 64, it turned into a hymn of gratitude. LW Greg shines!:

http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/20337484

I have a comment to make about the thematic direction Mike took here. He started with the whole 'world situation' depicted in Psalm 64, but where did his eyes of faith find an answer to all? 'Hearts must change before the world can change.' We must discover how good the Good News is and let grace transform us. If we all really believed in the great joy of what happened in the Great Act of Salvation, there would be an awesome time of peace in THIS world, drawn from the worth we have in heaven. What a joyfully marvelous thought!

Here are some thoughts he just shared about the experience of recording:

My original intention was to try to bring Psalms 64 to life, observing the moral challenges of life as we know it today.  After the first verse, this song took off in its own direction.  When the words "save me" came along, I knew this would be a tribute to Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection.  Everything else just flowed.  This song came so quickly that I was worried it wasn't strong.  After we recorded it, I am pleased to say it is profoundly moving and the timing is so appropriate for Easter.  The title was a struggle because "Save Me" is so similar to "Take Me".  Josh Loell produced (again) and even played the drums (he is not a drummer!) in addition to guitar tracks and his usual background vocal cameo.  Greg Loell gave it his trademark "Living Waters" guitar/lead sound.  And, Ryan Moran joined us with background vocals and those high notes that I just didn't want to try to hit!

I am pretty sure more is coming from both Mike and I, especially this summer. Stay tuned!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Song of Love"

Mike, Dave & Greg jamming in ancient times! We think it's Mike's house in Natick...
Click to hear "Song of Love":

http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/18794218


An L and M song! Lennon & McCartney?? Nah! Lajoie & McBride!

When the band first started in 1976, Mike hadn't yet written any music, though his piano playing already dazzled us. One day, he started working on this song on the piano in the Charismatic Hall under the chapel at Oblates. He came to me and showed me what he had done and asked me for help in finishing the song. I think he had the the chorus and words done and that basic happy little riff you hear in the intro. I came up with some words and structure for verses and a basic overall flow of the song. And voila! song. After that, Mike was off and running, writing masterpieces like "Lonely Dancer" and all the songs we used for the Prodigal Daughter shows for Covenant House like "Prodigal Song". This past year, he has written NEW masterpieces in "Take Me" and "Good Samaritan".

This is really the only song Mike & I co-wrote that we performed, although we always added crucial touches to each other's songs as long as Mike was with the group. I remember playing it for Beth Medeiros' house party and a few other early gigs. (This was beFORE Greg had joined us as our lead guitarist, and that little lead is actually mine. The way I played, it was very good that Greg joined us!).


VERY early LW

This rough demo version I created in the past year and we tried to work on it as a band this summer, but there were problems. This version is too slow and is missing a bridge I forgot about. But I thought I'd publish this to give you an idea of how special what we had was even very early on. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of music, but, much more, for the gift of our love as a group....


Mark LaJOIE!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Covenant House Songs: "Covenant Love" and "Streetwalker"

Covenant House Songs: "Covenant Love" and "Streetwalker"

This is a re-edited version of a post originally published on July 20, 2010


A new *ROUGH DEMO* of "Streetwalker" w/vocals & guitars on 8/31/2013:

http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/18460843

http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/13606358 for “Covenant Love”
http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/13605858 for "Prodigal Song" }

Early on, the group was invited to play at St. Anselm’s College Chapel for a talk by Fr. Ritter on behalf of Covenant House. [Ironically several LW kids have later gone there for school.] We were impressed by the plight of runaway kids in New York City. Many of them are snatched up by pimps and others into a world of white slavery, drug addiction and disease. Now, many have captured the growing trend by the phrase "human trafficking". Some of us especially Chuck Rossignol and Tony Vassel strove to make contact and see if we could help. (After all, Kids and teenagers were our ministry as well with our Confirmation days and youth-oriented concerts.) They met a fantastic guy with Covenant House named Joe Donnelly, who was a highly effective advocate and organizer Chuck remains friendly with to this day when he works at the UN). We ended up doing fund-raisers and benefit concerts. Then, we went to stay at Covenant House right in Times Square [when it was really bad, pre-Giuliani]. We gave a concert there in the late 1978; this was when Omer Bourque was managing the group. I remember sleeping on the floor in the Chapel there and I actually lived there for two weeks. We did an early version of “Rock and Boat” (or “Boat of Peter”) with my guitar hooked up to a flanger! [Julia’s friend joined up with them and went to the Covenant House in South America later on for several years; they really do some great outreach.]

Later, we came again and gave a concert right in the lobby of Covenant House for the kids. I had written a couple of songs specifically with them in mind. We performed “Covenant Love” there and we did it a lot in concert at that time. “In the streets of New York City, you’re a kid without a home…” This is one of which I’m pretty proud – it draws an analogy between the ‘covenant’ offered by the workers to the kids and the New Covenant the Risen Jesus makes with us in the Eucharist, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. We have since found and posted a version of this song from early in this time period on our Classic Tracks site. 

This is also one of the few times we performed “Streetwalker”, which pictures one of these kids out there stuck in prostitution. The song got limited, I think, because it could be so easily misinterpreted if the context of Covenant House was not understood. I created a rough demo for it in 2013 which is now posted above. We still hope to record further on this in the coming year.

Later on in 1984, we were doing that big show at Providence Civic Center (?) (when we had that whole “Prodigal Daughter” production going on). We were standing outside (waiting for the Union workers to carry our things a few feet further in order to wait for the next Union worker to carry it a little further!) Chuck heard us jamming unplugged on “Streetwalker” and he freaked, “That’s fanTAStic! It fits the theme of what we’re doing so well and it’s AWESOME…” or something to that effect. But then he had us play it through some more and decided we should NOT do it. I remember two reasons: it was ‘too upbeat’ and – once again – it could be misunderstood. So, it went by the boards and, probably, rightly so. But it sure is one cool, happening piece of jive. I am very glad I was able to reproduce a version you can hear!

(Mike McBride also did related songs like "I Will Not Stay", "Don't Run Away" and so on. We'll try to get them here for you, too.) A later, shorter version of "Don't Run Away" is on our site and "With You I Am" is on Classic Tracks.

Peace out
Mark L.