Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Great Mercury Chill: A Faith Story!

The Great Mercury Chill: A Faith Story!

This is just an example of a '70 Marauder; mine is long gone!

The big early chill we are going through around here has brought to mind an amazing faith story that happened to me that bears re-telling. It involves not only low mercury, but a Mercury...the car.

Back in 1983 I was driving around my first car. It was big, bright red boat of a car, a 1970 Mercury Marauder; it had a 390 V8 engine that guzzled gas at probably less than 10 miles per gallon. The wooden bumper fell off in the street in Natick, so, up in Maine, my dad made a new one from mill steel; he had to rig struts going up to the middle of the vehicle because the whole back was so rotted out there was nothing to attach to. Well! That bumper was something! If anyone had rear-ended me with that steel bumper? they would have totalled their car!

This was back in the days when Living Waters was in full concert swing, but before we had moved into the 505 Pleasant band house. I was working at the detox in those days (plus many other endeavors!). It was Christmas Eve, and I decided to drive home to see my mother in Augusta, Maine. (I probably had a back seat full of dirty laundry! Bad boy.) I was going to leave detox in the evening and drive straight through. One problem: it had gone deadly cold! The temp had gone many degrees below zero, plus more from the wind-chill. But, I didn't give it a thought and set out. By the time I got to the Maine Turnpike, there was absolutely NO ONE on the road except me. (It was only later I figured everyone had been strongly warned NOT to go out. It was one of the coldest nights in history!) After awhile, the engine started to lurch and whine. It would slow down, stutter, speed up again and act erratically. Pumping the accelerator did nothing to help. [By the way, the explanation for this is that the gas line was FREEZING SOLID!!] I began to feel an immense fear. If I stalled, I knew it was so cold that I would die very quickly. And, as I said, there was not a soul anywhere.

I began to pray urgently for help from my guardian angel. (I've said for years I must have several big fat guardian angels looking out for me! I really should have been dead several times.) I remember calculating how far it was to the next rest stop in Gardiner, and it was too far for me to make it. But, suddenly, I was there pulling in. I pulled right up to the gas station and stalled out for good there! The guys in the gas station had to use a blowtorch to thaw out the generator so they could give me a start and fill me up. I ran it for a good while and then made it all right the next short distance to Augusta. I really believe some special angelic help saved my life there, or so it would seem.

Now, here' s the rest of the story! Many years later, I used to read stories to my students from the book "Where Angels Walk" by Joan Wester Anderson:

For years, I read the story in the book by the author about her son's angel encounter that led here to write the book in the first place. Her son was driving home Christmas Eve with a buddy when the car started to stall, chug & surge in the freezing cold. It totally died, and then a tow truck came out of nowhere and brought them to his friend's house, without leaving a trace, not even tire marks. Well, believe it or not, I never made the connection between this and what happened to me until many years of reading the story. Finally, I said, 'wait a minute! that's what happened to me!'. Well, at last, it occurred to me that what happened to her son took place on December 24, 1983, the very same night I had experienced the very same sort of thing! That really validated her story in my mind, let me tell you!

So, if things get really dangerously cold in your heart and life, ask the Good God and his angels to help you warm up...and come alive!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE! of Living Waters

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Giving Thanks Through Teaching and Song!

Giving Thanks Through Teaching and Song

by Mark Lajoie, Theology Teacher
(An article for "Guertin Pride" about Mark)
“Thanksgiving”. That word means so much to me, as to faith, as to my band, and as to my school.
When I was a teen, I was such a sad case in so many ways, but the Lord saw my poverty and reached out to me in my need. Our Mother, Mary, and her Rosary saved my life and gave me joy and a purpose in faith & music, mostly through a young group of friends who became my band and my faith family, Living Waters. (I also became an academic who loved research, learning, and teaching.) Here is a song that Mike and I wrote together, around the summer of ’78, in which the ‘thanksgiving’ just poured out of me. Click to listen: “Song of Love”. Many years of great music, faith, and friendship followed.
I continued to grow and experience so much! As time went on, I got married to Julia from the band, had kids and, late in the game, I began to teach Theology to high school kids, which seemed so perfect for me. Then, in 1999, I lost my job and most everything, and we had to leave the place where we were living immediately, with nowhere to go and a newborn baby! The mover we contracted to store our stuff took one look at our stuff and drove away, leaving us in an impossible quandary. I called my best friend in the band, Chuck Rossignol; within an hour, almost the whole band family showed up with two moving vans and moved our stuff into WHY storage in Nashua and got us set up at the Residence Inn in Merrimack! You cannot buy friendship like that; I am forever grateful for this kind of love they have always shown. Every Thanksgiving I truly celebrate how many blessings like this we have received from this group!

Around this time, I interviewed at Bishop Guertin and I was amazed at how active the service club and campus ministry was, how alive the spirit was, how perfectly the Brothers seemed to fit my own background and temperament. I prayed and prayed I could get in there – and the Lord heard my plea! I was SO happy and thankful! I told everybody that I felt I had ‘landed POW! right in a pot of jam’! I got up at the Faculty Meeting in the A/V Room and said ‘I LOVE this place!!. (Coach Mac used to make fun of me for this, but I would just say, ‘well, it’s TRUE’. It STILL is true!) It has been over 18 years and I know how blessed I am to be here. Here is a recent song I wrote to express this! Do What He Tells You to Do Video

This all fits our Catholic faith here at BG. A sacrifice of thanksgiving is what Abraham sought, the bread & wine offered by Melkizedek. Eucharist means, “thanksgiving” or “Good Gift”. We could not get a better gift than our Risen Lord truly present with us at Mass and in our life of faith and charity. I have been able to experience this fully in my band and in the wonderful school known as Bishop Guertin High School!

My band gave a song to Pope John Paul II, and, in recent years, we have won awards, thrived on line and worked on new recordings. You can read some of the stories of our band on our official blog AND you can listen to the music we have produced for over 40 years on Spotify and other streaming services. Here are some links below!
My most recent work: Light of the World DEMO

Monday, October 23, 2017

Third Straight Week: Our Song is TRENDing!

Third Straight Week: Our Song is TRENDing!

LW's "L of the W" DEMO is indeed trending, 'cool clapping' and all.... 

*Clap!*   *Clap! Clap!*     *Clap!*   *Clap! Clap!*

This is so exciting! It's like a blast from our 70's past. Click the link and listen!!:

LW's Light of the World DEMO!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

LW's L of the W DEMO!

LW's L of the W DEMO!

Light of the World DEMO

*click above! & listen

This is the GarageBand demo that prompted our current full-band studio recording efforts. I am very happy with the feel of what I did here, although the bass is NOT Dave at all. I include a prospective cover for your perusal as well. Think it is worth hearing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Summer "So long"!

Summer "So long"!

"Love in Arms" Video Click this line to watch!

Living Waters couldn't think of a better way to say goodbye to the summer than this. Cantcha feel the love out here surround you?!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

You Should Listen 2 "YOU"!

You Should Listen 2 "YOU"!

"You" by Mike McBride on RN - Click on this line to listen!

Mike McBride has written another beautiful song! This one is a straight-out love song with no explicit theology, and it is all his own. (It is quite all right for talented Christian artists to make things of beauty that are not totally explicit on faith, btw! Mike certainly has expressed his faith very well already in his music.) This one has a gorgeous melody; it plays a lot with experimental key changes & arrangements. Josh Loell gets credit for producing, mixing & bringing this vision to life. It really is a thing of beauty, that's been getting amazing reactions so far.

Since Mike has returned to the group the last few years, he's had a musical renaissance, pouring out so many new songs. Some of them sound like his Living Waters style, and some he has performed with us, like "Save Me". But there are some that are Mike McBride as Mike McBride. It is our intention to put out an album, at some point, that includes all the work he has done during this time of musical rebirth. It will be in his own name, not "Living Waters" per se. (There is at least one more tune by him in the pipeline, so wait for that.) If you want to check out his newer catalog as a whole, & anticipate this coming album, you can click on his ReverbNation site link above. That is well worth the listen!

Meanwhile, work is ongoing this summer on old band songs, "Light of the World" & "Sing to Jesus" in preparation for a new LW album. That is so exciting! Mike also said he will be adding something to "Covenant Love". We are SO very happy to be sharing these blessings with you all!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Brand New Covenant Love!

"A Brand New Covenant Love"!

An earlier symbol used by the Covenant House ministry to runaways

Click this line below to listen!

"Covenant Love" New Studio Production

We are very pleased to present to you a new version of one or our classic concert songs, “Covenant Love”. I originally wrote out all the parts. Dave edited this along the way, and added his wonderfully authentic bass line. I spent a few days recording in my closet; I tried to give some idea how it sounded to hear this song in person back in the day. Josh added his wonderful mixing skills, and the result is a true Living Waters treasure. I don't think there is one of us who can hear this song and not remember the amazing 'anointing', power and joy we had back in those days. There was one church in Worcester, in particular, that I was remembering, where the hospital walkie-talkie kept breaking into our show all night! The local paper was impressed with us during this show and quoted this song and “Light of the World” in particular, at some length. (A new version of L of the W is coming soon, by the by!) Below, I reprint a previous discussion about how and why we became involved raising money for Covenant House in New York. Please, enjoy!

We were wearing these t-shirts at the time we visited Covenant House & raised money for them
Early on, the group was invited to play at St. Anselm College Chapel for a talk on behalf of Covenant House. [Ironically several LW kids have later gone to St. Anselm 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 (something we call “human trafficking” today). 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 as 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 phlanger! Julia’s friend joined up with them and went to the Covenant House in South America for several years; they really do some great outreach.
St. Anselm where we first found out about Covenant House
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. 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.

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 shouldn’t 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.

(Mike McBride also did many related songs like “Prodigal Song”, "I Will Not Stay", or "Don't Run Away" which formed the backbone of the Prodigal Daughter show.) Here a couple songs mentioned in our story: