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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

When Faith and Music Collide

February 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Ariel McKinney, Music

Giuseppe_Bazzani_-_The_Ecstasy_of_St_Therese_-_WGA01527 WikimediaCommonsThere's something about the way God created us, that we need music in order to fulfill our being and truly understand what beauty and goodness really are.

My studies in music have really refined my personal aesthetic tastes over the past few years. Sure, I still love a good musical number and practically anything written in the 70's, but for the most part, my heart is happiest when I'm listening to the sounds of lush strings against expressive winds and brass. I have found that the more I immerse myself in classical music, the more I recognize what a positive influence it has on my daily life. I find that my prayer life is focused, my attention span is better and my mind is free from pointless distractions. So what about classical music creates such a tremendous impact on my life?

The purity found within classical music, whether it be in the stunning minimalism of Arvo Pärt or the romantic dramaticism of Richard Strauss, has such a penetrating effect on my heart that I never grow tired of discovering new composers, new symphonies, and new art songs. An insatiable hunger for the rich culture of the past keeps me rooted in what I should always be striving for in my life: a closer unity with God.

This is easily done when I listen to gorgeous music and consequently understand that all beauty, truth and goodness comes directly from Him. From that realization, I often find myself in contemplation of God's power and wonders. I think this is so readily possible because music has the power to speak to the human heart in ways that other art forms can't. Through it we have the ability to understand, experience, and express a whole spectrum of emotions that would otherwise by described inadequately.

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Music is a tremendous aspect of my life, and I couldn't image living without it. Thus far, I have spent eighteen years singing and making beautiful music for others, whether it be as a soloist for a professional orchestra, or in an intimate quartet at mass, singing Renaissance motets and chant. I dream of being able to continue my passion for the rest of my life, in hopes that my music can inspire others and draw them to the realization of God's infinite beauty.

And against all odds, it seems as though my dream is finally starting to becoming  a reality: By God's mercy and love I have been given the gift of being one of forty singers in the nation accepted into the world renowned Frost School of Music's opera program in Salzburg this summer. I will get to live in Austria for five weeks, studying voice, learning German, and performing operas for the public. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I have only dreamed of having.

My challenge is that my tuition and travel fees are very expensive, and I am worried that I will have to turn down this opportunity because of my financial constraints. I can't consider going without the generosity of those passionate about music and art as much as I am. Can you help me? Please click here to help me get to Salzburg! Even the smallest gift can help.

Music is an extraordinary gift and I want to share it with as many people as I can, in hopes of leading them closer to Christ. May you always find yourself breathless in the midst of beautiful music.

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About Ariel McKinney

Ariel is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in vocal performance and opera. She is a fervent Catholic who enjoys all that is artistic and beautiful; she also has her own photography business, Song of Songs Photography. www.songofsongsphotography.com

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  • Congratulations Ariel! A chance to learn opera in Austria must be so cool! I had a few classes on opera history and a literary/sociology analysis of Wagner’s Ring in college. You must be a phenomenal singer to be able to sing like that! What a great blessing! Am also a student so afraid I can’t contribute. I would if I were already earning my own keep. But I promise to pray for you so that you can fulfill your dreams! God Bless!

  • Camila

    Dear Ariel,

    Congratulations!
    God bless you and your singing.

    “Qui canit, bis orat”
    She who sings, prays twice.
    (CCC 1156)

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