Alfred Sacred’s Managing Director Mark Cabaniss sat down recently with Mary McDonald for a brief chat about her writing career and her upcoming new Christmas musical Darkness into Light, to be released this June. Keep watching Ledger Lines for more details!
Mark: Mary, it’s a pleasure to sit with you and thank you for sharing some time with our readers in the midst of your busy schedule!
Mary: Thank you, Mark. I’m happy to visit for a bit.
Mark: First, how did you get started writing music for the church?
Mary: My story is not typical in that I have not studied music all that many years. I entered college on a Home Economics scholarship but was self-taught in piano and organ. I have played “by ear” since the age of five and have been creating music before I was able to read it! Music professors encouraged me in music in college and I eventually switched majors to Church Music with an organ emphasis. Assuming my first job as a church organist post-graduation, I began improvising my service music and was encouraged to write down a few of these, which were picked up by Pedalpoint magazine in the late 70s. From there, I progressed into choral writing and have been doing it ever since.
Mark: How many publications have you had released over the years?
Mary: Including keyboard, cantatas, and choral anthems, somewhere between 700 and 800 publications.
Mark: Wow! That’s quite an accomplishment. Congratulations! Tell us about your newest musical, Darkness into Light.
Mary: It’s a new 40-minute musical that blends new anthems with classic carols, all woven together with narration. The idea is that just as Mary and Joseph traveled from darkness into light, and Jesus brought the world from darkness into light, we too can choose a path of moving from darkness into the Light of Christ.
Mark: What did you enjoy most about the writing process for this musical?
Mary: Perhaps the most enjoyable part was all the various styles that emerged in a concerted effort to make the music both interesting and inspiring. Each song seems to have a fresh approach and came to life even more with the orchestrations of Ed Hogan.
Mark: Thank you, Mary, for your time today. I’m excited about Darkness into Light and look forward to its release in June!
Mary: Thank you Mark!