Natalie Merchant Performing Gerard Manley Hopkins Poem

It is good for recognized religious insiders to perform material from their own religious tradition; this is what happens at most places of worship around the world every day. It is also good for those not recognizably associated with a religious identity to perform material from a religious tradition; this too happens, often with greater anonymity, but with increasingly regularity, in the (post)modern age of the global religious bazaar.

Here is something closer to the latter: Natalie Merchant, formerly of the band 10,000 Maniacs and for the last twenty years her own successful solo act, setting to music and voice a poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins, titled "Spring and Fall: To a Young Child." Go to 16 minutes 23 seconds into the video below to find it. This elegant arrangement is from her latest album, "Leave Your Sleep."

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Although I cannot tell clearly from interviews that she has given, like this, in which she discusses growing up Catholic, it seems that Natalie Merchant has apparently left Catholicism behind, while retaining a deep religious sense, including an expressed interest in composing liturgical music.

Might this uncannily gifted post-Catholic (or however -- and I would be interested to know -- she might identify herself) please consider writing a Mass

Tom Beaudoin

Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

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