Posted by Rachael Marie Collins | October 14, 2014
Renowned tenor, Friar Alessandro performed a Columbus Day benefit concert on Monday October 13th for Neumann Classical School.
The concert, which was held at Saint Casimir Catholic Church in downtown Yonkers, also featured classical organ pieces played by talented organist, Heitor Caballero.
Friar Alessandro trained as an opera singer before leaving the world of music to become a Franciscan monk. His vocal gifts were rediscovered at the friary and he released two albums with Decca Records. His debut album Voice of Assisi was produced by the legendary Mike Hedges (U2, The Cure) at Abbey Road Studios in London.
When not performing at concerts around the world, Friar Alessandro lives at a Franciscan friary in the foothills of Assisi, working as a carpenter. “The story of St. Francis of Assisi is very similar to mine. Francis was a humble man, and he decided to spread the gospel with music, dance and joy.”
Friar Alessandro says that he misses Assisi and the friary when he has to travel for performances. He is happy to make this sacrifice because he believes that his music is a vehicle for brining Jesus to others. “Music for me is a direct line with God. It’s the way to communicate with him, and it’s the way God uses to communicate with us. It’s the way to spread the gospel, to everybody, to the world.”
The concert which included pieces such as Madonna de Claritate, Ave Maria, Panis Angelicus and Make Me a Chan Make Me a Channel of Your Peace (Prayer of St. Francis) was hosted by Saint Casimir Parish as a fundraiser for Neumann Classical School.
The Neumann Classical School is a new, private Catholic school with a classical curriculum. Employing a trivium structure in which a child’s learning progresses from the grammar stage through to the logic stage, Neumann Classical School provides a liberal arts education for children with an emphasis on classical literature and the classical arts.
Neumann School founder, Rachael Marie Collins, spoke at the event. Collins said that the school would emphasize classical and sacred music because of its beauty.
“Schools can and should form children in beauty. They should develop and whet a child’s appreciation and desire for beauty by exposing the child to beautiful art and the natural beauty of God’s creation.”
Collins added that “the transforming, evangelizing role of true beauty – its ability to turn hearts towards God – is part of Fra Alessandro’s special calling and mission, and it is part of our school’s mission also.”
Neumann Classical School will open in September 2015 with grades pre-kindergarten to six.
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