Franciscan Streaming Christmas Concert by MN Artists

by Sister Julie Ann on December 1, 2015

December 1-23, 2015 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are collaborating with talented Minnesota musicians to present a Streaming Christmas Concert. Stephen Buttell,Richard Schletty, Azar Dagher and Ruby Nordby generously join together to offer a festive package of listening joy. Franciscan Sisters featured a Streamed Christmas Concert by Minnesota Area Musicians 2

Later December please return for additional inspired hymns for the Feast of the Incarnation and the Epiphany. Expect to be moved by all of these meaningful compositions.

Our Sisters pray a Novena for the Feast of Christmas beginning December 16 remembering your intentions as we say these words:

“O blessed eyes that saw Him come at last, The Promised One

O happy arms that held enfolded fast, The Eternal Son

O heart that stored the memories of that night, so sweet, so stern-

Teach me to ponder Bethlehem aright, to look and learn.”  (Stained Glass Window Franciscan Sisters’ St. Francis Chapel, Manitowoc, WI)

Contributing Minnesota Musicians

All Through the Night by Michael Loonan

Michael Loonan is a performing musician, songwriter and producer, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. He has played with and led a contemporary music group at Nativity of our Lord church for over 20 years.  Michael has released a spiritual CD with his brother (The Day Has Come, 1997) as well as Season of Grace (2005), which can also be heard as a special Holiday Channel on Pandora.   Michael’s church group (Spiritu) has released two CDs, Spiritu and Good News and are currently working on a new holiday release for winter, 2016.Michael_Loonan_A_Season_Of_Grace (1)

Comment about All Through the Night

This was the first song I recorded for Season of Grace, initially laying down only my piano track.  I wanted to create some new ‘musical passages,’ taking this beautiful song into un-explored places, then returning safely to the original melody.  After listening to the playback, I realized how much violin would add to this and all songs on the album.  I simulated the violin parts on my keyboard and then had Brigid McCarthy come over awhile later.  She overdubbed most of my keyboard parts w/real (beautiful) violin and added some lines of her own.  All songs on Season of Grace were recorded, mixed and mastered at my home studio (on a Roland digital 16-track recorder).  I hope this song and others on Season of Grace bring you to a place of peace and calm during the holiday seasons.

Review of Season of Grace

“This is an exceptional instrumental album. Its 15 tracks cover a broad range of well-known ancient carols and classical bits, including some personal favorites. The tone is low-key, but retains a lyrical intensity throughout.  A Season of Grace would provide a beautiful backdrop for any festive gathering–or for that quiet evening wrapping gifts. Everything works very, very well on this album.”

Carol Swanson (www.christmasreviews)

More info about Michael can be found at

More info about Michael’s contemporary church group can be found at

Star of Mystery by Richard Schletty and Azar Dagher

Richard SchlettyRichard Schletty is a performing songwriter who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. He is an experienced cantor, songleader and choral singer, singing at Masses, funerals, weddings and pro-life prayer services at two local parishes: St. Mary and St. Matthew.

As a board member of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters and a member of the Catholic Association of Music, he is striving to improve the form and content of his songwriting and the resonance of his solo public performances of Folk-Rock and Praise music. Richard is owner and admin of

Richard has done many internet collaborations via email, music sharing web sites and FTP file transfer. His favored programs for digital recording, sequencing and mixing are Apple Logic and Steinberg Cubase.

More info about Richard and his song samples are at and

O Star of Mystery | A Colorful Christmas

Comment on Star of Mystery

Azar Dagher wrote the words and melody for “O Star of Mystery.” It has roots in the Greek Catholic Melkite tradition and uses the Arabic pentatonic scale. Azar commented ““Star of Mystery is meant to be mysterious and pondering: Three Kings from the East. The lyrics address the star but viscerally evoke the Mother of Jesus.”

My role in the song was vocals and virtual instrumentation. I also did a slight tweaking of Azar’s lyrics. The “star of mystery” represents not just a guide to the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem but Mary, the Mother of God. – Richard Schletty


It’s Christmas by Stephen Buttell

Stephen Buttell“It’s Christmas” was written with the intention of composing one of the next traditional holiday songs. Someday, I hoped that it would be picked up by a major religious publisher so it could be more widely heard, but…for the time being it is just a song that I am proud to pass on to my family. I believe that God sometimes gives us writers gifts of music and words, to spread a message, and to touch people’s lives with a song. It’s my hope, that when you listen, you are reminded of God’s most beautiful gift ever. Merry Christmas!


Good King Wenceslas by Ruby Nordby








4 thoughts on “Franciscan Streaming Christmas Concert by MN Artists”

  1. Sister Theresa says:

    “It’s Christmas” is a simple yet beautiful song that reminds us of the simple and powerful message at the heart of Christmas. A child is born in humble beginnings to be our Savior and our Lord. He is the greatest of all gifts of God’s love. It is in this same humble, quiet way that God continues to reveal Himself to us today, to share His gifts of love. I pray that we may all be attentive and open to recognize and welcome Him into our world.

  2. Sister Marsaia says:

    For several years now, the song Good King Wenceslas has ranked high on my “favorite carol list.” In this piano version by Ruth Nordby, we can hear the majesty and joy of the melody itself. Ruth uses exciting, rhythmically complicated measures to contrast with more usual rhythms and moods. I especially like middle section which reminds me of the beauty of the snowy evening portrayed in the sung version. Ruth does surprising things with her variations on a familiar Christmas carol.
    That is appropriate because the lyrics of this song, though not directly about the birth of Jesus, tell a surprising story of the King, St. Wenceslas , who leads his nobles to care for the poor and suffering. On the feast of Christmas he has a great party for his kingdom. Very late that night – in the wee morning hours of the Dec. 26, the feast of St. Stephen, while the King’s people are still celebrating, he asks his young, reluctant, sleepy page to accompany him through the snow and cold to “bring Christmas” to a poor family. After nearly freezing, the page discovers that when he walks in the very footprints of the King, his own feet are warm and he is energized. When they arrive at the poor man”s home, the page joyously serves the family the meal and is filled with the delight of Christmas giving himself. (If this reminds us of Pope Francis’ constant message to us-so it is!)
    Thank you, Ruth, for loving this song into lively variations to inspire us at Christmas! My father always loved piano music best of all. He would like this. Perhaps he would like best that at the end you don’t really finish the music but instead take us up to a point and pitch where we should just keep thinking about what we have heard.

    (You may wish to see YOUTUBE “Good King Wenceslas”, Jane Seymour & the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for a beautiful presentation of the story behind the song!)

  3. Sister Hannah says:

    The song “All Through the Night” is a beautiful song expressing a God that is so great and ever present wrapping His creation in tender care and love. Yet, that same God who is also that precious Infant tenderly wrapped in the care and love of amazed and watchful eyes.

  4. Sister Julie Ann says:

    How do you talk about a star that lights the way to God? Richard and Azar join to create this amazement. Mystery has its own voice, proper words and sound to conjure up an image worthy of a Deity! This song points to wonder!

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