Alison Concannon Kennedy
“In the Church I am primarily a musician and composer of liturgical music and hymns, having begun playing the organ in my home parish at the age of twelve.”
In the Church I am primarily a musician and composer of liturgical music and hymns, having begun playing the organ in my home parish at the age of twelve.
As a young girl I would often lose myself in prayer, whilst improvising on the timeless mysticism of the Latin chants, and discovered a way of communicating my deepest feelings and prayers through the universal language of music. I call it “Music as Prayer” and it has been that way for me ever since, whether providing music for the parish mass or releasing the music I hear in my head and channel for others.
That early spiritual nurturing planted in me many of the seeds that have become my life’s vocation, Watermead, a music and publishing apostolate that I co-founded in 1992 to help people share faith through their God-given gifts and talents.
Before Watermead my musical journey had been a very colourful and varied one, beginning with informal piano lessons at the age of three through to formal study on piano, violin and harp, with my teenage years spent travelling nationally and internationally as part of a youth orchestra. I also sang and entertained with my sisters in a family folk group and, later, with the experience of instrumental teaching in state and private schools, ran a children’s worship band for over 20 years. I served for several years on the music department of our diocesan liturgical commission and currently look after the music in a busy city parish where I am employed as pastoral assistant.
I’ve been a daughter and wife, a sister, mother and grandparent, and my spiritual journey has been one of constant questioning and exploration as I have tried to relate my Catholic faith to the demands of all these family roles. At primary school I was given a God of fear, contrary to the God of love given me by my parents, and, as I have struggled to shed this baggage over the years, I have learnt that asking questions publicly of Church authority has to be done carefully and with much diplomacy. Through Catholic Women Speak I have found a safe space where I can continue to develop and grow in understanding, enabling me to relate the rich heritage of our shared faith to life through the very challenging issues that are shared, raised and discussed. I am a contributor to Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table, edited by the Catholic Women Speak Network (Paulist Press, 2015).