friar playing guitar

Br. Al Mascia performs in the parish banquet hall at Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield, Michigan.

It’s been a grueling year and a half for everybody, to be sure. But for those of us who are part of the “gig” economy, it’s been especially daunting. Musicians, performers and many other independent contractors have been without venues to do their jobs and so to earn a living. The pandemic hit us hard.

friar and parishioner

Al Mascia chats with a parishioner following his performance.

Because of the lockdown, I’d been unable to perform any concerts, lead any retreats or do any public speaking at all. Things were looking bleak, and I wondered whether I’d ever be able to do that which I love so much again.

Then, while at a friar gathering here in Michigan, Pastor Jeff Scheeler invited me to perform at his parish, the Church of the Transfiguration. We’d work out the details later. Dare I say that was music to my ears! And so, on Sunday, Aug. 29, I gave my first concert in a year and a half, and I couldn’t be any happier!

The performance took place in the parish banquet hall and the attendance was great. Sure, many in the audience wore masks. But, based on all the feedback I received immediately following the concert, it was something people had been hungering for: live music!

Admittedly, I was a little nervous about performing once again after such a long hiatus, but the jitters gave way to sheer joy in short order. While I sang some of my older songs, the set also included new selections I had written during the pandemic, giving voice and expression to that which we all have been experiencing these days. The theme or motif of this concert, which I’m hoping will become a tour, was “Homeward: A Musical Journey of Return.”

Adding to the overall joy of this occasion is the fact that all the friars I live with not only attended the concert, but also helped, either in the setting up or by managing the merchandise table. What’s a concert without T-shirts?

So, to any other pastors out there, I’m happy to journey your way!

friars

Back row left to right: Mike Dubec, Eric Seguin, Al Mascia, Mike Lenz and Jeff Scheeler. Seated left to right: Dennet Jung and Michael Radomski