Christie L. Chicoine
the Baptizer baptizing a tie-dye-clad Jesus to a reggae beat. Or
a hoedownthat heralds a final judgement warning.
what happenned in "The Word," a Gospel rock opera produced and directed
by Bill Monaghan, 24, a freelance musician who played Jesus in the production
June 28 at Father Judge High School for Boys.
show touches on many needs and emotions - forgiveness, laughter, sadness,
hunger, confusion, repentance and readiness to do God's will," said
Monaghan, a member of St. Vincent de PAul Parish in Richboro. His
production traveled through the Old and New Testaments and re-enacted Jesus'
passion, death and ressurrection.
rock opera at Judge was an encore performance for Managhan and a cast of
more than 20 area high school and college students. They first performed
"The Word" in May at Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Southampton.
who teaches and performs music at Theater & Kids, a theater company
for children in Lansdale, was commissioned last fall by Our Lady of Good
Counsel Parish to produce a spring musical. The previous spring he
was asked by the parish to develop music for tenn Masses there during the
1994-95 school year, which he did.
emotions - forgiveness,
do God's will"
"I wanted to be able to
do something that had the effects of 'Godspell,'" Monaghan said of his
goal to str his audience spiritually throught the Gospel rock opera.
"I hope they will feel a new energy - maybe even a new interest for the
Word, their faith, their relationship with God."
a 1988 graduate of Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, remembers
how as a small boy he was "really bored, trying to get into it," and wishing
he could "change the words," he said.
the years, his creative mind matured and he channeled his energy into music,
directing an array of productions, one of which he co-authored. Monaghan
graduated from the University of Scranton in 1992 with a bachelor's
degree in English and a minor in music.
Word" and getting involved in Good Counsel's teen Masses have "made me
become closer to God and helped me understand the structure of the Mass
more," Monaghan said. "Now I know why they wouldn't change
out his faith "by building up a sence of community within the immediate
cast" of the play. He also learns about his faith by watching others
in their relationship with God. "A lot of it has to do with seeing
God in other people," said Monaghan.
these days is to help others heighten their faith by using music as the
comes naturally to me - I play a lot by ear," Monaghansaid of his talents
in voice and on piano, guitar, bass and harmonica. "I often try to
harness whatever it is I'm thinking about into some kind of musical form."
while he was creating the rock opera, Monaghan was moved by God's presence.
"Some of the (segments) in the show came out of nowhere.... The whole
show just lifts," he said, explaining it features only a select few melodies.
When inspiration came, Monaghan never missed a beat to bow a special, 'Thanks
(God), that'll help!"
closed with an African-rythm-based ressurrection scene and "a sending forth,"
Monaghan said. "The Apostles now understand and are ready to do what
they're called to do."
As for Monaghan, he
feel called to continued to live his faith through music. "I think
God is...calling me to go outside to the people who are listening."
In this way, he added, "everybody feels something."
"THE WORD" - Archbishop
High School alumnus
produces and directs
the religious musical