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Organist's CD features timeless classics



Published: Sun, May 6, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The hymns are soft, classical devotional music.

By D.A. WILKINSON

VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- A new CD that rejoices in classic church music has a song dedicated to the memory of a popular local priest.

David J. McVicker, 38, a New Castle native and Pittsburgh resident, has produced his first CD, "To Him, She Leads."

The CD, subtitled "Songs to the Blessed Virgin Mary," reflects McVicker's pledge to her, as well as well as Mary's intercession with Jesus. The organist said the CD fulfills a private pledge he made to Mary.

The album contains 23 classic hymns arranged by McVicker, who also plays the organ and sings.

During a period when contemporary Christian music is hot, "To Him She Leads," promotes timeless devotional music.

"They are classics that will go on forever," said McVicker.

Dedicated to late priest: The first hymn is "Beautiful Angel," which is in a memorial to the Rev. Joseph L. Iati, the much loved and respected pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who died May 13, 1986.

McVicker was the organist at Mount Carmel and considered Father Iati a father figure.

"He was a good guy. I miss him terribly," said McVicker.

"Beautiful Angel" was a natural selection for the dedication, the organist said. "It was his favorite."

The priest helped McVicker when his late father, Robert, was in declining health. His mother, Margaret, still lives in New Castle.

McVicker discovered his talent at an early age.

"It was something I was born with, and it prospered."

Life in music: He joined the choir at what is now Mary, Mother of Hope Parish in New Castle when he was 12. By age 15, he was the principal organist. He later attended the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University.

He's now the director of music at St. Mary of Mercy Church in downtown Pittsburgh.

The church has a congregation of about 400 people but is packed with businessmen and travelers staying in downtown hotels.

Masses at the church are broadcast on cable television in Pittsburgh. McVicker used the equipment in the church to record the CD. There was a problem with the sounds of traffic appearing on the recordings, so McVicker tried to work on quiet evenings. He began work on the project last June.

Not perfect: Still, there is one deliberate flaw. McVicker adopted an American Indian belief that one never does anything perfectly because the only perfect thing is God.

"I won't tell you what it is. You have to listen very carefully," McVicker said with a laugh.

Response has been favorable, although the CD is designed to break even, not be a moneymaker.

However, McVicker said he has already begun work on his second CD.

XTo obtain a copy of the CD, send $20.50, which includes shipping and handling, to "To Him, She Leads," P.O. Box 60044, Pittsburgh, PA 15211; call Kirner's Catholic Bookstore at (800) 829-8520; or visit www.ToHimSheLeads.com/, where visitors can listen to some of the songs.




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