BARRINGTON — For years, the parishioners of St. Luke’s Church in Barrington have benefited from the musical gifts of the parish’s youth contemporary choir, as well as its teen and adult worship group.
But the rest of Rhode Island and New England are slowly discovering the parish’s musically gifted youth as several of them collaborated on a CD project of praise and worship songs.
Titled “Listen Above,” the album contains seven songs that focus on God’s love, forgiveness, blessings, grace and prayer.
“I’m really proud of them, of how this came out,” said David Lauria, the director of St. Luke’s Contemporary & Children’s Choirs, and the parish’s teen and adult worship groups.
Lauria wrote the songs over a course of six to seven months, and he penned the songs with particular choir members in mind. For Caroline Coleman, Lauria wrote songs that played to her strong vocal skills.
“David did a good job showcasing the gifts we have,” said Coleman, 21, who now attends college in Maryland.
For Emily Turtle, a sophomore studying theater at the University of Rhode Island, Lauria wrote songs with a softer tone that plays to her strengths.
“It was a great experience. We were asked to sing songs that David had written for us, which was really cool,” Turtle said. “He just really wanted to get our worship music into the public.”
The vocalists include Turtle, Coleman, Lauria, as well as Jacob Lauria, Madelyn Lauria, Yesenia Rego, Haley Ryan and Kathryn Santello. Luke Imbusch was on drums, Riley Saeger on saxophone, Frank Carroll on percussion, and David Lauria played all other instruments.
Lauria said he was inspired to launch the CD project because of the teen and adult worship group members’ talent and dedication to the group. He said many of them have been performing together since they were young elementary school-aged students in the parish’s children’s choir.
“We have a tremendous group of middle and high school kids,” Lauria said, adding that the teen and adult worship group members recorded the album when they were available in a makeshift recording studio in his home laundry room and basement.
Modern technology helped considerably to record the album, which the teen and adult worship group released during a late-summer party at Barrington Beach, in which the group performed its songs to an audience of dozens of town residents and St. Luke’s parishioners. On Oct. 16, the group held an official release event at St. Luke’s Church.
“It’s great how it all came together in the end,” Turtle said.
Coleman said she and the other group members were excited to record the CD.
“It was amazing. I was very proud to be part of a special project like this,” said Coleman, who added that Lauria encouraged and supported the group throughout the process.
“He’s a great mentor who supports you and is always there for you,” Coleman said. “I think his songs are amazing and they convey important messages.”
Lauria said he hopes to bring the CD along to musical performances at other churches across the state. He also would like to collaborate with other parish youth ministries and put on combined concerts.
“They are just so talented,” he said. “They’re great.”