Even as far away as Texas and Arkansas, John Michael Talbot can see that Pennsylvania is hurting. That’s why the focus of his upcoming appearance here has changed to a “concert for healing.”
The singer-composer is set to perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, at St. Bernadette Parish, 245 Azalea Drive in Monroeville.
He has been traveling across the United States in a concert series titled “A Lifetime of Music and Ministry.” But his performance in Monroeville will be his first concert for healing, and it will contain a lot of the same songs.
“I go all the way back to 1976 when I first started in Christian music, and then in 1978 when I became a Catholic,” Talbot said by telephone Aug. 23. “I do some songs from my pre-Christian experience, and I do a song called ‘Would You Crucify Him?’ that still sings well and Catholics really like it.
“It’s been fun to take some of those old songs and resurrect them,” he said.
Talbot is recognized as Catholic music’s most popular artist, with multi-platinum sales and compositions published in hymnals throughout the world. And his 29th book, “Monk Dynasty,” was released in February 2016.
Besides his music and writing, he is also the founder and minister general of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, who operate a hermitage in Arkansas and monastery in Texas.
Being a pioneer in modern sacred music, Talbot estimates that he has sung his most requested songs literally 10,000 times. But it feels new every time.
“People ask, ‘Do you get tired of doing ‘Holy is His Name?’ and I say, ‘No, I never get tired of doing it,’ because it’s different every time I sing it,” he said, because he feels different, the audience is new and how they all are relating to God is unique.
“I think that’s the mark of a professional musician — they don’t get bored, they have to make it fresh every time, and that’s what I try to do.”
The ability of music to communicate emotion and draw listeners deeply into the mystical makes it a fitting vehicle for prayer, he said. That is especially needed these days as the Catholic Church struggles with issues related to clergy abuse.
“It’s important to remember that this is probably the most significant thing that any of us have walked through or will, God willing, walk through in our lifetime regarding the negative part of the church,” Talbot said. “It’s important to remember that the church has been through similar or even worse times.
“I always hang on to ‘All things are possible with God.’ There have been saints who have come from eras of worse confusion,” he said.
Talbot is always shocked when people tell him how his music touched them and brought them closer to God.
“I just kind of stand back and go, ‘Wow. Watch the Holy Spirit work because it sure ain’t me.’”
Tickets to his Sept. 16 concert are $30 for general seating ($35 at the door), or $50 for the VIP package, which includes preferred seating, early admission to the sound check and a complimentary CD.
Purchase tickets in person at the parish office or online at www.johnmichaeltalbot.com/tour. For information, call the parish office at 412-373-0050.