31 episodes

Author and musician Emily Strand examines the life, legacy and her own brief, personal encounter with a little-known but essential figure in American Catholic history: Black liturgist and composer Fr. Clarence Joseph Rivers.

Meet Father Rivers Emily Strand

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 24 Ratings

Author and musician Emily Strand examines the life, legacy and her own brief, personal encounter with a little-known but essential figure in American Catholic history: Black liturgist and composer Fr. Clarence Joseph Rivers.

    Meet Season Two of MFR

    Meet Season Two of MFR

    Hosts Emily and Eric catch up after a break from podcasting, sharing the projects and events that kept them busy this summer, including travel to present on Fr. Rivers at the National Black Catholic Congress in the Washington, D.C. area. They introduce the second season of the show with a fascinating, 1968 article from National Catholic Reporter interviewing Fr. Rivers. Rivers' setting of the Creed is also shared and discussed. For show notes for Episode 25, click here.

    • 55 min
    The "Soul" of Rivers with William Foster McDaniel

    The "Soul" of Rivers with William Foster McDaniel

    Eric and Emily interview a key musical collaborator of Fr. Clarence Rivers: pianist, composer and arranger William Foster McDaniel. Billy recalls meeting Fr. Rivers in Paris in 1966, where both were pursuing graduate studies. He details how he later worked and traveled with Fr. Rivers for years as his pianist and arranger and shares a recording of a song he co-composed with Rivers called "Soul." Finally, Billy and the hosts discuss Fr. Rivers' legacy and the uniqueness of his contributions. For Episode 26 Show Notes, click here.

    • 59 min
    The Making of a Black Catholic Hymnal with Marjorie Gabriel-Burrow

    The Making of a Black Catholic Hymnal with Marjorie Gabriel-Burrow

    Eric and Emily explore a great accomplishment for Black Catholics in the US many years in the making: the Lead Me Guide Me hymnal, published by GIA Publications in 1987. After some background on the hymnal’s development, hosts introduce Marjorie Gabriel-Burrow, who chaired the committee that brought the hymnal to birth. Marjorie, an internationally acclaimed musician and composer, has served the Catholic Church as a pastoral musician since the eighth grade and since 1992 at St. Augustine-St. Monica Parish in Detroit. Marjorie tells stories of a lifetime of making music in the Church as a Black Catholic, including meeting Fr. Rivers and long-time parish use of Rivers’ Mass Dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man and the struggles and triumphs of putting together Lead Me Guide Me with collaborators Rawn Harbor and Leon C. Roberts. Hosts and guest discuss Fr. Rivers’ decision not to allow the inclusion of much of his music in the hymnal. Marjorie shares her personal remembrances of Fr. Rivers. For Episode 27 Show Notes, click here.

    • 54 min
    Christmas with Fr. Rivers

    Christmas with Fr. Rivers

    Eric and Emily discuss an archival recording of a Christmas liturgy Fr. Rivers designed and presided over from 1972, then later published in his 1974 book Soulfull Worship. Emily and Eric discuss the recording, play clips, and compare and contrast worship practices from 1972 until now. Fr. Rivers' signature style is on full display in this special Christmas episode of Meet Father Rivers. For Episode 28 Show Notes, click here.

    • 56 min
    Freeing the Spirit with Fr. Rivers and the Hawkins Family

    Freeing the Spirit with Fr. Rivers and the Hawkins Family

    Eric and Emily and special guest Scott Patterson discuss a concert Fr. Rivers hosted on August 19, 1971, recorded live at the Detroit Institute of Arts auditorium and produced by the National Office of Black Catholics. The concert—and the week-long workshop that preceded it—were intended as “an act of freedom on the part of contemporary American Black Catholics” to make their “own impact on Catholic worship” (Joseph Davis, SM, from the album’s back cover). The conversation focuses on clips of the concert while touching on Gospel music then and now, the importance of Protestant-Catholic collaborations in building a Black Catholic liturgical aesthetic, music ministry in Black Catholic pastoral settings and, of course, Fr. Rivers and his legacy. For Episode 29 Show Notes, click here.

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Having Church All Week with Scott Patterson

    Having Church All Week with Scott Patterson

    We’re still talking about that phenomenal recording of Fr. Rivers and the Hawkins Family in a new episode of MFR! And we talk about so much more as well. Bonus content from our interview with composer and former Church musician Scott Patterson, featured in Episode 29, forms the content of this episode of Meet Father Rivers. Eric tells us more about Afro House, the art collective our guest Scott (and Alisha Patterson) lead. Then Emily, Eric and Scott discuss music ministry, form in art (and when to break it), Earth, Wind & Fire as church music, liturgy as “folk art” and how to have church all week. We intersperse more music from the Hawkins Family concert with Fr. Rivers and close with reflections on the importance of leadership in liturgy. Enjoy this eclectic episode of Meet Father Rivers. For Episode 30 Show Notes, click here.

    • 1 hr 1 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Puzzler2431 ,

So good

Bit of a slow start, but once it settled in I was completely engaged by who Fr. Rivers was and what he did. And love the discussion of what that might mean for the future.

astermarten ,

Excellent

Have enjoyed listening and learning about father Clarence Rivers. Thank you so much for doing this

Ma Ma Bug ,

Hope Remains

Thank you for this amazing series. This episode with Cardinal Gregory helped me see abs wait patiently for my steps to be ordered as we walk together towards a church where all are welcomed, cherished and loved. I’ve learned so much about Father Rivers. By his example I am humbled, motivated and prayerful - hope remains.

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