Monday, December 8, 2008

Breath of Heaven

Since my first day at college, I was involved at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center. I loved that place and the ever-evolving community. As a freshman I had upperclassmen who took me under their wing. I had friends my age who were going through the same ups and downs of college life. And as I made my way through the years I eventually mentored others and took them under my wing. While the community changed, the environment didn't. It was a place of love and support and acceptance and learning.

All of those things are still in that building for me. I haven't been able to be there to celebrate Mass or join in activities for a long time, but I can close my eyes and see the details, smell the essence, hear the trickle of the baptismal font and feel the closeness of the air that hugs you into a sense of serenity. I loved worshipping there.

Mostly, I loved singing there.

I'm not the best singer in the world, but it is, hands down, the thing I loved to do the most. I don't read music so I would meet the pianist for our practice session carrying a mini-recorder to tape the songs. Then I would take it home and play it over and over to have the music ingrained in me until I could sing without thinking.

I would stand up to the microphone on Sunday morning and see a sea of faces who were there for something so much bigger than us. And I would do the same thing each time... silently pray the Memorare and ask for Mary to send one of the angels in the choir to sing for me that day. I would ask that whatever message was supposed to be given would be heard, and then I would concentrate on the words and the meaning and trust that the notes would come out right. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't, but regardless I always felt a connection with the community.

One year around Christmas time I had recorded a radio jingle for our local airport... it was the corniest jingle ever, but the studio I was at gave me a deal on some recording time. I had enough money from the jingle to be in the studio for one hour, and I recorded eight songs back-to-back. Each song had one take... no going back to fix it if I hit a wrong note or ran out of breath. I took the opportunity to record the songs I had done most often at St. Stephen's to share with the people it meant something to.

The song I still have people tell me they miss at this time of year was a song I would have sang today on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception... Breath of Heaven. So, for all of you from St. Stephen's that read the blog, and for all of you new friends of mine, I'm going to share my recording of it today. I know others have sang it better, but I hope you get as much out of hearing it as I got out of singing it for so many years. Just click the play button on the player below and wait a second for it to start. And remember I'm not a professional... just a person who loved the experience of sharing the moment.

07 Breath of Heaven  by  gitzengirl


  1. Oh Sara! I have wanted to hear you sing so badly since you first mentioned you were a singer! I am at work now and for some reason I am not able to listen to your song...but I cannot wait to get home and press play! I am so excited!!!

    Thanks for being you!

  2. Sweetie, I just don't have words...
    Yes, you can sing. And you sound like a professional, I'm not kidding. But mainly, I'm just sitting here with tears running down my cheeks feeling the Presence of God while I listened...
    thank you and thank the One who made you.

  3. Oh Sara,
    As Robin said, I too had tears rolling down my cheeks as I listened to you singing and saw you in my mind's eye, by the cantor's stand in St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center in the soft Advent lighting. I am so grateful that we were among those who experienced you, your lovely voice, and your deep faith in the beautiful and simple setting that is the chapel there. Listening again is a very good way to begin this feast day. Thank you.

  4. You are SO good! Makes me very sad that this might be the only song we hear from you... :D

  5. SARAH....WOW!


    I'm one of those people who is touched deeply by beautiful music. This song has always been a favorite of mine...and I don't get to hear it often enough.

    Your singing had me sobbing, Sarah. Seriously. Such a beautiful voice! I was really blessed by this today! Thank you so much!


  6. Sara, you have the voice of an angel. Thank you for this, especially this morning. I'm choked up, but I so needed to hear this beautiful song.

    I'm so glad to know what your voice sounds like.

  7. Beautiful. I've always loved that song. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Once again, I'm blown away by ANOTHER one of your talents!
    Simply beautiful . . . both the song and your voice. I've never heard that song before, but now I know I'll never forget it.
    I prayed for you at mass yesterday, and I'll be doing the same when I go tonight.

  9. Sara -

    What an amazing, lovely voice you have...thank you so much for sharing! I adore Breath of Heaven...I sing it every Christmas and sometimes in between during the year. I'll not be doing so again without thinking of you. I don't comment often but read your updates every day. You're so often in my thoughts and prayers.

  10. Oh Sara,

    And I thought my tears were subsiding... from your beautiful voice to the timely words of the song. You speak to me on many levels daily. Today, you spoke to my hurting heart.

  11. Absolutely beautiful! Now I've got tears rolling down my cheeks...

  12. Sara, This was beautiful. Words do not describe the message in that song this morning.

    You are so talanted, and a inspiration. You touch so many people on so many levels.

    Have a blessed week!

  13. You have a beautiful voice--I would love to hear more! You inspire me through your blog every day. You make me thankful for the gift of life that God has given to me. I pray for good health for you. Thank you for reaching out to all of us, and sometimes being that supporting hand that we need, through your beautiful words, and now beautiful voice, too.

  14. you know what im doing right now dont you?

    and speaking of totally took mine away just now.

  15. You have a beautiful voice. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    I would love to hear the other songs you recorded.

  16. You can too sing, woman! BEAUTIFUL. Just amazing.

  17. Thank you for posting this.

    I can't decide if it would've been cathartic or bittersweet, but either way, thank you.

  18. And, since there are seven more, can we get another one... or seven?

  19. Beautiful, Sara.

    Simply beautiful.

  20. Thanks, peeps... I changed my mind about 582 times about whether or not to post this, but I'm glad I did and glad you got something from it.

    To answer Mandy, it's a little bit of both. But I am so glad I recorded them when I did.

  21. Very beautiful, Sara. You have been blessed with many talents, not the least of which is your ability to reach people's hearts and minds.

  22. Wow Sarah, it's been a really long time since I've heard you sing! I think we used to have this recording... on a cassette in our basement at the old house. I used to put it in (when I still had a cassette player) and listen to you:)

  23. My daughter,Abby(3 years), loves to sing loudly all over the house. I played her your song and she stopped her own singing and said, " I LOVE that girl." We were both in awe of your voice and the message. You are in our thoughts and prayers everyday!

    Leslie Rhomberg

  24. Sara, that was just beautiful. Ditto what your other buddies said - You CAN sing, and beautifully, beautifully, beautifully. Thank you so much for posting this lovely gift to us.

  25. Sara, oh lovely Sara.....words just cannot express how the gift you've just shared with all of us has moved me so very deeply. Like so many others, I'm unable to stop sobbing. How stunningly beautiful! May God bless you as richly as He's blessed us through this most precious gift of you!!

    With so much love it's spilling out all over the place....

  26. Thanks for the song Sara!

    I love it! Tears filled my eyes as I listened to your song. I knew that would happen!

    I remember many year ago sitting at St. Stephen's listening to you sing and the same thing happened. Tears and peacefulness came over me.

    Your singing evokes emotions that I don't often feel in my day to day life.

    Thank you!

  27. This is so beautiful.. mostly because of the Holy Spirit in it..:) You have a lovely voice.. Can we hear more? Could we put something together you could sell?

  28. Beautiful! I don't know how I missed this post. This song is so beautiful, and your voice so rich on it. I am so proud you shared it with everybody! Way to conquer that fear, girl!

  29. I'm so weeping inside my car. Your voice is moving me to weep instead of just tearing up.

  30. Awesome!

    I have sung in church choirs for many years, just an average alto who struggles with breath control and not having a huge vocal range. You have a really good voice, girl! Kind of reminds me of Amy Grant's. Wish I could sing half as well as you!

    Oh, and if someone paid you to sing a jingle, then doesn't that make you a professional? Just sayin'.