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"I Call You Friends" is the 6th recording project from Watermead's Music apostolate.  Rebecca and Matthew were asked to sing for this recording following requests from the people of St. Joseph's parish, where they worshipped and regularly sang.  The couple began singing together in 2002 when Rebecca joined the newly-formed choir.  Matthew, although still leading the music at St Theresa's twice a month, had been helping Alison introduce Watermead Music to the people of St Joseph's. When Rebecca asked to sing with Matthew, it was decided that they try one of Alison's new hymns as a Communion meditation.  People were so moved by their singing of the hymn that the couple started singing regularly together and gave voice to several of our Watermead hymns. That first hymn was called "I Call You Friends" - hence the title of this CD.

People involved and remembered through this recording . . . .

 "Josie"   All Watermead's music first belongs to someone, and the hymn "I Call you Friends" was Josie's. She had had a fall and was recovering in hospital when the new melody came to Alison. It had been decided that this new hymn was to be a song of friendship and Father John had shared this excitement with Josie on one of his visits to her in the hospital. She was delighted and requested that the hymn be hers because, "Everyone is my friend!" she said.

Josie was so right, everyone was her friend. For many years she had held the keys for St Theresa's church in Birstall, welcoming all who came to the door, befriending them - young and old alike. But especially she had befriended a young autistic boy in the parish with a curious obsession for thunderstorms, telephoning him whenever there had been a thunderstorm to talk patiently and enthusiastically through every aspect of the electrical spectacle.

Josie was a very keen supporter of our apostolate in its early days at St Theresa’s and would come to us with prayers and poems she would like to see us produce as a card or a laminated poster.  Her first favourite was “I Like Hugs” which (once checking copyright) we produced as a laminate and as a NoteCard - much to Joseph’s delight (to view follow the highlighted links or search our internet shop).

"Matthew" was the little boy that Josie used to encourage with her regular telephone weather reports.  Matthew's story in itself is remarkable, one of faith and perseverance, and one day shall be told through his own autobiography (currently being written). Over the years Matthew, with much prayerful support from his family and his church community, began to slowly develop, venturing out from his cocooned little world that was autism - displaying remarkable gifts for communicating through music and art.  As an adult he is an accomplished artist and musician and provided the painting that became the first painting to be shared through Watermead (used as the cover for our first recording), and his very poignant voice has taken the lead on many of our recordings. It is with pride that, on this CD, we introduce one of Matthew's own compositions, a hymn composed to the prayer "Precious Child", written by another member of the Watermead Apostolate - another Alison!

"Sheila", a member of St Joseph's parish, is a retired schoolteacher - having spent many years teaching at the local Catholic primary school, St Joseph's.  It was her picture that was used for the cover of this CD.  She was one of the first people at St Joseph's to offer her sketches and paintings for Watermead projects and this picture seemed very appropriate to the CD's title, "I Call You Friends".  It is actually called "Tom and Vicky in Wales", after her great niece and nephew, and has been used on many other of Watermead's projects - especially along with two other of her paintings as one card in the Angelus notecard series. (See our online shop for details)

"Rebecca"  "The girl with the voice of an angel" was the term used by people who heard Rebecca sing - and none would guess the difficulty that she herself had as a child. At school she had struggled to read and write, to academically "keep up" with her peers, and told us that struggling with dyslexia left no space for her musical gifts to be recognised or encouraged. To date Rebecca has obtained a nursing degree and works as a nurse specialising in palliative care.

Rebecca has since married Paul and the couple have moved to another area of the county. But her voice remains with us, captured on this recording and, along with Matthew, on several of the tracks on “Don Sings the Parables”.

"Grant"  The “I Call You Friends” CD was also the first of what has become several recordings to be engineered by Grant - who was first introduced to us through White House Sound, the local recording studio used for many of our early recordings.

Grant engineered several of our recordings, including a surprise recording Matthew produced for his Mum’s birthday - a selection of her favourite songs.  This recording was later sponsored by Watermead and licensed to sell as a limited edition charity fundraising CD in the United Kingdom.  Click on the adjacent CD picture to read its details, including track details.

Click to read about the CD

And last but not least are the Lyricists and Composer

Alison (the “other” Alison, as she is affectionately known) has gifted many prayers and wordings to us over the years, including the lyrics to Matthew’s “Precious Child”.  She also co-wrote the words to another of the hymns on this recording, “Here is My Body”.  Many of Alison’s words have been set to music and used on Watermead’s recordings and “Here is My Body” was previously recorded for the cassette “A Little Child Shall Lead” (where her daughter was part of the children’s choir) and for the cassette “Mary Our Mother”, which actually took its title from the first hymn composed using one of her prayers.

Alison (the Music) and Fr John (the lyrics) co-wrote all the other hymns and songs on the CD.  Alison, composed the instrumentals, arranging and recording the instrumentation for those tracks as well as the vocal backing tracks.  All the instruments (with the exception of Matthew’s guitar and Alison’s violin) were pre-recorded on her Yamaha Clavinova, with a few additional effects added by Grant in the studio.

Listen to the tracks on our Projects pages