MADISON — In the title song of Aaron Thompson’s most recent album, 10,000 Angels, the refrain’s lyrics speak of returning to God, saying, “You can come back today.”
He had written the song for the Catholics Come Home Campaign, an independent, non-profit charity aimed at welcoming those who have left the Church or anyone interested in becoming Catholic.
“I was at a concert recently in Georgia,” Thompson said, “and I had a guy come up afterwards in tears. He was Jewish, and he wanted to inquire into the RCIA process.
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| ||Aaron Thompson|
“I don’t know if that was me, because, really, ultimately it’s only God who calls us into the Church,” he said. “It’s really the Spirit of God working in us — and I’m glad to be used.”
Thompson is starting off the season of Lent, a time of repentance, conversion, and re-conversion, with a concert at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Madison, on Mardi Gras, Tuesday, Feb. 24, where he currently works as director of music. He calls it “the last Alleluia.”
“If you know someone who’s been away from the Church, bring them,” Thompson said. “If you have been hurt or wounded, or you’re tired, come to the concert. We’ll pray hard, and sing, and have a great time.”
At his concerts, he said, one of the things he focuses on is audience participation.
|Aaron Thompson in concert|
Where: St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 602 Everglade Dr., Madison
When: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m.
How much: Free admission.
Contact: Parish office, 608-833-2600
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“I love engaging everyone who’s attending to respond and sing,” he said. “It’s such a challenge to motivate people to participate. Doing it during the liturgy is one thing, and I try to practice that as a Catholic artist. If you write well and you write something that’s simple and people can engage and sing it, it’s such a more complete experience.
“Not everything is meant to be participated in — some things are meant to be listened to, or to bless the heart of somebody,” he said. “But I just love to hear people sing and to hear young children sing.”
Thompson, who was raised Catholic, said that his faith has always been a part of his music. His family was very faithful, he said, and though he was never really introduced to the Catechism when younger, he has continued to develop his faith.
“I think I’ve been formed in being formed, in learning, and growing and practicing more, and I think I now more accurately portray my faith in song, especially since I do some writing for the liturgy,” he said. “But I think I’ve always tried to express some element of my faith in my music.”
Thompson has published some of his liturgical music, and has many psalm settings that are yet unpublished. He has recorded four albums (the latest being 10,000 Angels) and has performed with other Catholic artists and composers around the country and at National Association of Pastoral Musicians conventions.
He and his wife Marian, married for 17 years, and their four children moved to Madison recently in order for him to take the position at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and to re-focus on simplicity and God.
“I realize that my life has really been dedicated mostly to the vocation of fatherhood, as much as I’d love to think I’m such a prolific writer and concert-giver,” Thompson said.
“And that’s really why we came out here — to have an opportunity to simplify our life a bit and focus on some of the ministries and charisms that God has blessed us with. One of them is to start writing again and to give concerts more regularly.”