SALT LAKE CITY — Sarah Hart, who has dedicated much of her adult life to creating Christian music, will share her talent with the Diocese of Salt Lake City the weekend of March 24-26.
“(Hart’s) music, being more contemporary and reflective, really speaks to people of all ages,” said Monica Howa-Johnson, a teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School and longtime parishioner and music minister at the Saint Catherine of Siena Newman Center.
Hart recalls being in bands, participating in plays and musicals, and pursuing just about every venue of musicality while growing up, she said.
“I grew up in a very musical family, both my parents were musicians,” she said.
However, music wasn’t the only thing she loved. For a long time, she considered being a pediatrician or an archaeologist, she said, but then she talked about her career with her 10th-grade music teacher.
When she told him she was going into a career other than music, “he laughed his head off,” Hart said. “He said to me, ‘Honey, you aren’t going to be a pediatrician. You’re going to be a musician.’ And I thought, ‘Darn it, I don’t want to be poor!’” she said, with a laugh.
Despite the hardships that come with a music career, her music teacher turned out to be right, Hart said.
Her appearance in Utah will be an excellent opportunity for Catholics young and old, said Jane Gormally, who plays guitar in the Newman Center music group.
“I encourage people to come and see her gift,” Gormally said. “Her music is very transformative, very heartfelt. It helps you get in touch with the more reflective part of worship. I think her music brings you there in a very real way.”
Four different groups came together to bring Hart to Utah: the Newman Center, St. Vincent de Paul School, Judge Memorial Catholic High School and the Oregon Catholic Press, which publishes Hart’s works.
Every year, the St. Vincent de Paul School Board Faith Formation Committee, which Howa-Johnson also works with, tries to provide a speaker or event for the spiritual enrichment of our students and families, she said.
Because Hart’s music was used quite a bit already in the Newman Center, the idea to bring her in to Utah was quickly adopted by both St. Vincent de Paul Parish and the Newman Center, Howa-Johnson said. When it was discovered that the space at the Newman Center was not large enough to accommodate Hart’s concert, Judge Memorial CHS was contacted and brought into the collaboration, as they had the room required to host the concert, she added.
“It really is three diocesan entities working together on this project,” but the effort to bring Hart to Utah will be worth it for parishioners, Howa-Johnson said.
While adults can experience Hart’s music firsthand at the March 24 concert at Judge Memorial CHS and at the workshop, the St. Vincent de Paul students will get a sneak peek in two assemblies scheduled during that day.
“I am hoping that the students will see that music and prayer go hand-in-hand,” Howa-Johnson said.
Hart hopes that the assembly will serve “as a call to discipleship” and will teach students “practical ways to be missionaries in the world, she said. She added that she hopes the assembly and workshop will reveal the link between music and spirituality to Catholics in Utah.
“It’s always been my belief that music is a language, like English, French, Portuguese or American Sign Language,” she said. “It’s no surprise that music is part of our liturgy and daily lives. It speaks to us not just intellectually, but spiritually.”