Mark Emerson Donnelly: Catholic Composer

Vancouver, British Columbia


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Mark Emerson Donnelly: Catholic Composer


24% funded

Campaign beneficiary:

Mark Emerson Donnelly

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Category: Faith & Family

Start Date: June 20, 2019

In a nutshell: By standing up for freedom, for voices that are being marginalized, I was terminated by my most visible client/employer. This has affected my ability to support my family and keep up my composing.

As many of you may know by now, the Vancouver Canucks, a professional hockey team I have followed for 50 years, twenty of which I was identified as their anthem singer, has severed ties with me because I chose to sing at the “BC Christmas Freedom Rally” at the Vancouver Art Gallery, December 5th, 2020. This decision to terminate our relationship was made publicly on Twitter by the owner, even before I sang at the event. I do not use Twitter, so I was informed of this by the press. What was simply a request by my fellow Canadians to sing our national anthem, turned into an issue of whether we are, in fact, free in Canada to legitimately express an opinion which does not support the government and media narrative.

A significant amount of my income is made through performing, both as a conductor and singer; be it corporate and sporting events, private functions, weddings & funerals. No doubt, because of the perception that I was supporting an unpopular position, certain potential clients would have, on their own, chosen not to hire me. However, there are likely many others, who, given the amplifications of the significance of my performance at the Rally, would simply rather not hire a singer with whom the Canucks chose to disassociate, not because of any lack of ability; Don Cherry is quoted saying, “He puts on a pretty good show. He has that theatrical magic behind him. People love him out there.” (Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun, Dec 7/2020). No; rather that my termination was due to a kind of civic irresponsibility. Not a good perception for a national anthem singer!

Though publicly, most people know me as a patriotic anthem singer and classical performer, my passion and, I believe, God’s intention for me is to be a composer of church music. Many of you have supported me in this work, even before I launched it as my primary musical endeavour last January.

Any new business takes two to three years to get going. That being said, we have had great success! We have been able to produce several excellent videos of my music.


December 2020 updates: 

1. If you want to learn more about me standing up for free speech, a website & fundraising page is being set up. Also a petition related to my situation has been started.

2. If you want to learn more about me as a composer, read on!

HI! I'm Mark Emerson Donnelly. I've been a professional musician for 40 years. I've done lots of stuff: opera, recital, musical theatre, conducting; whatever it takes to support my wife, Catherine, and our nine children.

One thing that has been a constant in my musical life is Traditional Catholic Church music; specifically, Gregorian Chant and Classical Roman polyphony. For the past ten years, I’ve been composing in that style* fairly consistently.    "Mark's work is of the highest quality. More people need to hear his music. It will change and move them in a very positive way.  Beautiful music, extremely well-crafted."

      - Peter Allen, international film & television composer

Though I have written and arranged non-church music, I believe writing sacred polyphony is the primary mission on which God has called me to embark.

   “I have experienced Mark’s sacred music for many years. In both spirit and quality, he is truly keeping the great Catholic musical tradition alive. His composing is certainly worthy of any and all patronage and support.”

    - Most Rev. J. Michael Miller, CSB

       Archbishop of Vancouver, BC Canada

I have produced a significant amount of music, and I know I have more give. But, RIGHT NOW, the challenge is to introduce this music to the world.

  The beginning of this process is to produce high-quality video recordings of some of my compositions. These will be used to spread awareness and interest in my work and expand my base of supporters.

  Following this, the next (big!) project is to record an album of my imitation mass based on Palestrina’s timeless double-motet Sicut cervus/Sitivit anima mea. WATCH - From Motet to Mass: Missa Sicut Cervus by Mark Emerson Donnelly

   These videos and recordings are critical to launching my music into the public realm, which is why I am asking for your support today. 

Would you please help me in this grand endeavour?

The First Project: Four Professional Videos

Production Budget: $12,500 

Here is the plan for the first video project [December 2020: almost done! See updates and links below]:

   Video 1: Pater Noster/Ave Maria (double-motet) – my original polyphonic version based on the traditional Gregorian chants. 

[Now two videos. “Pater Noster” released Father’s Day 2020. Watch the YouTube video here and read the accompanying newsletter here. “Ave Maria” released Mother’s Day 2020. YouTube video and newsletter.
  Video 2: Missa “Sicut cervus” Kyrie & Gloria – my imitation mass based on Palestrina’s timeless double-motet Sicut cervus/Sitivit anima mea. [“Gloria” released Easter 2020. Watch the YouTube video here and read the accompanying newsletter here.
  Video 3: Memento verbi tui (motet) – my polyphonic setting of the Gregorian chant Communion verse, 20th Sunday after Pentecost (26th Sunday in Ordinary Time). Released August 2020 in memoriam my mother Marie. Watch the YouTube video here and read the accompanying newsletter here
  Video 4: Trailer –  Cantus Firmus: The Music of Mark Emerson Donnelly set to release January 2021. [Previous working title: Why I Compose the Way I Do

The Next Project: Record my Missa “Sicut Cervus”

Still in the planning stages, this is meant to be a high quality album recording with members of OFFERTORIUM (see previous videos) in a sacred space like St. Giles Cathedral in England.

Covid-19 has set this project back considerably. Please help me make this project a reality by making a one-time or ongoing contribution!


And this is only the beginning! 

Help me share my music with the world and, ultimately, do my part in leading souls to God. 

Please consider providing ongoing support for my work as a composer.

God bless! Mark

PS - My prayers are with all of you, especially those whose lives and livelihoods have been most deeply affected by covid-19 and the imposed protocols. Per JMJ! Mark

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