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MP3 Seasons - Eventide Lullabye

Traditional and original Christmas music played on harp and hammered dulcimer with occasional vocals and other instruments; national publications have called it “beautiful,” “haunting yet sweet, with a few unexpected twists.”

15 MP3 Songs in this album (51:48) !
Related styles: SPIRITUAL: Contemporary Christian, FOLK: Traditional Folk

As our mom would say, in a nutshell, here’s the story of Seasons up till now. We’re a sibling harp and hammered dulcimer trio made up of Mary-Kate Spring, Peter Winter, and Mary-Teresa Summer Lee (Guess why we call ourselves Seasons). Teresa also plays mandolin while Mary-Kate is occasionally heard on the penny whistle. We all play piano and try our hand at percussion. Alex Marini from Lancaster, Pennsylvania makes our harps, and Michael Vignoles from Ireland made our bodhran.

We range in age from seventeen to twenty-one unless our thirteen-year-old sister Mary-Grace (she’s Autumn) sits in. We’ve been playing professionally and as a ministry for about seven years. Our mom has always had a special calling to nursing home residents so our ministry started with the people in nursing homes, and we’ve grown up to see that group as a special part of our audience and ministry. At the other end of the life spectrum, however, we also play to help raise money to send kids on youth retreats backing up a big-hearted guy named Jim Baker. All in all, we play churches, receptions, weddings, coffee houses, and just about any venue a band can be called to. (We’re pretty sure we have the only harps ever to play the Appalachian Brewing Company!)

Seasons, in one form or another, has played in seven states and the District of Columbia. We’ve played at Kipona, ArtsFest, the Ohio Valley Gospel Festival, and the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, and at various events on the Franciscan University of Steubenville campus. We’ve also been featured performers with the Harrisburg Harp Orchestra and at Bishop Kevin Rhoades'' Emmanuel Christmas Concert. We even played at receptions for the Pope’s ambassador to the United States and internationally acclaimed artist P. Buckley Moss and opened for three-time Grammy Award winner Ashley Cleveland. This January, we’re playing at the March for Life in Washington. Increasingly we’re writing and performing our own songs.

In November 2006, we released our first CD, an independent Christmas project, in our three-county region. When our dad ordered 2500 copies, we thought he was crazy. We sent the CD to a few local Christian radio stations, but we didn''t expect it to get played so we forgot about it. We had no plan for marketing or promoting the CDs, and our mom’s fear was that the boxes filled with them would never leave our basement. Our dad set them up as furniture only further fueling Mom’s fears.

About a week after sending the CDs to the radio stations, we got a call at about 7:00 am from Pete Hamel, the morning DJ and station manager at a local Christian radio station—Pete was actually playing our CD, and people were calling in to the station to find out who we were and how to buy the CD. The station couldn''t tell them anything, however, because our website was still under construction. We had never envisioned anyone going to our website so we hadn’t pushed to get the website done before the CD release. Before we had time to imagine that we were in charge of what was going on, we were being played on three more stations covering Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland. By the time that first Christmas season was over, we had set sales records for independent and seasonal projects at the four stores we were in, and we led all music projects in December at all those stores.

Last Christmas, EWTN featured us on The Message in Music, and Eventide Lullabye was also featured in Catholic Digest. In fact, we actually had CD orders from England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Slovenia, and Slovakia. This holiday season, look for us in the November/December issue of Faith and Family Magazine and at Grapevine Online. We’ve had to order a second round of Eventide Lullabye, and this summer we started recording our second CD, an Irish project with a Christian calling.

Musicmaker’s Magazine was gracious enough to call Eventide Lullabye “beautiful,” “haunting yet sweet, with a few unexpected twists.” Thom Price of EWTN Radio called it “fantastic,” Catholic Digest recommended it to their readers in their December 2007 issue, and Faith and Family plans to do the same this Christmas! One central Pennsylvania tour bus driver has even designated Eventide Lullabye his official holiday trip music.

When you consider that we never really expected that anyone we didn’t know would ever hear our music, you get a sense, not only of God’s sense of humor, but also of how really, really blessed we feel we have been already. For example, God has been incredibly good to us with our first CD in spite of our best efforts to mess up. Fortunately the love of God is like that.

We have no idea where God wants to lead us musically or otherwise. He takes us one step at a time, and sometimes we struggle with that. But we also are really thankful for where we are: God has invited us as a band to make music a big part of our lives and lets each of us in the band play our music with people who know who we really are but see us and love us as God does (which is, of course, better than we deserve!). God has also led us to great audiences who have graciously responded to what we have to share. We trust that whatever God has planned for us will be better than anything we could imagine (and between the three of us we have some pretty vivid imaginations!). We also appreciate the prayers of those people God places in our path and look to their letters and comments as affirmation that we’re on the right path. Here’s a letter that captures how we hope Eventide Lullabye encounters people in the Christmas season:

I was given your CD last Christmas Eve - listened in the wee hours while building toys - listened Christmas day while cooking - listened Christmas day night while cleaning - you all have a wonderful gift, thanks for sharing. Sometimes it is hard to keep close to the real Christmas meaning in all the bustle - your music draws one back. I purchased these for friends and family to share that feeling. Merry Christmas! Peace to you and your families too!

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