Feeling the vibe

Laguna Hills, California priest, the Rev. Norm Freeman listened to his spiritual director in 1994 at General Theological Seminary when he said, “God calls the whole person and all of their experiences – so that one can have a life of meaning and service at same time.” Leaving the life of an “A-list” professional musician for the life of a priest Freeman thought he would have to sacrifice music for the priesthood. Now with a growing church, he plays on Sundays, for its jazz mass and he tours at times with people like Barbara Streisand.

Tom Berg, writing in the Orange County Register says:

He stands in an empty church, practicing. Always practicing. Ninety minutes every day, two mallets in each hand. They fall gently on an old vibraphone he once rolled through the streets of Manhattan in another life. Another time. Back then a long-haired Norm Freeman played Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden.

Now? He plays for a hundred people here. A hundred there. He leans over the instrument: Soft strains of “Stardust” lift to the vaulted church ceiling.

It’s hard to believe he once played with the thrash-metal band Metallica. Or at the MTV Music Awards. Or on Saturday Night Live.

“Trying to prove myself in the music business ultimately left me feeling empty,” says Freeman, 55, a husband and father of two. “It was from that place that I started a spiritual quest.”

Now, each Sunday, this man who once played with Pavarotti, Paul McCartney and Leonard Bernstein plays the 9:30 a.m. service at St. George’s Episcopal Church.

Read the article and hear Freeman’s music here

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