He’s only 20 years old and already has determined what he wants his life’s work to be – worshipping the Lord through music.
John Finch of Pearl River considered himself an average Catholic youth and teen who attended Mass, was an occasional altar server, choir member and CYO participant at his parish of Sts. Peter and Paul.
But said God started working on his heart at age 16 when youth director Patrick Duffy asked him to join the retreat team at St. Margaret Mary Church in Slidell. It was then his musical talents were used to reach other teens for the Lord.
“That’s when I knew what I was called to do,” Finch said. “I really found my place in the church. Music is a calling to serve, and I know that God is calling me to music ministry. … I’m following what God wants me to do. I’ve realized I have to follow God’s will.”
On Dec. 6, Finch introduced music from his first EP “Broken Steeples,” at a CD release concert at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Slidell. At times, he was singer, musician and faith inspirer.
“We are all broken but there is beauty because it is in sin that God encounters us and restores us,” he told the crowd. “God can do amazing things.”
He invited attendees to get their “worship on” and prepare their hearts for the birth of Jesus at Christmas as he sang the anthem of worship, “I Welcome You.”
Connects with youth
“I think it’s pretty cool that he can write all these songs and music we can relate to,” said Emma Lapeyrouse, a friend from Southeastern Louisiana University, who was singing all the words to his songs during the concert.
Christian singer Emily Wilson of Los Angeles joined him on stage during the concert to sing, “Falling Apart,” that they co-wrote. They also sang on other songs including "Hosanna," "His Glory Appears," "How He Loves," "Revelation Song" and "Oceans." Finch and Wilson first met at a Steubenville retreat in Atlanta, and said God had a hand in writing “Falling Apart,” which explores people feeling broken and longing for a new start.
“It was amazing how the words came together,” Finch said.
Finch recorded the EP in Atlanta with producer Loyd Rieves. Six of eight tracks are original compositions; one is instrumental; and he covered “Turn Your Eyes Jesus.”
He co-wrote “Morning Star” with friend, Josh McCusker of Atlanta.
“It’s a song of hope; in our darkest hour, we can look to our morning star – Jesus,” Finch said.
“I hope my music inspires others to focus in a little more on Christ and our relationship with Christ,” he said. “As a society, generally we are very broken people and we need a savior … a God that loves us more than anything else. I want people to find that relationship. “
What he’s doing
In addition to his recording, Finch is a day student at St. Joseph Seminary, where he is better appreciating his Catholic faith. He continues to lead youth in worship through contemporary Christian music at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Algiers and the Ohana Mahalo Christian youth club in Slidell, something he enjoys because, “it’s beautiful to see them connect with each other and with Christ through the Eucharist,” he said.
Nick Church of Ohana Mahalo did video projection at the CD release and said Finch has a special way of connecting to youth through his music.
“He’s very talented,” Church added. “He has a great sound and a great voice, but more than his voice, his character comes through which is a good thing.”
Finch’s music and life definitely resonates with Anthony Palazzolo, 16, a junior at Archbishop Hannan High School in Covington. Palazzolo is prayer partners with Finch in St. Margaret Mary’s youth group and admires how he puts the Lord in the center of his life.
“In ‘The Wreckage,’ he talks about being down and being brought back up,” Palazzolo said.
Finch’s love of the faith led him down the path of Christian music.
“I love the Catholic Church, and all we stand for,” he said. “I think I’m supposed to be playing music in the Catholic Church right now. I think it’s a great foundation and maybe later on I will branch out. Whatever God has in store, I will go in that direction.”
While people compare his voice and style of music to his role model, Catholic musician Matt Maher, Finch thinks he’s forging his own style and plans to tour “Broken Steeples,” lead worship at Steubenville retreats and record a full album.
“I want to be that vessel of love and hope and to reach out to those who don’t know who God is and show how to have that relationship with him.”
More about Finch and his music can be discovered at www.johnfinchmusic.com or email him at johnfinch email@example.com. His recording can be obtained on iTunes, at Angels of Peace Bookstore and Faith Christian Bookstore in Slidell and Precious Pearls in Pearl River.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.