The fruit of ten years of music ministry and an active prayer life formed the basis for Elyse O’Kane’s first CD, “With All My Heart”, which features 12 original compositions of prayer and praise. Raised in a traditional Italian family listening to opera, Elyse studied musical theater for two years before majoring in speech pathology and beginning a career as a special education and resource teacher. While raising a family in Atlanta, Georgia, she served the music ministry of her Parish, sang at Eucharistic congresses of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and for ten years led the music ministry of the Atlanta Chapter of Magnificat, a ministry to Catholic Women.
Her first composition came spontaneously in 1991 while on vacation at the beach. Elyse states: “On the way home from Mass one morning, I started to sing a song with a melody that was joyful and uplifting. ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior’, the words to Mary’s Magnificat. Realizing that I had written a song for the first time came as a total surprise! It had a unique Middle-Eastern flavor and seemed to reflect the joy that Mary must have felt when she knew that she was carrying the Messiah.” Some months later, Elyse was asked to coordinate the music for Magnificat and knew that her first song had a purpose. It was initially recorded as a single and is presently being used by the New Orleans’ based Magnificat as their unofficial theme song.
In the months and years that followed, she continued to hear music, both melodies and lyrics, and began to write them down without being sure whether they would ever be published or sung. A dear friend, Mary Rogers, also a singer, composer and recording artist, saw something special in Elyse’s music and offered to produce her CD. “Elyse’s compositions have a unique character,” Rogers said, “some bringing an element of chant to them. All are contemporary yet timeless in their appeal. They reflect her prayerful spirit, her heartfelt worship of God and her love for God and the Blessed Mother through music. The songs bring listeners into a spiritual oasis.”
“I just love to sing and praise God in music”, Elyse says “But more than anything I love to minister to people through this medium. I have seen how music opens doors to people’s hearts, how it touches the soul and how it heals. Every day I ask God to minister to those who are listening to my music, that He would give them His gifts of peace, joy and inner healing. This has been my prayer from the very beginning.”
Elyse shares her passion for music and her faith in the Lord with her husband John and their three sons, Matthew, Anthony and Stephen.