Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 25, 2002
Grace found Grady in Haiti
Country gospel singer discovers the children's joy despite poverty
By GORDON LEGGE
"I, more so now than ever, realize that our life is an ongoing conversion."
- Denis Grady
Ironically, when recording industry executive Susan Stein of Heartbeat Records announced his award in Washington, she said, "Denis Grady has been with us every year. But he's not with us this year because he's starting his ministry in Haiti."
Indeed, when he launches the CD next weekend, Grady will have 100 child sponsorship packages for Haitian children available beside his CDs. Since returning, he's felt less pressure to succeed and found more enjoyment simply playing the music and reaching people.
But then Grady, who has a gift for friendship and camaraderie, has been reaching people most of his life.
During that time, he served as an
assistant in Calgary's L'Arche community for the mentally- and physically-challenged.
And he's also spent some time supporting the work of Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity.
In 1980, he was invited to participate in a Billy Graham Crusade in Calgary where he met two prominent and unabashedly evangelical U.S. musicians, Dennis and Danny Agajanian. He became close friends with Danny and the two play together regularly. A mean bluegrass banjo picker, Danny is coming up from Colorado to perform at Grady's CD launch.
By the early 1990s, Grady was busy promoting the Gospel and Gospel music industry, first through a weekly radio program, and later while trying to establish two separate associations aimed at supporting and promoting Catholic, Protestant and evangelical Christian musicians.
During this time, he received support and encouragement from Catholicism's famed troubadour John Michael Talbot. Grady visits Talbot's Arkansas Franciscan hermitage annually to gather with other Catholic musicians from across the continent.
In 1998, Grady released his first CD, Running Too Long, an upbeat, energetic CD filled with songs he'd written about how his love for the Lord developed and matured, filling him with love and joy. Grady was named the Recording Industry Association of Alberta's Gospel Musician of the Year in 1998.
Soon his concert tours were taking him beyond Canada and North America to Italy, Holland, Ireland and Germany. Last summer, he played at World Youth Day in Toronto.
Wherever he goes, friends back home look forward to receiving bright and unusual postcards from far off locales signed "Bless You, Denis," in big, bold letters.
A successful crossover artist, as often as not he can be found somewhere in southern Alberta and B.C. playing retreats and concerts in both parishes and community halls. He's also launched a monthly Sunday evening coffeehouse at Calgary's St. Philips Anglican Church.
Wherever he goes, "Shakey - King of the Roadies" will be helping him. Shakey, a.k.a. Delane Ohlhauser, is a mentally challenged 70-year-old man who has lived with Grady, and his wife, Wendy, for the past 12 years.
"Proclaim the word, be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient: convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
"For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but follow their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.
"But you will be self-possessed in all circumstances: put up with hardship: perform the work of an evangelist: fulfill your ministry."
Grady's easily prevailed upon to do benefit concerts. A few years ago, it was for the homeless and street people. In early November, he was raising support at his Sunday coffeehouse for Servants Anonymous, an agency that helps women leave prostitution and the street life.
At his CD launch, it'll be the children of Haiti.
Drawing on God's grace, Grady's talking and singing about helping the impoverished with more zeal than ever before.
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