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St. Joe's grad tops Billboard charts

A graduate of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Kenmore finds himself on top of the world this week -- or at least at the top of the Billboard Classical Album chart.

Dynamic Catholic's new Advent and Christmas CD, "O Emmanuel," sold 2,600 copies in its first week. Dynamic Catholic partnered with GRAMMY Award-winning pianist, conductor, and composer, J.J. Wright to bring O Emmanuel to life. Wright says the Billboard recognition is an incredible honor.

"I can't remember the last time a newly composed piece of sacred music made it to the top of the Billboard charts," says Wright, the St. Joseph's grad.

The 10-track album by Wright features the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble and the Notre Dame Children's Choir. O Emmanuel takes listeners to the heart of the holiday season through the harmonious blend of angelic children's voices, a jazz piano trio, adult vocal soloists and talented instrumentalists.

Using ancient traditions paired with a modern twist, the CD moves listeners directly into the drama of salvation history and the birth of Jesus by fusing the ancient texts of the "O Antiphons" with chant ("Hodie Christus natus est"), hymnody ("Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"), and jazz improvisation.

Recorded at the University of Notre Dame's DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, O Emmanuel was produced and edited by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Thomas Moore and engineered by GRAMMY Award-winning engineer Robert Friedrich of Five/Four Productions, Ltd.

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