By MORGAN MANNS
For the courier
Anthony Gallina has been waiting for the day he would hold his own published work in his hands. And at the beginning of April, that dream became a reality.
The pastoral associate of music and ministry at St. Wendelin Catholic Church celebrated his first published musical piece April 4.
Titled “God, Who at the Font Once Named Us,” Gallina said the piece is set to Herman Stuempfle’s 5-verse text for “Congregation,” SATB choir, organ and two trumpets in B-flat. The nearly four-minute piece begins with the standard harmonization of the well-known hymn tune. The harmonization develops in verse 3, the subsequent verses add the trumpets, and the piece ends with a vocal descent and choral coda.
“It’s a text that’s very baptismal in nature, talking about how when you’re baptized, you’re born into the body and the life of Christ,” he said of Stuempfle’s text, which was written in the late 1990s. “I used a very common hymn tune everyone knows pretty well and put a new spin on it.”
He created the Concertato on St. Thomas in 2015 as part of a recital he had to present for his master’s program in church music and liturgy. “God, Who at the Font Once Named Us” was the recital’s opening hymn.
In the year leading up to his recital, Gallina and his wife, Keight, had their first child baptized and were expecting their second.
“Having experienced her baptism, I wanted to focus on God’s use of water throughout salvation history,” Gallina explained. “I started looking through all of these texts and music that focused on water, and I thought (Stuempfle’s text) was perfect for my recital.”
While Gallina sometimes hears a melody and adds the harmonies and instruments, he said other times he works in reverse, starting with the instruments and building the piece around them.
Even after his April 2016 debut of “God, Who at the Font Once Named Us,” he continued to make some final edits. He submitted the piece — along with about five others — for publication to World Library Publications in Chicago in April 2016. In September of that year, he received word it would be published.
“I was extremely joyful to hear that I had made it through,” he said. “The reality of it is — I understand this on the business side of things — if a company doesn’t believe they can sell it, they aren’t going to publish it. You can write the most beautiful work or write a book or paint a painting, but if someone doesn’t think they can sell it, then they won’t publish it. You just have to hope that at the time that you write it and the time you submit it, it’s something they might be looking for.”
Gallina had submitted many other pieces for publication prior to this piece, as well as about five others with this piece, that were rejected. And after receiving news that one piece would be published, it took almost two and a half years until the actual publication.
“When I finally was able to hold a copy of it, the feeling was very surreal,” he said, explaining how grateful he is for his family, friends, teachers, professors, colleagues and others who helped him along the way. “Without their support and guidance, I would not be the composer I am today.”
He also expressed gratitude toward the St. Wendelin and greater Fostoria communities for their support and encouragement throughout the process.
Gallina has worked at St. Wendelin Catholic Church for nine years. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Bowling Green State University and his master of arts in music with a concentration on church music and liturgy with a composition emphasis from Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana.
He has written several pieces inspired by something that happened in his life, and other pieces for a special occasion, such as the recent rededication of the St. Wendelin church. He’s written solo instrument pieces and symphony orchestra pieces — and everything in between.
He believes his first publication will pave the way and make it easier to get future pieces published, now that his name is in the catalog.
“I love writing music and I definitely hope to have more pieces published,” Gallina said. “I have many that can be sent off, I just need to make some time and sit down to fine-tune them some more so I can send them off.”
“God, Who at the Font Once Named Us” is available online at http://www.wlp.jspaluch.com/18176.htm for $1.95. Sample pages and a recording are also available on the website.
Gallina said the piece can be used throughout the church year, especially days where the Scriptures are baptismal, and on festive days where sacraments such as confirmation or ordinations are celebrated.