A southern Ontario pro-life advocate, who has supported the cause in several ways over the years, is now moving his support into the musical sphere.
Peter Green is most well known in the pro-life community as the man who, for a number of years and for no cost, deejayed annual Campaign Life Coalition dinner-dances in Toronto. More recently, the St. Catharines, Ont. resident teamed with partner Jane Hoed to form a music group called Eagle Psalms, a branch of a larger ministry called Songseeds.
“We’re both pop and folk influenced,” Green said in a recent interview. “We love to play, and love songs that encourage and uplift, but still challenge us to view the world with the heart that God gives us, to open ourselves to be servants of God in the world.”
Green had spent most of his life in Toronto, and pursued a career path in music and theatre. After years of both performing and working backstage, he became a full-time musician in 1999, laying the foundations for the Eagle Psalms musical concept. He sings and plays guitar, keyboards, bass and flute.
Hoed has been a world traveller who spent time in Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Israel, Spain and Jamaica. In recent years, she has worked as a full-time artisan and craftsperson. She currently maintains a residence and store in Vineland, Ont. She contributes vocals, guitar, flute and percussion to Eagle Psalms.
Green and Hoed met when Green recorded some demos in late 2000. He was seeking new songs for the recordings to complement several he had already written.
“Jane was kind enough to allow me to come over and utilize some of her music by recording her,” he said. “When I finished the product of these demos, we sounded really good together. We felt there was a real blend in our voices and musical styles. So that’s when we decided to form a duet and continue on to complete an album.”
Green describes their musical style as “pop and folk influenced.” So far, they’ve taken their music into venues including prisons, youth shelters, street missions, prayer meetings and churches. “We really love to bring music to wherever we can … we love when people sing with us. We play our own music and we play a lot of old favourites, mostly from the old hymns that we’ve pulled out to try and encourage older people to sing with us. But even young people love things like Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art.”
Eagle Psalms’ performances have taken them throughout Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. They hope to penetrate into the U.S. Midwest later this year.
An interesting aspect of the Eagle Psalms group is its ecumenical nature – Green is a Catholic while Hoed comes from a non-Catholic background.
“A very encouraging part of what we try to bring forward is unity and understanding,” said Green. “Jane was not raised Catholic; in fact, she was very foreign to Catholicism. I was raised Catholic and continue to practise … One day, we were invited to Covenant House in Toronto (a relief mission) to play at the Mass there. It was Jane’s first experience of a Catholic Mass. Jane came away with a whole new perspective on Catholicism, and since then, has never shied from participating in Catholic ceremonies.”
Eagle Psalms’ potential to assist the Canadian pro-life movement also excites Green. “I’ve always had a heart for the pro-life movement of Canada,” he said. “Now as musicians, we want to offer some of our services back to support, endorse and encourage the pro-life movement.”
A couple of tracks on Eagle Psalms’ recent CD release Sail Away carry general pro-life themes. “The song Lord, Give Me Your Heart for the World is one that Jane first started writing in Kenya. She saw parents who would cripple their children in order to make them more lucrative beggars … When we finished that song, it was a real statement of wanting God’s heart for the world. That includes the pro-life situation – being pro-life isn’t about just saying ‘no’ to abortion. It’s also about supporting people who have some very tough decisions to make. We have to have God’s heart when we support them.”
The song Show the Lord Alive, meanwhile, is about making a statement that God still has a place in the public affairs of Canada. “One thing I realized is that the enemy, the devil, has pushed Catholics and Christians out of the public forum. We’ve been pushed out of government. … The Lord was getting pushed out of a lot of facets of our lives — schools, workplaces. The song is a celebration of the fact that God is alive. He is not a deity who exists in heaven somewhere and has no relevance to us.”
Eagle Psalms is courting interest from several record labels, and has plans to record a second CD that Green said may contain a wider range of musical flavours, including country. “Things are going well now on our own and we’re thankful for that. We’re truly blessed,” said Green.
As always, Eagle Psalms will remain committed to the pro-life cause, and to helping it in any way possible.
“Certainly, anyone in the pro-life movement can approach us if they need worship music or live music for any event,” said Green. “One of the things we have to do is pour more of our genuine and tangible support behind the pro-life movement because it’s a bitter battle.”