I wrote Ave Maria in October 2015. The melody of the first two lines came to me quickly, and I developed the structure from there.
I wanted to release the track, along with a video, during this centenary year of the Fatima apparitions. So in the spring of 2017 I arranged the choral and orchestral parts, recording the audio with my band, plus members of the German group Adonai Music.
My aim in the video was to depict something of the real lives of Mary and Jesus, hidden beneath the frail representations we find of them in sculpture. I feel satisfied noticing that every statue seen in the video has some flaw – chips and chunks missing, scratches, cracks, bubbles of paint, cobwebs… These imperfections point me to the transient nature of this earthly life, and hint at my promised future glory of being taken into the heart of God in communion with saints and angels in heaven one day.
In late September 2017 my father passed away after a three-year battle with cancer. I played him a basic mix of the track less than two weeks before he died (which he said was “marvellous”!); that was the last day we communicated with one another verbally.
The same day I went on a personal retreat, where I captured the footage in front of the lake, as well as the outdoor Sacred Heart statue. The other footage of the statues, and a live performance, was captured during this year’s summer tour with my band – in Spain and Germany – and in some churches in London. The final footage was captured in my parish of St Antony of Padua, Forest Gate (London), on what turned out to be only one day before Dad died.
A year earlier, I had shared the song live for my family at my Mum’s sixtieth birthday party, dedicating it to her as a birthday present, in recognition of the goodness of her human motherhood alongside Mary’s spiritual motherhood of me.
The white rosary in the video was given to me in Poland the same day that we had a car accident coming home off tour. Both vehicles were written off, but miraculously, no one was hurt, given the speed, impact and damage. Amongst the wreckage of our equipment and merchandise, underneath a shattered plastic box, we found a small miraculous medal on the floor, which we had no idea was in the van. Since then my sense of the power of Mary’s intercession and protection has been renewed. One of my Dad’s favourite prayers was the rosary, which I pray daily myself, and his funeral was on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
I’m so pleased and grateful to be sharing this latest creative project publicly at what feels like a most appropriate and significant time for me. I hope that as people hear the song and watch the video they will be touched and inspired, drawn closer to Jesus (which is always Mary’s aim, to lead us to the heart of her Son), and strengthened to persevere through daily battles and struggles which all of us must face as we journey through this “vale of tears”.
Edwin Fawcett, December 2017