Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Cheney parishioner’s recordings benefit cancer patients, Tsunami victims
Story and photo by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff
(From the April 7, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)
Lucille Canady (pictured, left) and her brother, Omar, have produced three recordings which benefit various causes; most recently, relief for victims of last December’s Tusanmi. (IR photo)
When it comes to music, Lucille Canady, 19, and her brother Omar, 22, are very talented. Lucille sings and plays guitar, Omar plays piano, and both are capable of writing beautiful compositions. And though they’re both incredibly talented, neither one is joining ranks with thousands of other young adult hopefuls at American Idol auditions. Instead, they have found a way to collaborate together and use their talent to help others.
The two first began writing music together in 2001, when they released a single track CD titled “All I Need.” That recording raised $8,000 to help the families of the victims of the 9/11 tragedy. The following year, they launched an ongoing campaign with the release of their second CD, “Fight for Me,” raising money to benefit Providence Cancer Center in Spokane.
Now they’re back, with the release of their third CD, “For You I Cry,” a single track dedicated to the children of the “Tsunami Generation.” All money and donations generated through the sale of the third CD will go to UNICEF to benefit the victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami in East Asia.
Lucille explained that each of the three CDs is a response to events that had a profound impact in her own life. The night before the 9/11 tragedy, she had an unusual dream that, in a strange way, was a foreshadowing of the events that occurred the following morning. She knew that God was calling her to take action, but was not sure what form her action should take. Her brother suggested taking a poem she had written and composing music to go with it, and in just a few weeks, the two high school students had a CD and a nationwide fundraising effort to benefit the families of the 9/11 victims.
After that first successful campaign, the two were unstoppable. “We found out that it worked,” said Lucille. “People seem to be very touched by music. And we found something that we enjoy doing together.”
So, a year later, when cancer began attacking many of her close family members and friends, Lucille knew that it was time, once again, to create a CD. And again, when the tsunami struck the day after Christmas 2004, Lucille’s heart went out to the victims and she and her brother, now a medical student at Wake Forrest, spent hours collaborating via phone and email to put together a CD for their benefit.
Lucille said that each CD has been an act of faith and the hand of God has been visible in their efforts. “The way things have come together – it just wouldn’t be possible without God,” she said.
She explained that her response to events – happy, sad, traumatic, or otherwise – is to write poetry and music, and to sing. “Music is my outlet,” she said. Lucille has also discovered that she is best able to communicate with God through her music. “The way I write my music – that’s my prayer.”
As a biology and pre-med student at Eastern Washington University, Lucille found she had access to a wide variety of resources to help her with the launch of the third CD. She was able to record the music in the university’s recording studio, and everyone from fraternity brotherhoods to the Catholic Newman Center wanted to contribute something to help. Since her brother was away at school and could not help with the actual recording, Lucille recruited Aaron Kiilau from the music department at the university to play violin and cello and back up her own vocals and guitar. “Everything came together so quickly,” she said, “and so many people wanted to help.”
Lucille and Omar’s contribution to each of the campaigns is costs associated with the recording, purchasing, copying and designing a case for each CD. “That’s our contribution,” she said. “That way, 100 percent of the money we make from the sale of the CD’s actually goes directly to the charity.”
Lucille said that though she and her brother hope the sales of “For You I Cry” will financially benefit the victims of the tsunami, they also want people who hear the music to remember the tragedy of Dec. 26 and remember that people in East Asia are still struggling to recover. “People forget so easily,” said Lucille. “Because it didn’t happen to them, a lot of people quickly forget about it. This is a reminder that we still need to be helping.”
Lucille’s family owns a restaurant on First Ave. in Cheney called the Artist Café. They serve a variety of sumptuous Filipino and Asian dishes in a funky and sophisticated environment. Among the artwork that lines the walls of the small dining room is a prominent display of laminated news clippings, fliers and photos from all of the Canady siblings’ charitable music endeavors. As Mrs. Canady bustles between the kitchen and the dining room, conversing with customers is her accented English, she never hesitates to promote her children’s work. “I am so proud of them,” she said as she described how hard Lucille and Omar worked each time they made a CD to make it successful.
And though her mother is very proud of her, Lucille herself is completely humble. “It’s hard to try to get people to buy this when it’s you that you’re selling,” she said. “But I know that the only way to make it work, to really raise money for the cause, is to put myself out there.”
Lucille described the incredible generosity of people who have bought the CD’s. “Little old ladies will buy three or four copies of the CD, and then I find out they don’t even have CD players,” she said with a laugh. “Lots of times people will buy the $5 CD and give me $20.”
(“For You I Cry” is available for sale in several locations throughout Cheney, Spokane and Liberty Lake. To find out where to purchase a copy, please call the Artist Café at (509) 235-6163. Any cash or check donations can be deposited at any Washington Mutual Bank under “For You I Cry” Tsunami Fund.)