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Robert Lepley - MacDougal Street NYC

       I began the first of my three careers playing organ in a 60s rock band performing gems such as Woolly Bully, Green Onions and Louie Louie. On Saturday mornings, still groggy from pumping out rock and roll on Friday nights, I taught piano lessons at a music store in my hometown of Lancaster, Ohio.

   Then, jazz set me on fire. Bird! Diz! Miles! Coltrane! Monk! Powell! I cut my teeth on a six-night-a-week trio gig in Columbus during my time at Ohio State. When Glen Miller's Orchestra and Bob Crosby's Bobcats came to town I copped those gigs as well.

   Another song from that era, Neil Young's (“Four Dead In) Ohio”, gave voice to the tragedy of the war in Vietnam and led to career number two as an activist and community organizer. I directed an anti-war organization, built coalitions dealing with race and poverty issues, developed a program to assist young men who wanted to leave violent gangs, and helped to close a nuclear reactor. Exciting days!

   Career three: 25 years as an ordained parish minister with the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ.  During the crack epidemic in Brooklyn in the 1980s, drug dealers across the street from my church killed two teenagers and I helped the neighbors on the block organize a campaign to drive the dealers out.This is what I thought ministers should do. This story appeared on the front page of the May 31, 1990 edition of the New York Times in an article written by Chris Hedges.  

   The struggle for peace and justice is dependent upon people of good will and compassion who are willing to work selflessly for the common good, for nonviolence, to respect all people, and to protect nature and our sacred earth.  

   MacDougal Street, NYC is my second recording. My first was Visions Within consisting of my vocal settings of Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems, recorded by the New York Voices and narrated by the actress Meryl Streep. I call it "Gregorian Chant Meets the New Millennium". Visions Within is available online at MSR Classics.

   I'm a lucky guy! I've loved my work. I love my wonderful wife Martha Helen Chamberlain, and we adore our awesome son Benford Chamberlain Lepley. Life is good. Hope you enjoy the music!

- Bob Lepley

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