30 years of “Cooneytoons”


Over 30 years of music together...

In 1984, after ten years or so as a “weekend warrior,” rehearsing and leading various choirs on Sunday while working full-time in the travel business, I had just started full-time music ministry as the director at St. Jerome Catholic Community in Phoenix. Paul Quinlan and Tom Kendzia gave me the opportunity to record some of my songs for North American Liturgy Resources, and I gratefully accepted, gathering and arranging some of the best material I had written since I started writing, in 1971.

It was Tom Kendzia who noticed what a stand-out voice Terry had. From the control room in the studio at NALR, he gave me his famous eyeball, and wagged a finger to have me come in for a private conference. “Are you going to have her sing anything else?” The choir was full of friends of mine, some of whom had come long distances to help make this record, just because they believed in my songs. “Well, I have a lot of friends out there. This may be our only opportunity; I was hoping to spread the wealth.” “You may have a lot of friends,” Tom replied, “but none of them sings like that one.” Thus, Terry Donohoo became the voice of “Cooneytoons” from the beginning.

In the fall of 1985, when starting liturgy classes at John Gallen’s newly founded Corpus Christi Center for Advanced Liturgical Study, I met the new music director of the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Gary Daigle, whose name I knew from his work with the Dameans. I was already a fan of the pre-Daigle Dameans (“Beginning Today,” “Song of Thanksgiving”) with their unabashedly Kingston-Trioesque guitar-driven folk sound. With the addition of Gary, his musical gifts, guitar and piano skills and ear for pop sound, they blew me away with their 1978 classic “Remember Your Love,” which lives in the pantheon of U.S. liturgical music with “Earthen Vessels,” “On Eagle’s Wings,” and “Ashes,” all of which appeared in the late 1970s. Gary and I hit it off right away, and immediately started misbehaving in class and collaborating in musical endeavors. By 1987’s “Mystery” collection for NALR, still produced by our great friend Tom Kendzia, Gary, Terry and I became a trio, concertizing and giving workshops from Hawaii to the England and Ireland. Everywhere we’ve gone since then, we share our faith through music, and our enthusiasm for helping assemblies find the singing voice of their faith, trying to help people understand the links between liturgy and life.

Today, grateful for the past, we hope that for many years to come

we will have the gift of writing and performing music that makes

church musicians stop and say, “Hey, I could play that.

I want to sing that in my church!”

“For all that has been, thanks. To all that will be, Yes.”

(Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings)

cooney • daigle • donohoo

Gary Daigle,

Theresa Donohoo,

Rory Cooney

2017 is the 30th anniversary of Mystery, our third recorded collection of liturgical music, and the 25th anniversary of Vision, our second collection with GIA Publications