Hi Rich Fans,
To answer the many questions I've received about the "Canticle of the Plains," I've compiled this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
Q: What is the "Canticle Of The Plains"?
A: Several years ago Rich and Beaker decided to write a musical based on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, except that they changed his name to Frank (Rich quips in jest, that's so the homophobes won't freak out about a guy named Francis). It takes place in the Midwest during the nineteenth century as if he was a cowboy. Rich used this time frame to tie the story in with the Navajo Indian Nation.
Q: Is there a recording? Updated June 02, 1997
A: Yes. Rich, Mitch McVicker, and a few other supporting artists began recording the music of the Canticle in May of 1996, and finished up in the fall of '96. It was recorded at Roswell East which is run by Mark Robertson (Ragamuffin/This Train bass player/producer) and Jordan Richter (This Train guitar player/engineer). Other supporting artists shared lead vocal duties with Mitch McVicker on Canticle, and include Kevin Smith and Michael Tate of DC Talk and Leigh Bingham-Nash of Sixpence None The Richer. See the credits below for a complete list.
Q: Does Rich sing or play on the recording?
A: Rich does not play on the recording, but did sing some background vocals, co-wrote the music with Beaker and Mitch McVicker and co-produced the recording with Mark Robertson. (I know it says in the liner notes that Rich played some guitar, but the background-vocals-only info comes from Mitch and Mark.)
Q: Who is Mitch McVicker and how does he tie into the Canticle? Updated June 21, 1998
A: Mitch was a classmate of Rich's at Friend's University, and when they first met, Rich went home and told Beaker, "I've just met Frank." (As mentioned, Frank is the fictional central character in the Canticle, based on Saint Francis of Assisi). When Rich met Mitch, he was amazed at how much like St Francis of Assisi (and therefore like Frank) he was. Rich didn't even know at the time they met that Mitch was a guitar player/singer/songwriter. All he knew was he was a student who liked to play basketball. Mitch joined the Brother's Keeper tour as a backup singer, and the rest is history.
Updated November 27, 1997 - Though critically wounded, Mitch survived the auto accident that took Rich's life on September 19, 1997. After weeks in intensive care at St Francis hospital in Peoria, IL Mitch was transfered to a rehab hospital in Topeka, KS, and since has been discharged to out-patient therapy while staying at his parent's home. By the grace of God, he continues to make improvements, but prayers are still coveted for his recovery, and for his family as they care for him.
Updated June 21, 1998 - In the weeks before the accident, plans were being made to start a Mitch McVicker Web Page and Mailing List. I'm happy to say those plans have finally come to fruition. The address for Mitch's web page is http://www.MitchMcVicker.com. There you will find information on Mitch's new solo recording (including how and where to buy it), dates for upcoming performances (yes, Praise God, Mitch is performing again), and instructions on joining the mailing list.
Q: How can I get a copy of the Canticle CD? Updated May 03, 2018
A: The independent release of the Canticle CD, after being out of stock for a long while, is now available again. The Kid Brothers Products Page is the recommended resource.
Q: Are there any promotional items? Updated May 03, 2018
A: Kid Brothers had given the Better Book Room an inventory of Canticle T-shirts which ran out rather soon. There were also T-shirts available during the Legacy Arts and Music Festivals, but none are currently available (other than possibly on eBay, etc).
Q: Is this an official release or is this a pre-release or promotional-release only for the concerts? Updated June 21, 1998
A: The copy that was sold at concerts during the Summer '97 Tour, but no longer available (pictured below) is a pre-release.
For you collectors, there are actually three versions of the Canticle CD available. One is the pre-release already mentioned, but there are two versions of the official independent release. The only difference between the two is the contact information on the bottom of the back of the CD case. The first edition contains contact info for Crucible Productions, and the second edition (which came out in Aug '97, after Rich changed management), contains contact info for Kid Brothers.
Q: Will there be any releases to the radio? Updated March 15, 1997
A: "Heaven Is Waiting" was the first single released in the fall of '97, and it cracked the top 20 on many CCM radio stations within weeks. "There You Are" was released as a single to radio on March 11, 1998.
Q: Who are the Kid Brothers of St. Frank? Updated June 21, 1998
A: Rich and Beaker started the "Kid Brothers of St Frank" several years ago. (When I bought my copy of Winds Of Heaven, Stuff Of Earth in 1988 at a concert at his church here in Wichita, checks were to be made out to "Kid Brothers of St Frank", so it's been around at least that long.) It is an "order" for people, including themselves, who are too chicken to be real Catholics or Monks. Later, Rich organized a "board of elders", so to speak, to run his ministry which became the official Kid Brothers. I supposed all the players and singers on Canticle are honorary members since it says on the CD "by the Kid Brothers of St Frank."
Updated June 21, 1998 - After Rich passed, Kid Brothers organized a new foundation to further the ministry that Rich always wanted primarily on the reservation. This foundation took the name The Legacy, and was headed up by Rich's brother, David Mullins. At this writing (21 Jun 98), David and his wife and kids are on their way to Wichita, leaving their home in West Virginia, as well as David leaving the pulpit ministry, moving here to run the operations from Wichita. For more info, see an interview by Rhonda Miskowski at http://www.kidbrothers.net/interviews/dave/bro.html. For now the address remains the same, but stay tuned to the RichMailList for updated info as the foundation is developed.
Updated May 02, 2002 - After several years of working with The Legacy and Alyssa Loukota, David Mullins made the difficult decision to step down as Executive Director to expand his ministry and develop a new speaking career. While continuing to support The Legacy, David and Robin Mullis will pursue this new direction for Kid Brothers of St Frank separate from The Legacy. Tammy Pruitt, formerly the Native Ministry Director of the Legacy and Alyssa will co-direct The Legacy.
Q: Are there performances of the musical? Updated May 30, 2001
A: In 1997 (before the accident), the musical, with music and speaking parts, was performed on various occasions at colleges with students playing the parts. Since then the Canticle performances were suspended temporarily while the estate was being settled.
The last public performances were part of the Legacy Arts and Music Festival 1999, on August 11-13, 1999; co-produced by the Legacy and Tapestry Performing Arts. See the scrapbook on the Festival/Canticle Page.
Check out the Review/Interview Page for the Canticle performance at Friends University.
Q: Will the musical be performed with any of the performers on the CD, or an official Canticle Tour? Updated November 27, 1997
A: For the most part, Rich had no "part" in any of the Canticle performances other than composer and musician, except that he did have a "cameo" appearance in the performance at Cornerstone 97. Mitch played the part of Frank in all early performances, with more performances scheduled, but that obviously changed after the accident. See the previous question for other performance details.
Q: Can I get a copy of the script to read personally, or to produce/direct a performance in our local church/theatre? Updated February 28, 2009
A: Use of the Canticle project, specifically releasing it for peronal use or public production (including in churches), is currently not available. Questions regarding this issue should be directed to Kid Brothers.
Q: Will there be a video or film of the musical?
A: Currently there are no plans for a live DVD of performances or a live production.
(Click on picture to see larger version of this extremely rare pre-release cover)
Produced by: Rich Mullins and Mark Robertson
Recorded at Roswell East
Engineered by Jordan Richter
Booking: The William Morris Agency
For promotional information contact Kid Brothers of St Frank
Proceeds of the sale of this CD will go to Compassion USA Missions
Published & Copyright 1997 Shhh.....
Manufactured and distributed by Ragamuffin Records
Mark Robertson - bass and co-producer
Billy Crockett - acoustic guitar
Kenny Greenberg - electric and acoustic guitar
Kyle Woodring - drums, except on "Buenos Noches from Nacogdoches"
Mark Nash - drums on "Buenos Noches from Nacogdoches"
Chris Mosher - keyboards
Rich Mullins - background vocals
All other vocalists listed below.
Track List (lead vocalist)
1) There You Are (Mitch McVicker)
2) Cry for Freedom (Michael Tait)
3) If I Could Make It Work (Kevin Smith)
4) In Your Hands (Leigh Bingham-Nash)
5) Heaven is Waiting (Mitch McVicker)
6) Things Even Angels (Mitch McVicker)
7) Buenos Noches from Nacogdoches (Leigh Bingham-Nash)
8) Love's as Strong (Kevin Smith)
9) O My Lord (Michael Tait)
10) You Are All (Mitch McVicker)
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Transcript of interview with Rich Mullins and Mitch McVicker
as part of the World Premier of the Canticle CD on Light 99 FM with Bob Michaels.
Discography Page for the Canticle on Calling Out Your Name (including lyrics and sound clips)
Review/Interview Page for the October 1997 Canticle performance at Friends University
LegacyFest Scrapbook Page for the August 1999 Canticle performance, part of the LegacyFest 1999
Mitch McVicker Web Page