Praise the Lord in song

6 December 2013 - By

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

I’d been following the progress of Fernando Varela and the group Forte on America’s Got Talent. They were eventually eliminated. What struck me most is the fact that popularity and fame were secondary to faith for Fernando. The stories in his local newspaper highlighted his work for the Lord. The Polish National Catholic Church supports and rewards those who endeavor to praise the Lord through music. Through Fernando’s work may many come to know and praise the Lord in music.

From the Ocala Star Banner: ‘America’s Got Talent’ star back at Belleview church

The man with the big voice was back at his little Belleview church on Sunday, wowing the faithful who packed the pews at St. Paul National Catholic Church to hear the talent they knew well before a contest introduced him to the world.

Fernando Varela returned to St. Paul, where he’s served as music director for the past four years, for the first time since last month’s near miss in the finals of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

At numerous points during a Mass that stretched for almost two hours, Varela was applauded by St. Paul’s appreciative parishioners, who clearly reveled in the outcome of the classic local-boy-makes-good tale.

“Fernando raises the roof,” said Barbara Field, a resident of The Villages who was a parishioner at St. Paul’s when Varela started there.

Field said she regularly attends another church because it better accommodated her schedule, but periodically comes back to St. Paul. On Sunday, she went there — for the second of two services she went to — with her neighbor, Karen Castle, specifically so they could listen to Varela.

“I just don’t see how he came in fourth,” Field said.

Varela, as part of an operatic trio of tenors called Forte, was one of six acts that made the show’s finale in September.

Forte was the third one eliminated that night by the audience vote.

Still, the finish was strong enough to land Varela and his partners in Forte — Josh Page and Sean Panikkar — a recording deal with Columbia Records and shows at Carnegie Hall and the Tropicana casino resort in Las Vegas.

The Tropicana’s website is already billing the group’s appearance there at the end of December.

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