My avocation is evangelization of my Christian faith through entertainment.  To that end, I have written six musical productions which explore different dramatic aspects of God.

This blog will occasionally excerpt some of these pieces.  In addition, I will talk about music generally simply because I love it.  I heard a saying once that stuck with me:  the world will be won by beauty.

For me, music is the ultimate artform, the ultimate expression of beauty.  From Bach to Puccini to Elton John, I’ll be talking about music that shapes the world.

Posted September 20, 2011

New Musical by Tom Coming Next Year

The John Paul II Musical
By Tom Quiner

To be performed throughout Des Moines in 2011
in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines.

Experience the drama and pageantry of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland and Iowa in 1979, his impact on Poland’s Solidarity movement, and miraculous escape from death at the hands of an assassin in this all new theatrical piece.

He was more than the Man of the Century.  He was truly the Pope of the People.


Posted April, 28th, 2010
This scene is excerpted from “A Living Heaven” as performed on February 28th at All Saints Catholic Church in Des Moines, Iowa.
Music by Phil Havens, Lyrics and Story by Tom Quiner

Videotaping and editing done by

April 19, 2010:

I had the pleasure of attending my seventh Elton John concert last Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Mr. John said that the last time he was in Des Moines was 1973 at the Iowa State Fair.  I was there.

The temperature was 98 degrees that day.  There were no reserved seats, so the crowd began swelling around the front gates about six hours before showtime.  Sweaty bodies were packed together under a relentless sun in anticipation of the mad dash we’d make for a good seat the second the doors opened.

What a miserable afternoon.

Someone was standing over my buddy’s girlfriend.  They dropped a bottle of Southern Comfort on her head, effectively ruining her Elton John concert experience.

My memory of the show back then was that it paled in comparison to the one I saw a few nights ago.  The State Fair gig felt rushed.  I don’t know if Elton played much more than 75 minutes compared to the nearly two and half hours the 63 year old Elton John gave us this time.

It’s safe to say there wasn’t a clunker in the set this year.  He played one new song, a song that will come out this fall that he recorded with 70 year old Leon Russell.  My group gave the new song mixed reviews.  What do you think?  Check it out here:

For me, the surprise hit of the evening was his rendition of “Sad Songs.”  I don’t recall ever hearing it in concert before.  He used a pounding honky tonk piano accompaniment that electrified the audience.  Here’s his performance of Sad Songs from 2006 to give you a feel for it:

Another crowd-pleaser:  “Crocodile Rock.”  He pulled a young boy out of the audience who helped Elton sing the “la la las.”  The audience responded with a primal roar of geriatric-laced la la las of their own.  What a grand night.

Posted May 4, 2010

Fanfares for the Stations of the Light


If you’re a Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Lutheran, you may be familiar with the Stations of the Cross.  Sometimes known as The Way, it is a devotion which commemorates the final hours of Jesus.  This devotion was started by St. Francis of Assisi and spread through the Catholic Church in the second millennium of Christianity.

You may not be familiar with the Stations of the Light, also known as The Way of the Light.  The Stations of the Light are a complement to the Stations of the Cross.  They were included in Pilgrim Prayers, the Official Vatican prayer book for the Jubilee Year 2000.  They reflect upon the rich resurrection tradition of Christianity as recounted in the final chapters of the four gospels.

Fourteen “stations” are identified in all:

1. Jesus Rises from the Dead

2. Women Come to the Tomb Encountering an Angel

3. Peter and John Visit the Tomb with Mary Magdalene

4. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

5. Mary Magdalene Proclaims His Rising to the Apostles

6. Jesus Appears on the Road to Emmaus

7. Jesus Gives the Disciples the Power to Forgive

8. Jesus Confirms the Faith of Thomas

9. Jesus Eats with the Disciples on Tiberias Shore

10. Jesus Forgives Peter and Commissions Him

11. Jesus Gives the Great Commission to the Disciples

12. Jesus Ascends into Heaven

13. Mary and the Disciples Keep Vigil for the Spirit’s Advent

14. Jesus Sends the Holy Spirit

When I think of the resurrection, I think elation, I think hope, I think triumph!

I always think in terms of music as I meet life.  So as I contemplated the Stations of the Light, the musical form that immediately came to mind was the fanfare.  A fanfare is a short musical piece that typically features brass instruments.

To that aim, I set out to compose a fanfare for each of the Stations of the Light.  I approached my friend, Bob Weast, and asked if he’d like to collaborate on the project with me.  He immediately said yes.  Bob is a retired Professor of Brass Instruments from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.  He is also a member of the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame.

Here’s how we worked:  I wrote a piano “foundation” for each fanfare and passed it on to Bob.  Using my piano accompaniment, Bob wrote complementary brass parts for three trumpets and one trombone.  Most melodies you’ll enjoy in these fanfares flow from Bob’s pen.  He handed his work back to me, and I wrote some choir texture parts on a number of the fanfares.

We recorded the fanfares at Holy Trinity Catholic Church featuring Bob Weast, Steve Day, and Audrey Husted on trumpets; Cecil Stanley on trombone; and Janice Weast on piano.  Choir texture was added by the Holy Trinity All-Parish Choir.  Rick Condon was the engineer.

We went into Rick’s studio and recorded the corresponding gospel account for each fanfare.  Narrators include Tim Stacy, Mary Mahoney, Paula Lawson, Rick Condon, and me, Tom Quiner.

The video above was produced by Breakthrough Marketing, Inc (  It features the first “Station,” Jesus rises from the dead.


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