I had one congressman come up to me, he was himself an ordained minister, and he said, "It's really important that you're here. It's important for people to have religious icons-just to know, just to know that religion or God or the spirit or something that is bigger than us is involved."
The Commons: I know you play guitar and you're something of a legend for the sing-alongs you lead. Have you had a chance to share that gift with the members of Congress?
Father Conroy: I don't play much anymore. I played a little sing-along at the Republican working retreat last January but they relegated me to a side room-and three members found their way and a few staffers. And they all had a great time and loved it to death, so they said, next year, we're not putting you in a side room.
The Commons: I've heard your set list reflects that Jesuit principle of accommodation, in that you are able to play songs that resonate with whatever demographic is in the room. You were telling me, for instance, about how you learned Jason Mraz and Train songs when you were working at Jesuit High School in Portland and realized those were the types of artists the students liked. How about for more of an all-ages audience-what are some of your standbys?
Father Conroy: "Brown Eyed Girl," "Build Me up, Buttercup," some Beatles songs and "Pretty Woman"-they have a good energy and most people can sing them. And if they don't know all the words, they can kind of fake it.
To learn more about Father Conroy, you can visit his profile.
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