Brian Whaley is a singer/songwriter and music director at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Baltimore Maryland. He teaches music and recording two days a week at R.I.C.A., a state school for emotionally challenged teenagers. He is also a piano technician and a father of four.
Whaley was born in Annapolis, Maryland in 1956 to parents Richard Whaley, an oceanographer, and Elizabeth Whaley, a teacher and local actress. "My earliest memory of formal training was of my mother teaching me to sing harmony," recalls Whaley, the third of four children. "One day, in the back seat of our Rambler station wagon, it became crystal clear to me. I got it! I could hear it. I could feel that harmony!"
Music would become a permanent part of his life as his mother sang and played piano and his dad sang and played harmonica and banjo. All the children grew up singing and playing instruments. At the age of eight, Whaley began studying violin. It was a natural fit. His mother claims that he never hit a sour note. "He made beautiful music with the violin from the moment he began to play, and he still does", she says lovingly. He would go on to play in youth quartets, then become Concert Master of his junior high and high school orchestras.
At the age of ten, Whaley earned the roll of Oliver in Oliver Twist, the musical. He remembers how, even at a young age, audience members would cry during his rendition of 'Where is Love.' "There's power in singing. You can reach out with your voice and touch people's hearts," he says, remembering the 10-year-old Oliver. "I still strive for that connection in all the songs I write and sing today."
In High School, two defining things happened to Whaley's life and musical career. He took up the guitar and decided to enter the Catholic seminary to become a priest.
Whaley joined the Redemptorist Fathers at Mount Saint Alphonsus Seminary in Connecticut and began his studies. There became inspired to write songs of faith and inspiration. He learned to play upright bass for the school's folk group, and acted in several plays and musicals. After leaving the seminary Brian continued his education at Maryland's Loyola College. Receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, he sang and played violin, guitar, and piano in the college's liturgies. He also joined the Southern Rock group, the Lost Cowboy Band, singing lead vocals as well as playing electric violin, guitar, and keyboard.
After graduation Whaley moved to Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife and first child. where he played in local pubs to make ends meet. In 1981, he and his family moved back to Baltimore where he began working as the Folk Music director for Robert Twynham at The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. In 1983, he co-wrote and co-produced his first liturgical Album, Desert Rain. Balancing religious music with his love for Rock and Roll, he joined the progressive rock band Red Tape as lead singer/electric violinist. From that band he would move on to work with his sister, Karen and his friend, Gary Price, in a folk trio called Morning County Sheepshooter's Association. In 1994 Brian released his first Folk-Rock CD called From Where I'm Standing, which he produced and rccorded in his Whale Tale Sounds studio.
In 1986, Brian began his work at Our Lady of Fatima, directing the Adult, Children and Hand Bell choirs.. Composing for K-8 kids at the Church each Friday, he begain to create his latest album entitled Standing On The Rock.
Brian still pursues his eclectic musical interests, sharing his love for music with his wife Susan, his 7 year old daughter Grace, and his three older children; Lauren 28, Mark 26, and Anna 24.
|Playing violin at at his elementary school Christmas Program
|Performing as Oliver in "Oliver Twist"
|Passing on the music to his first child, Lauren
|Recording vocals on "Desert Rain"
|Leading students in song at Fatima School