Cathy Oakes

Columbia, TN, UNITED STATES

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About Cathy Oakes:

Cathy began piano lessons at the age of six, but quickly got bored. Her parents sold the piano when her mother found her lying on the piano stool trying to play with her toes! She found her love for music through marching band and high school choir and began to seriously study piano. She enrolled in the music program at West Virginia Wesleyan College, a small private college in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. There she studied piano, voice, music theory and history and choral conducting. She holds a bachelor's degree in music with an applied major in piano. After two years of trying to decide whether to major in piano or voice, she finally chose piano. Her professor said that she didn’t really choose, she simply “decided to sing on the piano.” Her melodic style continues to sing through her compositions.

Cathy has spent over 20 years in music ministry and has taught piano and voice for over 30 years. She serves as the Vice President and Director of Artist Relations at Enlightened Piano Radio, where she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for music and service to the arts in 2017. Mrs. Oakes received the Composer of the Year Award at the 2019 MPS Awards in Nashville, TN. She composes and records her original music and has traveled nation-wide performing in various venues including Carnegie Hall (October 2015), Carnival Cruise Lines (2016), The Grand Ole Opry (2017), arts centers, piano halls, homes, churches, schools and opera houses. She has found her music voice and continues to compose and to be inspired by the beautiful sounds of nature, classical music and the music of many of her fellow piano artists.

Her works include Like a Song (June 2012), which rose to #21 on the Zone Music Reporter chart, Let There Be Joy (October 2012), which was nominated for Holiday Album of the Year at SoloPiano.com and To See You Again (September 2013), which won the Best Solo Piano Album at the Enlightened Piano Radio Awards in 2016 and was a final qualifier for the 2015 ZMR Best Album – Solo Piano Award, On the Other Side (September 27, 2018). Which won the Best Piano with Instrumentation Award at the Enlightened Piano Radio Awards in 2019, A Heritage of Faith (April 2019) and her newest CD, Healing Hands, which was released on October 15, 2019. Her music can be heard on Pandora, Spotify, Soundscapes, Sirius Radio, iTunes, Enlightened Piano Radio , One World Music Radio, River of Calm, Whisperings Solo Piano Radio, Audiosyncracy and many other digital and terrestrial stations.

Albums


Healing Hands
2019, New Age
ReviewSpotify

A Heritage of Faith
2019, New Age
ReviewSpotify

On The Other Side
2018,
ReviewSpotify

From This Day
2015, Wedding
Spotify

To See You Again
2013,
Spotify

Like a Song
2012,
Spotify

Let There Be Joy
2012, Christmas
Spotify

“Healing Hands” reviewed by Pam Asberry

Orchestrated by Doug Hammer
 
Cathy Oakes’ latest release, “Healing Hands,” is dedicated to the team of medical professionals who cared for her during her journey through breast cancer. Arguably her most intimate and personal collection to date, Cathy created this music to minister to other women who will follow her down this difficult path. Wonderfully melodic, rich with expression, and masterfully performed and orchestrated, the tracks on this album tell a powerful story and succeed in portraying the myriad emotions that accompanied her cancer diagnosis and treatment.
 
The album opens with “The Threshold,” written the morning Cathy went in for surgery. There are elements of disbelief and sorrow as well as an acceptance of whatever the outcome might be. “Healing Hands” is dedicated to Dr. John Brown and Jennifer Konke of Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tennessee. Its sweet, simple melody expresses an almost childlike innocence and trust in the work of these two medical professionals. “Letting Go” was written in the wee hours of the morning when Cathy was forced to acknowledge how little control she had over the situation she found herself in. It is a somber yet hopeful meditation. Cathy’s “Blanket of Solitude” throughout her journey was God, her Bible and the hymns of her childhood; the music is rich and warm and conveys a powerful sense of peace and well-being, like being wrapped in a soft quilt with a cup of hot tea, alone yet not lonely. With melodic ideas rapidly rising and falling, “Wings of Change,” vacillates between melancholy and euphoria, illustrating that although change is an inevitable part of life we get to choose whether we will resist them and struggle or embrace them and soar. “The Darkest Hour” put me in mind of a Chopin nocturne and is probably my favorite track on the album (although it is almost impossible to choose!)
 
“A Silent Prayer” asks the age old question “Why me?” and is answered by “Grateful,” a simple expression of gratitude to everyone who supported Cathy through her darkest days. “A Fragile Grasp” is questioning and tenuous and ends on a somber note, but positivity returns with “Anchor of Hope” and “Thankfulness” – a positively soaring expression of gratefulness accompanied by what might be an angel choir! The final track on the album, “Blessed Journey,” brings the album to an uplifting conclusion, reflecting on a situation that has been one of life’s ultimate challenging yet acknowledging the strength and wisdom that have resulted from facing it head-on.
 
Congratulations to Cathy Oakes on another magnificent release! Very highly recommended!


“A Heritage of Faith” reviewed by Pam Asberry

“Cathy Oakes’ fifth album, “A Heritage of Faith,” is her first all-hymns recording. Comprised of sixteen original solo piano arrangements with orchestrations that gracefully complement the piano, this music is perfect for a relaxing Sunday afternoon or anytime. A veteran of music ministry and a pastor herself, Oakes obviously knows this music inside and out and her affinity for it is apparent. There is nothing in these arrangements to offend the traditionalist, yet each reflects Oakes’ unique style; her affection for these beloved hymns is apparent in her tenderhearted interpretations. Oakes’ renderings of the “old standards” will stand up to repeated hearings and offer encouragement and inspiration to all who listen.
 
The album opens with the majestic and flowing “Hymn for Peace,” a prayer for the United States. “From This Day” was composed for Oakes’ oldest son Michael and his wife Kristin to celebrate their marriage. With its lyrical melody and dramatic key change altering the color and tone of the piece, this one perfectly captures both the joy and solemnity of a wedding day. “Echoes of Time” is a musical portrayal of the most precious and memorable moments of a lifetime, both happy and sad, with rapid shifts between major and minor keys, low notes and high, flitting about as thoughts so often do. “Home with Annie” was written in memory of Oakes’ cousin Bob Shingleton and his wife Annie, its poignant piano melody conversing with the oboe in a song of love.
 
Each and every hymn on this album is lovely, but I do have a few personal favorites. The Thanksgiving song “We Gather Together” ties to “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” with surprising rhythmic twists. “In the Garden” and “Sweet Hour of Prayer” are peaceful and meditative. “Blessed Assurance” and “He Hideth My Soul” begin quietly but build to a glory-filled finish. “It Is Well with My Soul” combines with “Be Still My Soul” in a moving and awe-inspiring way, and the concluding track, “Hymn of Thanks” (completely improvised!) is similarly powerful and uplifting.
 
This album is sure to become a favorite among people of faith everywhere. Recommended!


“On The Other Side” reviewed by Pam Asberry

“On the Other Side” is composer and solo pianist Cathy Oakes’ fourth release and her first venture into the world of orchestration. Five years in the making, it is imbued with all the emotion, passion and reverence born of the myriad of life experiences that took place over the course of that time. It is, in a word, spectacular.
 
The album opens with the majestic and flowing “Hymn for Peace,” a prayer for the United States. “From This Day” was composed for Oakes’ oldest son Michael and his wife Kristin to celebrate their marriage. With its lyrical melody and dramatic key change altering the color and tone of the piece, this one perfectly captures both the joy and solemnity of a wedding day. “Echoes of Time” is a musical portrayal of the most precious and memorable moments of a lifetime, both happy and sad, with rapid shifts between major and minor keys, low notes and high, flitting about as thoughts so often do. “Home with Annie” was written in memory of Oakes’ cousin Bob Shingleton and his wife Annie, its poignant piano melody conversing with the oboe in a song of love.
 
The merry “Kessia’s Waltz” was composed for Oakes’ granddaughter Kessia and put me in mind of a carousel ride. “Puddle Dance” was inspired by Oakes’ experience watching a friend teach his toddler granddaughter how to jump in puddles. This one is a favorite and sounds like so much fun to play! It perfectly captures the innocence and delight of one of the simple pleasures of childhood and made me want to get outside and stomp in a few puddles myself! The epic and cinematic “Flight of a Princess “ was written for Oakes’ youngest child pursuing her dreams as a real-life princess at a theme park in Florida and is another favorite. “Lullaby from Afar” is dedicated to the women who never have the opportunity to hold their babies. Its pure melody sings like a mother’s voice over a gently rocking left hand accompaniment and brought tears to my eyes.
 
“Just Us” is an improvisation written for Oakes’ husband, Buddy, as a valentine gift and musically summarizes ups and downs of a love affair that has survived life’s challenges with triumph. The beautiful “Midnight Tide” ebbs and flows like the memories and regrets during the wee hours of the morning. The theme for “Sienna’s Dream” was composed by Oakes’ then nine-year old granddaughter Sienna during a holiday visit and skillfully developed into a memorable composition. I look forward to future collaborations between these two generations! The tender “Ripples on the Water” reminded me of the way “everything affects everything” and the impossibility of measuring how much impact our behavior has on the lives of others.
 
“Remnant Tears” refers to the tears of joy and sorrow that catch us unawares long after initial stages of grief have passed; the music reflects both sorrow and acceptance. “Heal Me” was composed as Oakes recovered from a serious illness and expresses both questioning and yearning. “Beloved Promise” is dedicated to Oakes’ son David. Graceful and affectionate, it is an expression of his steadfast nature. “Be Still My Soul” reflects Oakes’ delightful personality as an artist while remaining absolutely faithful to the original hymn. The title track, “On the Other Side,” written as Oakes processed her grief over her mother’s death, conveys both sorrow and hope; it is both virtuosic and profoundly moving.
 
“On the Other Side” is an amazing musical journey. Arguably Cathy Oakes’ finest album to date, I give it my highest recommendation.