Acclaimed musician to perform at St. Agnes

Acclaimed musician to perform at St. Agnes by David Lias Lynn Cooper loved to entertain her friends when she was a little kid.

"I used to give performances for the neighbor kids using our picnic table as my stage," she said.

Today, her musical talents are in demand in a far greater area than her old neighborhood. Cooper, of Pella, IA, has become a nationally acclaimed Christian recording artist, thanks to both talent and hard work.

She will perform a concert of sacred music 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Vermillion.

Because of its timing � just three days after the one year anniversary of the terrorists attacks on the East Coast, her performance will be a bit different from normal, Cooper said.

"Since Sept. 11, I've probably been more bold in talking then I've been in the past. Just like everybody, I was stunned, and then

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I went through the angry phase," she said. "All of that is very normal for us. The world has gotten so small, and we need to learn to love. I comes through our actions, it comes through us speaking boldly for our beliefs and our faith."

Cooper began performing and writing her own songs about nine years ago, but couldn't devote all of her time to music.

"I really couldn't make a living at first just with my music, so I worked as a nurse part-time," she said.

After three years of nursing, she found herself being drawn back to music, especially at her church.

"This really stirred in me after I became music director at my church, and realizing that not all of the songs fit into the church service," Cooper said. "I would end up writing songs for the service, and I discovered it was really fun."

She said she's become more familiar with the Bible, because she would base many of her songs on the passages that would be read at the church services.

"I then decided to try to sing in other churches, and people starting asking about it, and it just started snowballing from there," Cooper said.

She's been touring across the United States for about three weeks each month, and has found time for a two week tour in Australia. This summer, she traveled to Canada, to sing at World Youth Day in Toronto.

Cooper is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, but performs in parishes of all denominations.

"I minister wherever the door is open. That's a real plus, because then anybody can come and feel comfortable," she said. "We just talk about Jesus and prayer life and very basic things about salvation."

People who attend Saturday's performance in Vermillion can expect something that's "in between a concert and a worship time. People won't know what to expect unless they've been to other Christian concerts. I will sing songs and I will tell personal stories that will relate the songs to the audience. We will laugh, and I don't think I've had one where somebody hasn't wished they've brought Kleenex.

"We go through a lot of emotions, and I can guarantee the audience won't leave unchanged," she said. "They will come out of it feeling inspired and feeling pumped up."

Cooper's musical adventures have turned into a full time ministry, and she couldn't be happier.

"I actually have my own record company. I love it, because I love being in the control seat, to say what I'm going to minister instead of being told what I have to do," she said.

Cooper has released four recordings and has just finished work on a new album. Her music consistently has been in the top 10 at the New Christian Music Network, and has been featured on several national radio shows.

Her husband, Mark, travels with her and operates her sound system. They have two children, Riley and Lauren.

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