Fort Bend Co. singer-songwriter Danielle Noonan lifts her voice of faith along the way

November 12, 2019

Danielle Noonan, a Catholic singer-songwriter and parishioner at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Missouri City, will be playing the 2019 FaithFest in Conroe on Nov. 25. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Noonan.)

ROSHARON — As a young girl, Danielle Noonan found peace sitting on the piano bench with her hands flowing over the black-and-white keys. 

The family upright piano was always a “refuge” and a place for “peaceful production.” Every visit to the piano brought the self-taught pianist something new each time. 

Reared in east Texas, Noonan has country music roots: she got her live music performance starts playing at the many rodeo circuits near her town. But the voices of Edie Brickell, Sheryl Crow, Joan Baez and Patti Smith were also “big influences” on her music. 

“You would be a great country singer,” she was often told after singing guitar-in-hand before the rodeo contests. In high school, a classmate’s father owned the local rodeo arena, a friendship that helped set the direction for Noonan’s summer schedules: driving out to the rodeo, then Sundays and Wednesdays were for church.

Always striving for unity

Growing up where the Bible Belt tightens up in east Texas, Noonan said she had a lot of non-Catholic friends.

She spent much of her youth trying to convince these non-Catholics that she “was Christian and that I did love Jesus and I was going to meet them in heaven one day,” she said. “I always sort of strive for this sense of unity because I could feel the disunity so deeply growing up.”

These conversations with Protestant friends swelled into full-fledged efforts she’s now passionate about as a musician and worship leader. She’d go to other churches and experience their worship, then also go to Mass, which she still does now as a worship leader for a Baptist church in Fort Bend County. Noonan regularly tours the country playing at Catholic youth conferences and events.

Her music works to move the worship in a corporate setting that she experienced then, which connected Catholics and Protestants to give the two faith groups another chance to connect again.

Noonan, a parishioner with husband Chris and her three sons at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Missouri City, can still play on the same piano she grew up playing some three decades ago, now housed in her home. It’s where she wrote songs for “Your Love,” her latest EP released in March earlier this year.

“It was this constant place of outpouring of the Holy Spirit but also outpouring of my heart as I sat at the same piano that I sat at 30 years ago,” she said. “Your Love” is “very much a worship-focused EP.” The music is more singable in a corporate, or communal and group, setting.

“It really came from just sitting down at the piano and having my own private worship session with God over and over, because it was something that I really just needed for my own heart,” she said.

Before focusing on communal worship music with piano and a guitar, Noonan’s music was at first a storyteller’s journey, a reach back to the folk and country music that influenced her youth. Now her music is “surrounded by the Gospel and the vision of Christ,” she said.

“As you get older, you start to really understand your passion and your gifts and begin to hone in on focusing on what you’re good at, and for me, that’s leading worship,” she said. “Transitioning from leading worship in churches and creating worship music, you have to really be in a good head space and the right place of God to transfer that into corporate worship setting.”

A place for women to lead creatively

Noonan said for most of her life, she didn’t have anyone, especially women, to show her the possibilities of life’s choices, or especially how to use gifts and talents in service of the Church.
“No one was really doing it,” she said.

Now, she sees a new “revival” in arts, music and worship full of “fantastic artists” and “gifts within the Church that we have a responsibility to mentor and give life into. And no one better to do that but women who give life in and of themselves. (Women) definitely have an important role in keeping this new revival fresh and (keeping it) sustainable for the next generations.”

This renewed effort of music in the Church is still new to people, she said. Some people are confused by her efforts, asking: “What do you do? What is your value within the Church?”

She finds a difference between the worship leader, who seeks to be anointed to draw people to the Holy Spirit and Jesus, and a music director. But now within this “revival,” Noonan said there’s a space for her and others like her, and their music.

In her music, she hopes people hear the “authenticity” of her heart and that it’s clear that God “truly love” everyone.

“So many times we forget that God loves us because we’re us, not because we have to meet a certain mark before God loves us again,” she said. “I want my music to be a constant reminder of that no matter where are we are in the walk with Him, He still loves us more than we could ever imagine.”

Noonan set to play Conroe’s FaithFest

Noonan said she’s ready to play for FaithFest alongside four-time Grammy nominee Matthew West, songwriter and worship leader Sarah Kroger and Noonan, with evening host and speaker Dom Quaglia Jr.

The annual concert is set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 25 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, located at 109 N Frazier St., Conroe. Tickets ($25 to $50) are available online at faith-fest.org.

“When it comes to artists connecting, there’s no better way to really shine the love of Jesus than doing it with other musicians,” Noonan said.

Proceeds from the concert benefit two local organizations: Project Mentor, which connects community members with local Conroe students to promote positive youth development; and Compassion United, which serves those in need in Montgomery County.

Noonan’s music, including “Your Love,” is available at daniellenoonanmusic.com online and on all major music streaming services. †