Peña, Donna

Donna Peña is a composer and performer, residing in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Speaking strongly to and for the Hispanic community in the Midwestern church, she provides a leadership founded strongly on her Mexican and Cherokee heritage. While at the University of Minnesota, she took part in the Chicano Studies program. As she unites formal education with top-notch communication skills, she is able to produce music that serves well the needs for multilingual worship. In addition to her incredibly popular song “Digo Si, Señor/I Say Yes, Lord,” her recorded collections Alma Mia and Against the Grain as well as A New Heaven, A New Earth, Mass of the Nations or the collaboration with Marty Haugen We Come Dancing, provide a broad range of music and texts for inclusive worship. “El Amanecar,” which is the first cut on La Tierra, La Gente, is a masterpiece of Hispanic rhythms and instrumentation. When one sings it, one dances it. Her setting of Psalm 25, “Levanto Mi Alma/I Lift Up My Soul,” has become a staple in the Advent repertory for many parishes. Peña’s compositions have been featured on the recording Cross Culture and also in the collection Music for Small Christian Communities. She stands at the forefront of composers who are able to express ethnic richness through accessible music.