St. Gregory the Great Parish Choir 2017-18 Season
St. Gregory the Great Parish Choir on Corpus Christi, June 2017, our final mass of the season. Photo by Craig Cernek.
Welcome back choir members to our 2017-2018 choir season!
Why I belong to the St. Gregory the Great Parish Choir
By Susan Licciardi
For all of my adult life I’d been seeking an opportunity to sing and a church I could call home. I found both by an Easter miracle 14 years ago at St. Gregory the Great. I walked in and felt immediately comfortable. There was nothing forced or off-putting. I felt a palpable peace I hadn’t felt in years and the design of the church reminded me of the churches I’d just seen in Paris. Then the piano played. I turned to my husband and asked, “Who’s the piano player”? It was brilliant playing. There is an “it” factor in art. Many artists can be technically gifted but there isn’t that other indefinable something that rises out. I was hearing that something. I joined the choir that day. It was that easy. I went upstairs, introduced myself and in the most welcoming manner, Patrick said “of course”, rehearsal is Thursday and he handed me a ritual song book. No auditions, worries, judgments, fear. I waltzed into some of the most meaningful experiences of my life that day.
The music aspect is truly extraordinary. We sing challenging pieces in all genres and languages. We prepare these in 2 ½ hours to sing for Sunday. Most of us are volunteer singers. Patrick teaches the music without criticism or calling out. He is always patient, funny, kind, discerning, encouraging and believing we can do it. And we do. It is a master class in music and we are growing and learning every day. We have fun and there is warm camaraderie without egos. To be allowed to participate in such an elevated creative endeavor is a gift that I know we all cherish. Many members have come and gone but we never lose our connection to each other or to the music. And if that’s not enough, we travel and sing in Europe every two years, seeing and singing in the most sacred spaces. When people ask me what I am, I often say a singer and a traveler. Both of these I found at St. Gregory the Great.
I spoke of the music first but it’s the faith and sense of community that also sustains me. Never have I felt such a kinship and safety with the Catholic community. I have become a true faithful; praying, seeking and loving God in every day. My life has been immeasurably blessed and it just gets more so. I have this group of singers, friends and parishioners who I truly care for and care for me. I bring who I am as others do, and we honestly share the faith of God. It is a miraculous blessing that after such a long search, I’ve found a renewed faith and an opportunity to sing that faith. The reason I belong to the Parish Choir is because it is here I truly belong.
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