Singing a song starts with our breaths, and there is no doubt a big breath of fresh air is breathing new life into our parish Music Ministry. When Mike Powell took on the role of Music Director, our parish was not only coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we were also undergoing the transition to a new pastor and the retirement of our previous Music Director. Mike met with volunteers from the parish to create a vision for renewal.
“We came up with great plans,” Mike says. “In the fall, we hit the ground running.”
One of the key changes was the creation of a Children’s Choir.
“I’ve had an enthusiastic response to that,” Mike says. “Parents were looking for that opportunity. That was one of the brilliant things the volunteers brought to the process. I would not have started a children’s choir yet if it was just my planning, but the volunteers pushed me in that direction and sensed that this was a place the parish was ready to grow.”
Currently, the Children’s Choir has 21 kids who sing each week and that number continues to grow. On March 9, the choir will attend the Louisville Catholic Youth Choral Festival, and Mike hopes to take the choir to more children’s choir festivals.
“I hope to create a culture around Children’s Choir where it’s a community more than just something that happens,” Mike says.
In addition to doubling the size of the Sunday choir, we are also working to build up a Saturday choir. Mike has brought in a couple of music majors from the University of Indianapolis to help guide and coach the singers.
“I see my job fundamentally as supporting congregational singing, so I believe having a vibrant choir to lead music is the best way to do that,” Mike says. “The special pieces that the choir sings at Mass are great opportunities for prayer and for the congregation to encounter sacred texts that they wouldn’t otherwise encounter.”
There are no requirements or skills necessary to join any of the choirs. Mike believes that singing is a skill that everybody can improve at.
“I do a lot of teaching along the way about vocal technique and musical interpretation,” Mike says. “Everyone is learning and growing regardless of their current level. If you enjoy singing, there’s a place for you in our Music Ministry.”
Mike and the Music Ministry are looking forward to more growth over the next few years — larger choirs and more complex music will lend richness and beauty to the liturgy, particularly at special Masses such as the Easter Vigil and Christmas.
“This parish is large and full of potential, and I see no reason to limit the size of our ensembles,” Mike says. “It wouldn’t be overkill if we had a choir of 50 people on a Sunday morning.”
All choirs rehearse in the St. Joseph Room. The Children’s Choir, for second through eighth-graders, rehearses on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. and sings once a month. The Saturday Choir rehearses on Saturdays at 2:45 p.m. and sings at 4 p.m. Mass. The Sunday Choir rehearses on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and sings at the 10 a.m. Mass.
To learn more, contact Mike Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.