Sacred music lifts our prayer and worship in a way that reaches our souls. Our musicians work hard to elevate our liturgies without distraction, to lead us deeper into worship. Julie Ternes, our Music Director, takes her work very seriously.
“Music evokes emotions in the heart and stirrings in the soul that spoken words cannot,” Julie says. “Our role as parish musicians is to help the congregation draw closer to Christ and the mystery of the Eucharist by the music and words we play and sing.”
The music at Mass is provided by talented singers and accompanists. You may hear cantors singing alone or in groups, accompanied by the piano, organ, or guitar. For special liturgies and feast days, such as Christmas, our choir comes together to prepare music to help us celebrate.
Lynne Plucker, an experienced cantor, has found that serving in this way draws her more deeply into the Mass. In turn, she hopes that her fellow parishioners are able to enter into the Scriptures and prayers along with her.
“I started out just in the choir at a young age and ventured into cantoring a while later, first in small groups and then on my own,” Lynne says. “I enjoy both. As a choir, we can do a larger variety of music in more diverse, interesting ways that enhance the beauty of the Mass.”
When Julie plans the music for Mass, she starts with the Scripture readings. She might take what we sang in the past and switch something out or incorporate a new song.
“When the words of the songs reflect or strengthen the words of Scripture or the homily we have just heard, it allows us to draw deeper into the sacred mystery that we are celebrating at Mass,” Julie says. “We will remember those words and that message, not only in our memories but in our hearts.”
For solemnities like Christmas, Julie likes to incorporate the music we are familiar with.
“For Christmas, I like to include many of the traditional hymns like ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Joy to the World,’” Julie says. “These are what the people sing, these are the songs that resonate in their hearts and souls.”
Cantors can sing in groups or alone if they are comfortable. When Julie meets with new musicians, she finds out what they are comfortable with and considers their abilities and level of experience before deciding what their role will be. New cantors, choir members, and accompanists are always needed to serve on a rotating basis. Any musicians in high school or beyond are welcome to contact Julie.
Lynne encourages parishioners to work past the nerves and give it a chance.
“Do not be afraid!” she says. “Though I know very few people are comfortable singing in front of others, it is a joyful and needed talent. We are not professionals and make plenty of mistakes! So don’t think you need to be perfect to join us.”
To get involved with the Music Ministry, contact Julie Ternes at 701-223-3606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.