Music draws people into the liturgy in a transformative way. It can make the difference between mere participation and fully entering into prayer. For the young people involved in the Haven of Mercy Youth Choir, music is an opportunity to lead the congregation into deeper prayer.
Christina Schumer founded the Youth Choir in November. Christina is already an active part of the Music Ministry and teaches music lessons. The Youth Choir is open to students from the entire ACC and the choir sings at all of the parishes on rotation.
“Having a youth choir helps bring life to a parish,” Christina says. “It ensures that the next generation will be able to lead and it helps to instill a sense of belonging in the students.”
Though she studied sacred music at Ave Maria University, Christina can trace her love for sacred music back to when she was young.
“When I was younger, our parish priest allowed my sister and I to play piano and sing for Mass,” Christina says. “We were able to lead the congregation by ourselves. I want to teach the youth how to do that now and give them the opportunity to lead.”
The Youth Choir is made up of students in sixth through 12th grade. The growing choir currently has about 16 members. They sing on the second Sunday of each month during the school year. The students prepare hymns and cantor. They rehearse at 6:30 p.m. on the Monday before they sing and they meet an hour before Mass to rehearse again. Christina’s inspiration coincided with a desire from families to have this opportunity.
“I heard there was an interest in our community and I prayed to the Holy Spirit to guide us in this endeavor,” Christina says.
Christina is assisted by her colleague, Ann Dardis. They help the children prepare new hymns, practice familiar hymns, and learn how to serve as cantors. Christina hopes to introduce the students to the different music that is appropriate to each liturgical season and each part of the Mass.
While some of the students joined the choir knowing how to read music, others began learning after they joined. No experience is necessary to be part of the Youth Choir. Singing in a group is a great way to develop skills and learn along the way. Moreover, it is an opportunity to learn how music brings depth to the liturgy.
“A goal of mine is to choose beautiful, prayerful music that the children enjoy singing, that brings joy to the congregation, helps them to pray, and gives glory to God,” Christina says.
Check the bulletin to find out where the Youth Choir will sing next!
To join the Youth Choir, contact Christina Schumer at 518-651-0925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.