Redesigning Our Music Liturgy – One Sound at a Time
The music liturgy at St. Joseph Church is a complex production -- 6 choirs, several small ensembles, and a bevy of elegant instruments. In the renovated Church, this ministry will lead the assembly in prayer even more beautifully, as a new physical space is established to carry the sound of music throughout the sanctuary and into the narthex.
"I can hardly wait," explains Barbara Leyden, Director of Music Ministry at St. Joseph Church, as she describes the new quality of the sound our renovated Church will provide. "We will really fill the Church with natural sound."
The choir section will be relocated in the southwest area of the Church. This move stemmed from Fr. Mike Hawken's plan that combined the music ministry with the Triduum (the summit of the Catholic year, from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday). More space was needed at these Masses for people and instruments, and the choir produced a beautiful natural sound from that location.
The advantages of this location should produce a higher sound quality, and help resolve the challenges of a round church.
"The choir voices need to hear each other," explains Barbara. The orientation of choir seating (flexible chairs on flat, terraced steps) will help voices carry.
At the center of the new choir area will be a Steinway grand piano (shown in the photo above), which was purchased used at a significant discount. The piano, plus a new, computerized Allen organ, both provide very responsive action for pianists and organists. "They'll really fill our Church with beautiful sound."
The new sound system and speakers being installed in the Church and narthex, which provide amplification assistance for the hearing-impaired, will ensure the music liturgy is accessible to all worshippers. The building committee is working with sound experts to enhance both the spoken Word at Masses and sung prayer, with a "loop system" that will connect with most hearing aid devices.
Barbara, who has been at the helm of the parish music ministry for seven years, sees music as an evangelizing tool. She believes these enhancements will attract more musicians and vocalists -- even among the children's choirs. The adult cantors and choir members will be energized with the way their voices carry in the new space. She noted that the new adult Choir Director, Joe Heidesch, agrees.
"The spirit at St. Joseph is so great, and with an enhanced music area, it can really become a model of what the Catholic Church can offer you," she says.
The renovations of St. Joseph Church and Parish Center should be complete by Advent 2017. Your support is needed to make this happen. You can support the Journey of Grace 150 renovation campaign by making a pledge or setting up incremental donations here.