St. Mary Mokena has officially relaunched its choirs after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. With Director of Sacred Music Michael Berger at the helm, the choirs will have a traditional focus while encouraging as much participation as possible.
The Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, and professional Schola choir are all back and seeking members. Although the Schola choir requires tryouts, the Adult and Children’s choirs are open to anyone who wants to join. The Adult Choir will sing at 11 am Mass on Sundays while the Children’s and Schola Choirs will alternate singing the 9:30 am Sunday Masses throughout the month.
“My lessons are designed for people who don’t know how to read music,” says Berger. “We’ll start from the ground up and do a lot of repetition exercises to help beginners get comfortable.”
Berger’s goal for the music program is to revive many traditions that have been lost over the past few decades. For example, as Choir Master, he will be wearing a cassock and surplice during every Sunday Mass while playing the organ.
Most importantly, the music itself will continue to have a traditional flavor, consistent with what the previous St. Mary choirs did. All music will come straight from the Source & Summit Missal. Parishioners can now pick up worship aids before Mass, which contain all the readings and lyrics for that Mass. Alternatively, parishioners can also download a digital version of the worship aid at www.smpmusic.org.
“We are setting out to carry out the norms of the Second Vatican Council while incorporating the musical traditions that have existed for centuries,” says Berger. This desire to blend participation and tradition is behind the decision to distribute worship aids, encourage singing, and entice volunteers to join the choirs.
“I want people involved in our music ministry as they fall in love with the Church’s rich musical heritage,” says Berger. He invites anyone interested in joining the choirs to see him after Mass or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.