Catholic Herald Staff
Fifty young voices graced the Cathedral of Christ the King in song, both reverent and spirited, as part of the National Catholic Youth Choir’s “Serve Your Neighbor” Good Samaritan Tour. A pick-up choir and concert event was offered in Superior on July 11.
The 20th-anniversary choir was made up of 37 high school choristers. The youth, many who repeat the experience, take part in a nine-day vocal music camp sponsored by Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Spaced along the outside aisles, the white-robed choristers opened the concert with Gregorian chant. In Latin, they sang Jesus’s Gospel admonishment to follow the Good Samaritan’s example of love.
After processing to the altar, the Cathedral’s new organ introduced the next piece.
Thirteen young people participated in the pick-up choir. This was an opportunity for young singers to rehearse and perform with the NCYC choristers, interact with them and learn more about the program. They were all invited by the NCYC leadership to apply for the 2020 Camp and Choir Tour.
The concert was arranged more as a prayer service and time of recollection than a mere musical exposé. A spiritual introduction was offered by the camp’s chaplain, Br. Jacob Berns, a Benedictine monk who had entered the prior year. Most of the selections were scripturally based and the harmonies called on what Br. Jacob referred to as “a common calling with unique parts that fit together.”
All applause was held until the end of the concert, maintaining the solemn atmosphere. The pick-up choir participants were each given a NCYC T-shirt. They joined in with the full choir near the end of the program for three songs.
Fr. Anthony Ruff, one of the founding members of the ministry, spoke briefly before the final hymn. He requested freewill offerings to help cover costs and fund future scholarships.
With a smile and thumbs up, Fr. Andy Ricci, rector of the Cathedral, congratulated the youth on their performance and thanked them for their gift of song.
“Because you helped us pray, you showed us beauty and you showed us what music can do in a holy place,” he said.
The organ took the spotlight during a triumphant grand finale, with everyone in the church joining to sing “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”