Singers at St. Bridget, River Falls, rehearse in preparation for Good Friday. Each year, the parish assembles a special men’s choir for the noon service. (Photo by Joe Winter)

Joe Winter
Special to the Catholic Herald

For several decades running, St. Bridget Parish in River Falls has brought together a special men’s choir of about 15 to perform several songs at their noon Good Friday service.

The call for a few good men goes out weeks before the Easter season. The selections, featuring a rich but somber and slightly terse tone, are chosen to fit the unique acclamations and accompany the Stations of the Cross and other such worship facets this day has to offer.

They rehearse several times before going live, the last being for more than an hour on the Tuesday night before, as the busy Holy Week starts to unfold. The harmonies are a bit more complex and sophisticated; men who are normally cantors during regular church services perform solo.

At that last rehearsal as they were honing their tone, the longtime leader of the band directed the group, which also included a woman or two for a lighter sound, waving his hands freely like the conductor of a symphony. There were two tiers of singers dividing tenor and bass. He at times would say they needed to do another take, or two, to make sure they got it right.

In the end run, the selections that were spread out through the course of the service were warmly received by the congregation. They were out in fairly full force for an early Friday service, introducing a bit of joy at the same time as reverence to a somber Good Friday observance.