It is said that music is among the reasons most cited for attending Mass. Like any musical event, however, there is much work done behind the scenes before a note is played or lyric sung during Mass. Planning, organizing and rehearsals are all part of the church choir commitment. The result is an elevated spiritual experience for the congregation.
Lucy Dunn, Cantor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Irvine, recalled a quote from Saint Augustine as she explained how music impacts the Mass: “Singing is praying twice,” she said.
In the video below, Dunn explains the role of the cantor at Mass and how song complements the liturgy.
“When you sing,” Dunn said, “you’re sharing your faith with others.”
Vanessa Brockman, Music Director at Santiago de Compostela Parish in Lake Forest, sings at Mass weekly with her daughter Brianna. Brockman says “music can draw people in to a place where words alone can’t.”
She says she prepares the weekly musical lineup following diocesan guidelines but adds there is an opportunity for a little creativity, tailoring the music selections to what the congregation responds to.
Weekday rehearsals help the choir to prepare for the following Sunday Mass.
Brianna Brockman, Vanessa’s daughter, is a gifted vocalist who said she prefers singing at Mass to any opportunity to be on T.V. or market her singing on iTunes. She says that her reward is helping people to feel the presence of God.
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