In Your Midst

The Youth Music Program

Xmas 2007

It's about having fun and learning and praising God

Children of the Schola Cantorum gather with Father Ryan in the Cathedral Chapel

The St. James Youth Music Program includes not one, but four choirs—two training choirs, named in honor of St. Gregory and St. Cecilia, the Schola Cantorum, and Jubilate! Young Women’s Ensemble.  On Sunday, December 16, at 7:30pm, all four choirs come together for the traditional Advent service of Readings and Carols.  The Youth Music Program, one young singer says, makes “me think about all the things that happen in Church.  It’s not just about praising God, it’s having fun and learning AND praising God.”

This past August, the summer Choir Camp was the biggest ever, with more than 80 campers, ages 6 to 16.  At the conclusion of the week, they described their experience of the Youth Music Program.

“Camp has had an impact on my life because I learned to be more comfortable singing out loud.  I now understand all of the effort, time, and practice that is put into the glorious music sung during Mass.  Camp has made me appreciate music at church more, and has helped me discover the joy that comes with participating with our voices.”

“I learned to take church music seriously.  I learned that one person can make a voice difference in a choir.  Church music can be very fun.”

“This camp makes me feel different when I enter the Cathedral, that it makes me feel at home.  I took several risks and that helps me to be a braver person.”

“I wish this camp lasted the whole summer!  It was a blast!  Camp made me feel brave in front of friends.  I made a ton of friends!  The Play of Daniel made me realize if you are faithful then God will always protect and love you.”

“This Choir Camp made me understand more about singing in church.  I used to think that you would sing for fun, but now I know that it adds a lot more to a Mass.”

“What this week has done for me is amazing!  I now am able to sing beautifully (sort of) and I now have a greater knowledge of how to sing.  I now am able to pray and sing with more feeling.  I also have been very happy to have many friends here after a few days and taking my risk of singing by myself on the Fiery Furnace song, and how nobody teased me about the way I sang it because it wasn’t the most beautiful.”

“Choir Camp helped me to:  learn how to read music; meet new people; sing with more clarity; learn new songs; be more confident with my voice; learn more about the Cathedral; think more about what the music means.”

“While I was in Choir Camp, I learned that songs can be, in a way, prayers!”

“Camp has taught me to stand out when I’m singing.  Also not to be shy when I’m singing.  Camp has given me a reason to live!”

Maria Laughlin is the Director of Stewardship and Development at St. James Cathedral

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