'A choir of little angels'
The sweet sounds of young singing voices make Bob Broderick happy.
The organist at the Catholic Churches of Connellsville (Immaculate Conception, St. Rita and St. John the Evangelist) had wanted to start a youth choir but knew he could not do it alone.
So with the help of choir members and the support of the Rev. Robert Lubic, pastor of the Connellsville Catholic parishes, a choir of young voices has been started.
The group, which numbers about a dozen children from grades 3-6, will participate in a special liturgy once a month, said Broderick.
Talks of starting a youth choir kicked off last year, the organist said.
Broderick, needing help, enlisted the aid of Sister Donna Mulligan, director of the religious education program for the Connellsville Catholic churches, and Sue Camele, who agreed to direct the children. He then gathered a group of young singers together to raise their young voices to God.
“It was definitely a collaborative effort,” Broderick said.
Camele, a longtime adult choir member and faith formation teacher, was thrilled to assist with the new endeavor.
“It's a privilege to have this opportunity to help with the choir and to work with the children,” Camele said. “Having the children's choir will be a wonderful addition to the music ministry.”
Broderick plans to have the children sing one song for each Mass. They will also lead the congregation in the service singing.
“This will be a wonderful learning tool for the children,” he said.
All songs will feature two- and three-part harmony, said Broderick. They will be child-friendly in nature.
“The selections that we do are all going to be geared toward children,” he said.
Broderick hopes the youth choir can be used as a feeder program for the adult choir.
“We desperately need adults in our choir, and if we bring them up in the tradition of music early, then it may be something that they wish to continue,” he said.
Many of the children who are part of the choir also play a musical instrument. Broderick will try to incorporate the instruments as the children become more comfortable with the group setting.
Lubic said the children's choir is a wonderful addition to the Mass.
“I thought a children's choir was a great idea,” Lubic said. “I think that people will really enjoy listening to the children.”
The youth choir debuted on Dec. 8, the celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The group will next sing at a Jan. 19 Mass.
“There is nothing like a child's voice,” Broderick said. “They have the purest of voices. Hearing them is like listening to a choir of little angels.”
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.