Traditional Choir


When is the Choir singing?

Weekend Schedule. The choir sings primarily for the Sunday 9 am mass. It also sings at all major celebrations during the liturgical calendar year, Holy Days, Solemnities, and special services.

Holy Days and Special Celebrations. The choir sings for all Holy Days during the year: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Mary Mother of God, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Triduum (Holy Week, Easter Vigil). Easter Day masses are also Sunday masses (9 am Ascension Thursday, All Saints, Thanksgiving etc…

Special Celebrations. The choir may be also present for special celebrations. The choir also presents a yearly St Cecilia Concert the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

What style of music is sung by the choir? The choir’s repertoire is extensive and varied from the Renaissance era all the way to contemporary music.The choir sings in 4 part harmony (SATB) whenever possible. We sing works by Palestrina, Bach and Mozart as well as works by contemporary composers such as John Rutter, Sarah Hart and many others.

I want to join the choir, but I don’t know if I have what it takes? Not to worry. If you have the desire to sing and want to join the group, you will make it! Talk to the Director of Music or other choir members to understand the requirements and commitment of a choir member.

I don’t read music. Can I join? Absolutely yes, you can join. Many of the choir members do not read music. You will quickly learn skills how to recognize notes on a staff and other notation using simple techniques. In addition, you will also be singing alongside seasoned musicians who can read music and will help you along.

I want to join and sing but it is a bit intimidating. Don’t be intimidated. In addition to being a group of dedicated volunteers. the choir is a fun group. Although the vocal work is serious and thorough, participating in the choir is rewarding. The camaraderie and the caring for each other is obvious to anyone who attends our rehearsals. The ambiance is terrific and despite the hard work, all is done in good spirit. We very often laugh.

I want to join but I am not sure I can make all the rehearsals! Although being a minister and singing in a choir is a commitment, it is understood that all choir members are volunteers. As such, many things in our daily lives can interact and interfere with our commitment. It is totally understood and accepted. The only important thing is to let the Director of Music know ahead of time if you are not going to be there (rehearsal or mass). If you only find out at the last minute (due to work or family obligations or due to illness), you can always send a text message to the Director of Music on his cell phone or send him an email on his personal email address.In any case, you will find great flexibility from the Director of Music regarding your ability to meet the rehearsal schedule.

I have attended churches where choir singing looked more like a performance! This is a danger with all church choirs. We always need to keep in mind that we are doing the work of God, not our own. As such we are only instruments of His Will and sing to His Glory.Our focus is liturgical. The choir is not a performing group presenting a show at each of our celebrations. Our liturgies are not performances. With humility, we help leading the congregation in songs and in prayer. We are not performing to the audience (the assembly). We are in fact performing to God. Our primary focus is prayer. As you probably heard before, singing is praying twice.

I want to join. How do I do it? You need to contact the Director of Music either by mail or by telephone or see him after mass. He will want to hear your voice to determine which section is the best suited for your vocal range.

Rehearsals. The choir usually rehearses on Thursday evening from 7:15 pm to 8:45 pm. The rehearsal is extended to 9 pm or later, when preparing for Christmas and Easter. The rehearsal always starts with a prayer, followed by a thorough warmup. Following the prayers, we work on the program for the upcoming Sunday and the following Sunday. Then we work on one anthem or anthems to be sung as choir-only works in the next weeks. We also work on the program for Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, Pentecost etc…Please note that from time to time, the rehearsal may be switched to Wednesday evening instead of Thursday evening. Timely notice is given when this is the case.

In addition to the regular weekly rehearsal, the choir also rehearses at 8:15 pm on Sunday morning prior to the 9 am mass. It is important to be there on time as much as possible to warm up your voice, organize your music and rehearse some of the music for the day, especially the Responsorial Psalm and the Choir Anthem if one is sung that weekend.

For information. The contemporary choir rehearses on Tuesday evening in the church. The Vigil Choir rehearses at 4:00 pm on Saturday prior to the 5:30pm mass. The Youth Group choir rehearses the week prior to the Youth mass. The cantors rehearse with the choirs during regular rehearsal time. A specific program is being developed for the cantors/leaders of songs. Also, there is a proposal to create a small schola to study and sing plainchant (Gregorian) from time to time. The Spanish Language Choir rehearses prior to the 1:30 pm Spanish Mass on Sunday afternoon.

During The Christmas and Easter Seasons as well as during the liturgical year, all choirs join together for Bilingual Masses.

Liturgical Notes.

The Penitential Rite (Confiteor and Kyrie) (I confess… Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy) can be done in two different ways, at the discretion of the celebrant.

Form 1: The celebrant and assembly recite the Confiteor (I Confess to God the Almighty….) – followed by the Kyrie said or sung in antiphon (celebrant saying the stanza then the stanza being repeated by the assembly), (Lord Have Mercy (2), Christ Have Mercy (2), Lord Have Mercy(2) ) – immediately followed by the Gloria with no invocation prayer in between.

Form 2: The Confiteor is omitted. Each of the three stanzas of the Lord Have Mercy is preceded by an invocation. At the end of the Kyrie an invocation prayer is said (May the Lord Have Mercy on Us….. and Give Us Everlasting Life – Amen) followed by the Gloria.

Gloria (Glory to God): Remember that during Advent we do not sing the Gloria to the exception of the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday). We also do not sing the Gloria during Lent.

Sometimes the celebrant will sing the Kyrie Eleison (Lord Have Mercy). Kyrie is not Latin but Greek contrary to the other parts of the mass such as the Gloria, Sanctus-Benedictus. Agnus Dei which are in Latin.

Preparing the Rehearsal at home: As much as possible please listen to recordings of the music to be sung prior to rehearsal when feasible. Also, if possible, study the music ahead of time.

Psalm Setting and Gospel Acclamation: The greater part of the psalm settings sung throughout the year are found in the Respond and Acclaim book. However, for some masses different setting of the psalms of the day will be used instead of the settings in Respond and Acclaim. Please, listen to the music for the Psalm, Gospel Acclamation and also other songs if you are not familiar with it. They are all available on YouTube. When feasible, the recording will also be provided.The Contemporary Choir uses The Living Church Acclaims by Zeal Music (Contemporary Psalm book), the Vigil Group uses the Spirit and Psalm Contemporary Psalm Book, and the Spanish Language Choir uses Flor Y Canto.


Music organization:

Each choir member should have a three-ring binder (white if possible) holding all the music susceptible to be sung and not in one of the two books (Gather 3 Hymnal or Respond and Acclaim Book).

Organizing the binder:

It is recommended to organize the binder in sections. You can use different schemes for this at your discretion.

For example, the first section will contain the choir anthems we are currently working on in preparation for future liturgies.

The second section will contain the anthems we have in our repertoire and are susceptible to sing during any given mass (for example, Magnificat, Look at the World, How Beautiful, Ave Verum, and others).

The third section will contain all the music already in our repertoire that we will sing during the season. For example in preparation to Advent and Christmas we will include in this section songs such as O Holy Night, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, Gesu Bambino. Once the Christmas Season over, the Advent and Christmas songs can be taken out of the binder and filed. They are then replaced by the anthems already in a repertoire to be sung for the Lent and Easter Season, Tantum Ergo(s), Ave Verum(s), hymns, and anthems for Holy Week not in Choral and Praise, etc…

The fourth section will contain all service music: Kyrie, Gloria (excluding the Christmas Gloria after the Christmas season), Sanctus, Amen, Agnus Dei. In that section can also be kept Season specific responses such as the ones sung during the Easter Vigil (ex. Litany of the Saints etc…).


Patrick Botti, Director of Music.

March 2024