Parish to host first choir camp for children, teenagers
By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
Children and teenagers looking to hone their music skills while having fun might consider attending the inaugural choir camp being hosted by the music ministry in St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck.
The camp is open to all young people from around the Diocese. Attendees will learn how to read music, develop healthy vocal techniques, conduct, sight read, chant and play handbells. They’ll also learn about hymns and polyphony through engaging in activities, games and group lessons, all while “reinforcing the beliefs and cultures of our Catholic faith,” said Lauren Walters, parish music minister.
Walters said the camp will allow participants to broaden their liturgical prayer experiences through music, adding that the parish campus provides a conducive setting complete with multiple classrooms, a theater stage, two halls, three pianos and two keyboards.
The choir camp will be the week between the parish’s two summer religious education intensive offerings, where religious education students have the opportunity to pursue catechetical studies. In recent years, Walters has taught brief segments on Church music and the structure of the Mass during the summer intensives, where she said she learned that there was an overwhelming response from youth in wanting to learn more about liturgical music, including having a keen interest in facets as the chants of the Roman Missal.
Knowing that young people had a love for “learning our Catholic culture and music and how it shapes our worship during Mass, especially the historical aspects,” Walters, with the approval of Father Jeffrey Lee, pastor of St. Mary Parish, explored the feasibility of establishing a choir camp on a diocesan level. She attended workshops and seminars and collaborated with other parish music directors from around the Diocese, all of whom have majored in music at a conservatory and/or music school in highly specialized art forms. She added that the music directors supported the idea of a choir camp and agreed that in the midst of the diocesan Faith In Our Future and Faith To Move Mountains initiatives “this collaborative effort could help set a precedent as we look to continue relationships with Cohorts and other parishes within our vicinity.”
Each day of the camp will begin with combined prayer, after which the campers will break into 40-minute age-related classes on various topics. Camp instructors and their topics include: Paul Bergin, director of music in St. Michael Parish, West End, and organist for the Trenton Diocesan Festival Choir, Kodaly exercises and polyphony; Peter Carter, director of music for the Extraordinary Form in St. John the Baptist Parish, Allentown, chant; Shawn Mack, director of music and performing arts co-chair in Red Bank Catholic High School, director of sacred music in St. Anthony of Padua Parish Red Bank, and director of the Diocesan Festival Choir, solfeggio and rhythm/conducting; Andrew Macirowski, pastoral coordinator of liturgy and organist in St. Mary Parish, handbells and sight reading, and Walters, vocal techniques and hymnody/polyphony.
The camp runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 27-28, and from noon to 5 p.m., July 29. It concludes with a 5 p.m. Vigil Mass, during which participants will use their newly acquired music skills to lead the congregation in song.
Walters reiterated that the camp is open to any third-through-12th grader in the Diocese, but if there are any first-and-second graders who are eager to learn, they will be welcomed as well. The only requirements for potential campers are that they can read and are willing to practice at home.
Walters beams as she talks about the upcoming choral camp and the impact that it can have on young people, saying, “all of our efforts are dedicated to Our Lady with the hope of setting the next generation’s hearts aflame with love for our faith and our Lord.”
Cost to attend the camp is $50 per child. To complete an online registration, visit www.stmaryscoltsneck.org. For more information, email [email protected] or call 732-780-2666.[[In-content Ad]]