“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this preeminence is that, as sacred song closely bound to the text, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.”
- Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #112
As this statement makes clear, the Vatican Fathers held in very high regard the place of music in Liturgy, echoing the concerns of their predecessors, particularly Pius X. At St. Frances Cabrini we have a ministry which speaks to this in many ways. Every parishioner has a role in this ministry, whether from the pew, as choir members or as musicians.
St. Frances Cabrini is fortunate to have some wonderful musicians who share their talents at each Mass.
Music at Sunday's 8:30am English language Mass is provided by an ensemble composed of former full choir and folk group members, and now can be heard at the 8:30am Sunday Mass throughout the year (summer break is no longer taken).
Music for Sunday's 10:30am Vietnamese Mass is provided by longtime Vietnamese congregation members. We hope to include their history here soon as well. All our choirs and singers lead us in beautiful music that compliment the liturgical readings.
The first Choral Director of our parish was Helen Kennedy. In addition to her skills in teaching piano and voice, she was also an experienced choreographer. Not only did she direct the Choir, she produced and directed the Cabrini Carousels, a long-running series of variety shows which included other members of the parish as well as members of the choir. These were a lot of fun and raised funds for worthy projects like a new organ for the church.
When she passed away at the age of 78 in 2000, we had short-term Choral Directors until the hiring of Dr. Rosella Duerksen in 2004. With an extensive background in sacred music, she gave the choir a deeper understanding and mastery of it. She hired Russell Ronnebaum, then a very talented graduate student at the University of Arizona, as accompanist to the choir.
Rosella retired in 2014 and Russ became Director in January 2015. He brought us youthful energy, humor and a passion for musical excellence. He found new ways to make us better, such as giving all choir members CDs with the music for individual choral parts on them to sing along with at home to practice for special pieces.
Russ resigned in June of 2017 to free up time to devote to music composition and performance. Michelle Perrier sang with our choir while finishing up her Master’s Degree at the University of Arizona. Her soaring soprano added greatly to our sound. She graduated in May of 2017 and officially took up the baton as Choir Director in August of 2017.
Michelle Perrier was then hired as Music and Choir Director at the 10:30am Sunday Mass leading the choir in traditional classical music along with some folk music. Karen Brady, who teaches theology at a local high school, led the congregation with song and guitar at the 5:00pm Saturday Mass and 8:30am Sunday Mass. Frank and Renee Cassidy assisted her.
Sadly our music program was interrupted by the global pandemic, but it has since grown back into what it is today.
Share your musical talents!
We encourage full and active participation from the assembly during Liturgy. We welcome new members at any time. Contact the parish office at 520-326-7670 if you would like to participate in the ministry of music at our Masses.