March 19, 2014

For Love of Music

Editor: Music is a Mercy tradition and Musical excellence is a hallmark of Mercy. This deep appreciation for music stems from Catherine herself who is said to have ‘“loved music very much” and “tried to have a piano” in every house she founded’.1


Not surprisingly, the Baggot Street Chapel has been the setting on very many occasions for liturgical celebrations, recitals, lunch-time concerts and other musical performances; the most recent being the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Conservatory of Music and Drama students on 13 March and the Choir from College of Saint Mary, Omaha, Nebraska, a group of over 40 students and faculty members who had travelled to Ireland to visit Mercy International Centre and sang in the Chapel on 15 March.


        

          Staff from College of St Mary with  Anne Reid (first left) and Mary Kay Dobrovolny rsm (fifth from left)

Noonday concerts are popular in Ireland and talented young artists from DIT and the Royal Irish Academy of Music are among the performers who have delighted audiences at lunch-time concerts in Baggot Street for many years. Last week's performances by music and singing students from DIT was of the same high standard. 

Enjoy the performance by St Mary's Choir of 'Make Me A Channel of Your Peace

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Walsingham Academy
is a Mercy high school from New Jersey, USA. Walsingham Academy’s Madrigals are an auditioned choral ensemble of tenth through twelfth graders, under the direction of Teresa Cobarrubia Yoder, committed to mastering the art of A Capella singing from Medieval to present times. The Madrigals maintain an active schedule of performances. In the summer of 2012, they undertook a concert tour of Dublin and London. In Dublin they performed at St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral and at Mercy International Centre.

For Sisters of Mercy, there is something very special in singing Catherine's Suscipe in the Baggot Street Chapel.  8 Sisters of Mercy from Kenya, the Philippines, Peru and the US who participated in the Final Vows Programme last year were recorded singing their country’s version of the Suscipe.

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Generations of current and former Mercy students all over the world owe their music performance and appreciation skills to Sisters of Mercy. Through their teaching of piano, choral work and musical instruments to individuals and groups, from infants to university (college) students; through the performance and achievements of their students, and through their composition of music for liturgies and special occasions, for individuals, school and church choirs; Sisters of Mercy have handed on Catherine’s love of music.

Names such as Sisters Mary Winefride Blake, Mary Eulalie Martini RIP (ANZ), Mary Leo RIP (ANZ), Kathrine Bellamy RIP (NFL), Pam Murray (Australia), Geraldine Wilson (Australia), Catherine Marie Franey RIP (US), Ignatius Davies RIP (Guam), Mary Beata Gerrity RIP (US)... recall legendary Mercy music teachers and musicians.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (ANZ), Michael Houstoun (ANZ), the Alpha Boys Choir (Jamaica), Regina Nathan (IRL), Shane Howard (Australia) are just some of those prepared by Sisters of Mercy for professional careers in music. Marcia Howard and Damian Howard, both Mercy past pupils, are responsible for the beautiful version of Circle of Mercy that accompanies the DVD Circle of Mercy. Damian arranged it, Marcia sings it (04:39).

For most of us, however, we learnt music appreciation - how to read music and how to hold a tune.

How did Sisters of Mercy influence you to make music a part of your life, either for pure enjoyment or as a career choice? Share your Mercy music story.

Messages to: the Editor

1 Mary Sullivan rsm, The Path of Mercy: The Life of Catherine McAuley, 2012, p.37.

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