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July 19, 2009

Musicians raise a joyful noise to God

By Allison Bartus


The sounds of bells, an organ and a rather large choir could be heard coming from each and every corner of the Donald. E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont July 6-10.

It was a sign that the National Association of Pastoral Musicians annual convention was in town.

The association is a group of 9,000 members who are committed to promoting liturgical music. Their mission statement, “The National Association of Pastoral Musicians fosters the art of musical liturgy. The members of NPM serve the Catholic Church in the United States as musicians, clergy, liturgists and other leaders of prayer” gives a clear view on the goals of the association, as well as the goals of the convention.

Every year, the association offers this convention in various cities to its members. Its purpose? Not only is it an opportunity for people with shared interests to meet, but to also learn what’s new in liturgical music.

Two sisters from Antioch were newcomers to the convention this year. “You get exposed to a lot of new music. It’s really great if you’re a choir director,” they said.

The weeklong convention, titled “Sing to the Lord,” offered a variety of speakers, workshops and showcases to introduce attendees to every aspect of pastoral music. Some of the workshops, including “I’ve got Rhythm: Basic Tips and Techniques” and “Basic Conducting,” provided basic musical knowledge, while others focused more specifically on music in the church.

The workshop, “From Cradle to Grave: Music Ministry for All Generations” led by Ken Canedo, Robert Feduccia and Tom Tomaszek, encouraged the idea of bringing together the church community through music.

“Singing is our response to God. Not something we have to do, but something we need to do. Give praise, thanks and glory to God for the gift of life,” said Tomaszek, director of the artist relations and product development division at Oregon Catholic Press and member of the association for the past 28 years.

The idea of this workshop was to get all generations to unite through song.

It was evident in the convention hall that the message portrayed in the workshop had already taken hold. People of all ages were there to take part in the activities.