“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.”
Students at St. Joseph Collegiate Institute in Buffalo, New York lift up their hearts through musical ministry.
More than 140 students participate in Swing Choir, Varsity Singers, Glee Club and the Jazz Lab Band each year. They use their talents to enhance the lives of others, performing in many venues.
“Whether we’re singing at a nursing home or at a school for physically or mentally disabled children, the response is always overwhelming,” said T.J. Newton ’10, a four-year veteran of the Swing Choir and Varsity Singers. “Those particular moments make all of the rehearsals worth it.”
The musical ministry at St. Joe’s is a decades-long tradition, which was started in the school’s early years. Students had always sung at masses and social services, but the ministry took a leap forward when Jim Deiotte joined the school in 1974.
“I learned from Fr. Jim Young [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][who began the musical ministry at St. Joe’s] that it would be a great service to ask our students to work for the marginalized, those forgotten, and let that be the mission,” said Deiotte. “It was clear to me that the real artists were those whose talents were used as blessings for the benefit of others, instead of their own self-adulation.”
While other schools have been forced to cut fine arts programs, the program at St. Joe’s has continued to expand. It allows students various opportunities, including being singers, instrumentalists or tech and stage crews.
This year, the group will take up at least 20 missions, including trips to the Cantalician Center, Camp Good Days, and Holy Spirit Church, where they will sing for the church’s 100th anniversary. They have traveled as far as New Orleans, Louisville and Europe. The music department hosts several ticketed events throughout the year to raise money for these goodwill tours.-From The Collegiate, Winter 2010, St. Joseph Collegiate Institute