Fall 2002
The Newsletter of the Notre Dame Folk Choir
Volume 4, No. 2

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Letter from the Director

Dear friends of the Folk Choir:

Looking back over the past twenty-two years of an ensemble, I suppose no one may have a better vantage point than the director of a choir. From this unique vantage point - as Director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir - some things could be said about who we are, and where we're headed.

The "who we are" part of it makes for a great story. A choir is made up of many things: the individuals who've contributed over the years, the travels we've been on and communities we've encountered, and most especially, the songs that have been in our hearts and on our lips - in other words, the repertoire of the Folk Choir.

It is to all of those elements that I turn, week after week and year after year. That responsibility is shared with all the officers of the Choir as well. What we've created, over the past generation, is an ensemble with:

  • over 350 alumni, spanning twenty-two years of Notre Dame history;
  • an invitation over the past eight years to National Pastoral Musicians' conferences, both regional and national;
  • more than seventy octavos of original sacred music composition in their name, published by World Library and GIA Publications of Chicago. These works reflect an effort to bring together both contemporary and traditional sacred song - from Gethsemani Abbey to our own writers here at the University.
  • a travel legacy that has included parishes, cathedrals, choirs and communities all over the North American continent, from Victoria, British Columbia to Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia - and from Naples, Florida to San Diego, California. Additionally, we're planning our seventh tour to the Republic of Ireland during fall break 2003. (The choir is now so much in demand that our touring schedule is mapped out three years in advance).
  • Six different recordings of ritual music (three published with Ave Maria Press, and three others with World Library Publications) that have sold more than 100,000 copies in the past ten years.

In January of the coming year, we'll be working on yet another recording - our first in more than four years. Its title, tentatively labeled Witness of the Saints, reflects a sensitivity on our part to continue building up the repertoire of the Catholic church. Over the past generation, we've worked hard to create ritual music to serve the church, by way of psalms, acclamations, canticles, hymns and concertato settings. Where next to turn? Our energies have turned to the writings and heritage of the saints of our tradition. Few composers have spent a lot of energy in this area, and to create a new collection of songs centered on their writings makes for a strong focal point. The release date for this new collection will probably be next summer, coinciding with the July gathering of the National Pastoral Musicians' conference in Indianapolis.

The coming year's tour has us visiting a lot of places close to home (check out the article by Spencer McSorley on last year's tour to the Maritime Provinces). Our stops for 2003 include Terre Haute, IN; Owensboro, KY; Dayton/ Kettering, OH; Sandusky, OH; Buffalo, NY; Cleveland, OH; Toledo, OH; Detroit, MI and Monroe, MI. Again, the specific parishes, dates and times will be available on the website when they are finally settled. If you're nearby, we'd love to have you join us!

Chicago Alumni: Reserve January 25th, 2003! (It's a Saturday.) That's when the ensemble will be making a trip to Arlington Heights, outside of Chicago, for a concert celebrating 100 years of parochial mission for the St. James community. Our hope is that all of you will join us for the last few numbers on that date!

Finally, we're beginning to make plans to welcome as many of you who wish, to return to Notre Dame for the Silver Anniversary of the Notre Dame Folk Choir! We've talked to many alums, and it seems that the most favorable plan for such a reunion would be the first weekend in May of 2005. While that seems like a long way off, it's not in terms of "ND time," especially in regards to getting lodging, venues for meals and gatherings, and a reunion concert date. Check our web site from time to time - within the next six months we'll be creating a site devoted exclusively to this event.

Have a safe and wonderful autumn wherever you are! With prayers and good wishes,

Steve Warner
Director, Notre Dame Folk Choir

Notes from the Social Corner
by Danielle Humphrey (SMC '03)

Greetings folkheads from around the globe! My name is Danielle Humphrey and I am the current social/service commissioner of the FC here to tell you about some of the great happenings of our beloved group.

This semester we welcome a whopping 9 new members!! The newbies of the soprano section are: Margaret Bernadin, and Natalie Martinez. The sumptuous altos welcome: Mary Kingsbury, Carrie Lett, Erica Williams, and Laura Gliem. The tender tenors greet: Jospeh Nava, Nicholas Tonozzi, and Sean Dudley -- and the manly basses eagerly receive Paul Van Leeuwen and Joshua Stagni. In addition, our instrumentalists are almost completely new! Grace Choi is our lovely new flautist, Alexa Puscas joins Brittany in the violins, and Noelle Thorn plays cello. We are so excited to have these wonderful new voices and strong spirits as part of our ensemble.

Due to the great numbers of bodies moving and grooving in the loft on Sundays, we have reinstated a really old tradition known as “Four on the Floor.” Each Sunday, four folkheads have a chance to sit back, relax, and worship as part of the congregation of 11:45 Mass instead of singing in the loft. This is a great chance to give our voices a rest and be on the receiving end of the ministry that we are so blessed to take part in every week.

As all of us know, the ministry of the Folk Choir is extremely grace-filled, and this gift comes as a result of our solid foundation of prayer. In an attempt to fortify the group all the more, we have chosen prayer buddies for the semester. Each of us drew a name and added that person to our list of daily intentions, so that we may continue to be strengthened through our prayer as a community. Yeah, mystical Body of Christ!!!

On the social end of things, upcoming happenings of the semester include a surprise event, a Folk Choir dance, and assorted other extravaganza. We’ll keep y’all updated!! Over and out.

~*Danielle Humphrey*~

In This Issue:
p.1 Letter from the Director
p.2 Fresh Thoughts

p.1 Social Notes
p.2 Spring Tour 2002
p.1 Song Meditation
p.2 Letter from the President
p.1 Matches & Hatches
p.2 Contact Information etc.

Lord, Lead Me On
a song meditation
by Tim Ruggaber (ND '03)

I was leaving for a semester in Australia in a few days, and I was scared stiff. My mind swirled with things I still needed to do, people I needed to see, and more than a few prayers for courage. Eventually, I finished everything I needed to do, saw everyone I needed to see, and my prayers became focused on one prayer - the words of Lead, Kindly Light, a song based on the words of Cardinal Newman that Steve wrote as a Christmas gift to the choir a couple of years ago. I sang this song and said this prayer almost continuously during my flight across the Pacific and during my first month Down Under.

During that time, I found great solace in the first verse, which went "The night is dark, and I am far from home./ Direct my feet, I do not ask to see/ The distant scene, one step enough for me/ So, lead me onward, Lord, and hear my plea!" For a boy who had no idea why he was in this foreign country and no idea what the future held, these words were a Godsend. They gave me the courage to take a step with the faith that the next step would appear when I needed it. The future became less daunting, and Australia eventually became my home. I felt so at home there that I even had the courage to sing this song with Karin Soby and Kathi Jo Jankowski during a dorm retreat later in that semester. I prayed for God to lead me, and He did.

After returning to America, the song had a new meaning. I was no longer far from home, but I still had anxiety about the future. As any senior can attest, the idea of graduation and the future is quite intimidating, and finding the faith to take that next step seems impossible. So, once again, I'm praying this same prayer, and it has once again become a source of strength. Recently, as we sang "Lead, Kindly Light" at the 9/11 memorial service at the Grotto, it became clear to me that it will never be easy to take that next step, but it is also clear that God will always lead me on, even amidst the gloom of evening.


Matches & Hatches

I haven't received a great deal of correspondence about this, but if you'd like your match or hatch to be included in the next issue of Strings & Wings (no matter how long ago it occurred), please e-mail me. Also, we'd welcome any other big news going on in your life, like a new job or a degree ... and many other things that slip my mind at the moment. Send them all to folk@nd.edu and we'll include them in the next Strings & Wings!

Diana Simone & Art Silva were matched at the Basilica of the Sacred heart on 28 September, 2002

Rick Johnson and Annie Manusczak were matched at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on 21 September, 2002.

Andrew Charles Leonard (nicknamed Drew) was hatched on February 3, 2002 at 4:38 a.m to Michelle (Willingham) Leonard ('95) and Chuck Leonard. He weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz. and was 21 inches long. See him here!

Karen and Scott Kirner have two hatches of their own! Emma Rose and Claire were born last December 12, 2001 (feast of Guadalupe!). See them here!

Edward Aidan was hatched to Alicia (Scheidler) Nagy and John Nagy on August 31, 2000. Peter Leo, their second son, was hatched on April 22, 2002.

Alicia Scheidler ('91-'93, '97-'99) and John Nagy (a UVA grad with a master's in history from ND) were matched in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on September 11, 1999.