“The buck stops here” – The President’s Reflections
by David Heineman ('04)

Hard as it is to believe, this year, and with it, my presidency, is heading to its inevitable conclusion. It is mid-March, and the Folk Choir has been very busy since it convened in August to begin its 24th (!) year serving the Notre Dame worshipping community. A few highlights of what has been of 2003-2004:

• Singing for Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, a truly inspiring man of wisdom and wit. He was on campus this past September a conference held by the Kroc Institute of Peace Studies, and the choir had the wonderful privilege of introducing him in song, with ‘Siyahamba’, a Swahili favorite of the Folk Choir. After his encouraging talk on the possibilities for peace in our world, we even got to serenade him in private. This was certainly a highlight of my year personally, and an occasion no one will soon forget.

• A conference of African bishops was held on campus this past fall, and the Folk Choir sang at a mass in the Basilica celebrating their work. All drums and toys were in full force, as we praised God with every instrument and converted drumming space available.

• A rare mid-October tour to Ireland provided incredible moments of grace and wonderful memories. Etched particularly clearly in my mind are our visits to Clonmacnois, an old Irish monastery and cemetery, and the incredible vibrancy of the parish in Bearna, Galway. Our time in Ireland also demonstrated the wonderful spirit alive in our choir, as we rallied around a friend whose father was very sick. It was a moment of grace, another elegant reminder of the true beauty of our community of faith.

• And the best is yet to come! A St. Patrick’s Day liturgy at the Basilica is the beginning of a long stretch of lots of singing for this group, including Holy Week, two Easter liturgies, Holy Cross Ordinations, a tour through Illinois and Wisconsin, and a conference of campus ministers back at Notre Dame at the end of May! It will be a busy two months, but fruitful and grace-filled, I am sure.

I’d like to extend my gratitude to the current choir for their commitment to our ministry at Notre Dame. As I prepare to leave, I know the Folk Choir will always be calling me back to campus. Another thanks goes to you, the alumni of the choir. Without you, we would not exist. Thank you for your contributions, past and present. We look forward to a wonderful reunion in Spring 2005!

With prayers for peaceful Lenten and Easter seasons,

David Heineman
President, Notre Dame Folk Choir