Looking Back on 2006-2007 – The President's Reflections
Andy Lawton '07

Andy Lawton '07Greetings to all friends and alums of the Notre Dame Folk Choir! You will be happy to know that the state of our dear choir is strong! Since beginning its work during Freshman Orientation in August of 2006, the ensemble has had an exciting year, filled with prayer, travel, new faces, and many wonderful moments up in the loft. As this semester, and my presidency, come to an end, it is my privilege to be able to recap the past year for you and offer some reflections.

• In mid-November the choir traveled on a mini-tour to Brighton, Michigan. We gave a concert at St. Patrick's Parish in Brighton, and offered a workshop in music ministry for the local diocese. Not only did we get to share a day of music with the community there, but we also got to enjoy their brand new organ. Our Associate Director Karen Schneider-Kirner was, no doubt, in heaven!

• Also in November, the choir gave its 13th annual Concert for the Holy Cross Missions, this year entitled The Faces of Mary. This concert was unique compared to those of years past in that it was comprised of purely Marian repertoire. The night included Hail Marys in both Swahili and Chinese ("Salamu Maria" and "Wanfu Maliya"), the Folk Choir's favorite African Magnificat "Jina La Bwana," and even a new setting of the "Ave Regina Coelorum" composed by current Folk Choir member and Masters of Sacred Music graduate student, Miss Carolyn Pirtle. In accord with Fr. John Jenkins's recent call for a renewed devotion to the Virgin Mary on our campus, this concert was a wonderful night of music and prayer through the intercession of Our Lady.

• During the past winter-break, the choir made a 10-day tour of the southern U.S. The tour benefited the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program at Notre Dame, and more specifically the ACE schools in the New Orleans area that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. We titled the tour Allied with the Alliance and had the wonderful opportunity to visit and sing with ACE communities, parishes, and schools throughout the south. We came to know the true meaning of "southern hospitality" and, as with all Folk Choir tours, there was no shortage of food! Yet more importantly, the choir raised over $50,000 for the ACE hurricane relief effort. This was truly incredible and an amazing sign of God's guidance and presence in our ministry.

• As Easter approaches, the choir will provide music for numerous services at the Basilica as usual. Among others, we will sing the Holy Thursday Liturgy and two masses on Easter Sunday. Following Easter, the choir looks forward to singing for the Holy Cross Ordinations, a day of sacrament which promises to be exciting and joyful.

• To finish the year, the choir will sing at the Senior Last Visit to the Grotto as well as numerous other events on the Graduation Weekend. In addition, we also plan to visit the Christian community at Michigan City Prison in early May.

• Finally, in mid-May the choir will make a week-long Twin Cities Tour, visiting Minneapolis, St. Paul, Red Wing, and the Chicago suburbs. In July, the choir will also sing as one of the principal ensembles at the National Pastoral Musicians' (NPM) convention in Indianapolis, IN.

As you can see, we are busy as ever. Personally, it has been an absolute privilege to serve the choir this year. Both wonderful talent and a true spirit of ministry radiate from this year's ensemble. In the coming months, we will lose 25 members to graduation. I believe that this year's senior class and the 2006-2007 officers' board have provided the Folk Choir with wonderful leadership. And while transition will be inevitable, the spirit of the choir lives on. With that in mind, it is my privilege to introduce to you your newly-elected Folk Choir president, rising-senior Miss Dyana Guthrie. Please check out her column to get a taste for what is to come in 2007-2008! In addition, know that as the choir shares prayer together each Tuesday and Thursday night, we have all of you, alumni and friends of the choir, in our hearts. Be well, and please visit us soon!

In Notre Dame,

Andy Lawton
President, Notre Dame Folk Choir