Saturday, February 2, 2008

Meet Thomas Stehle . . .

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Thomas Stehle, music director for the papal mass in Washington:

When Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass for 45,000 people at the new ballpark in Washington, D.C., a musician from Western Pennsylvania will lead the hallelujahs.

Thomas Stehle, a Butler native, will oversee a 250-voice choir, a gospel choir, a multicultural choir, a children's choir and an orchestra at the April 17 Mass. He's in sensitive negotiations with yet-to-be-identified famous singers. This is on top of his duties as director of music at a parish in Potomac, Md.

The papal post came as a surprise to Mr. Stehle, who hadn't applied. He expected it to go to a director at the cathedral or the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

"When I first heard that the pope was coming, there was a little sense of relief that I wasn't in a position where I would necessarily be called to do this," he said. "It's a wonderful honor, but the responsibility is tremendous."

He was prepared for it, he said, by years of service at parishes in the Pittsburgh area. . . . [More]