Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Washington choir members audition for "performance of a lifetime"

While Americans have their television sets tuned to American Idol, choir members from Washington Catholic parishes are auditioning for the performance of their lives - Meghan Tierney reports from the Maryland Gazette:

The 250-member Archdiocesan Papal Mass Choir set to perform at Pope Benedict XVI’s April 17 Mass includes two members from Mother Seton Parish in Germantown, according to Kathy Dempsey, assistant director of communications for the Archdiocese of Washington. With the exception of 13 singers from the Arlington Archdiocesan Choir, the members all hail from 83 parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington, which includes Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties. . . .

Two members of Mother Seton Parish will represent Germantown. Gaithersburg churches are also well represented, with 10 members from St. Rose of Lima, six from St. John Neumann and one from St. Martin of Tours.

About 560 people attended last month’s auditions, which were only open to singers involved with music ministry in the church, Dempsey said.


‘‘I’ve never auditioned for anything in my life, so I was scared to death,” said Linda May, 60, of Laytonsville. ‘‘...It’s beyond excitement. It’s awesome, it’s such a thrill. I’m a convert to Catholicism, so to be able to sing for the pope, it’s a shock.”

May, a legal secretary at a Gaithersburg law firm, converted in 1987, three years after she joined St. John Neumann’s choir.

She auditioned for the Papal Mass Choir at urging of her music director in Gaithersburg, Mary Lu Hartsell, who also won a spot.

According to the article, about 45,000 people are expected to attend the Washington Nationals stadium mass.