The 10 AM Mass at Christ the Redeemer this past Sunday was a little more special than usual. It was the Fifth Sunday in Easter, as it was everywhere else in the Catholic Church. As such, the Great 50 Days of celebration from Easter to Pentecost was in full swing. The parish had just recently celebrated its first Catechist and Religious Education Volunteer Dinner two nights before. That event brought together over 80 catechists and volunteers from the Spanish and English language programs to enjoy a catered event as the Religious Education year came to a close.
Today's Mass also brought to a close the year of music ministry provided by the Children's Choir, which is made up of children in grades 2-6. Diane Kingsbury, the recently retired Director of Music at the parish came back to fill in as the accompanist on piano and organ under the direction of Adrienn Salazaar. Ms. Salazaar pulled out all the stops for a brief recital before the Mass began. Several choral arrangements were performed, a "greatest hits" of some of the hymns and tunes that the children had sung throughout the liturgical year as well as a few newer ones. It also featured children instrumentalists playing violin and harp and a trio of choral voices from the most senior members of the group. Ms. Salazaar also added her gift as a violin virtuoso.
During the Mass, two children celebrated their First Communion, making the Mass even more memorable. Before the final dismissal, Fr. Ken Cienik, SA the celebrant for this mass offered his thanks and praise for the group he affectionately refers to as "the Munchkin Choir." He also singled out and presented plaques to a singing trio of 6th Grade girls (Claire Salazaar, Amanda Casta, Victoria Yacobucci) who will be moving on to the Youth Choir for the next musical year.
After Mass, an end of year party sponsored by the choir families was held in the Pastoral Wing of the church. Ms. Salazaar and Ms. Kingsbury were on hand to present each child with a medal and certificate. Ms. Kingsbury remarked that this was the largest Children's Choir ever assembled in her 20+ years at the parish. Harvesta Greene Williams, the former DRE for K-6 also made an appearance at the party to congratulate the group on their successful year, but more importantly to thank them for the work they do in music ministry. Fr. Ken Cienik also passed by briefly prior to his duties for the upcoming 12 noon Mass.
The Children's Choir normally rehearses on Monday evenings from 5pm-6pm during the Religious Education Year and sings at least once a month at the 10 AM Mass. They most recently provided music ministry in a combined choir for the Parish First Communion Celebration held two weeks ago. The Youth Choir, comprised of Grade 7-12 students also met this year on Mondays from 7pm-8pm immediately after Monday Religious Education classes for Grades 7-8. Adrienn Salazaar, who directs the Youth Choir, also took on the Children's Choir after Diane Kingsbury retired in February of this year. A new Director of Music has been hired and will begin her position officially sometime over the summer.