A Columbus church choir that performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall two years ago will sing at two services in Rome with Pope Francis this week.
Members also will enjoy an audience with the pontiff with thousands of others at the Vatican on Thursday morning.
Twenty-nine singers from the St. Bartholomew Catholic Church choir will sing in Latin during a Mass for the installation of Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin as a cardinal, along with the installation of other cardinals, in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday. The choir also will be a part of an outdoor service before an expected 50,000 people with the Sistine Chapel Choir in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday morning.
St. Bartholomew’s week-long trip is part of a musical pilgrimage organized by Michigan’s Classic Performances of Corporate Travel and the Sistine Chapel Choir, said Bogdan Minut, St. Bartholomew’s director of music ministry since 2006. They invited the local Catholics partly after knowing of their visit to Carnegie Hall to perform with other choirs — including members of Fairlawn Presbyterian Church of Columbus — under noted British choral conductor John Rutter.
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Classic Performances of Corporate Travel also organized that one-of-a-kind trip.
St. Bartholomew will be one of 12 American choirs singing at the two services with the pope, Minut said. Seventeen other non-vocalists, including family and friends, also will make the trip with the local choir.
“This singing is simply part of our spiritual journey and service,” Minut said. “My hope in my time at St. Bartholomew always has been to grow the choir in numbers and in our quality.”
Camilla Gehring, a longtime local professional singer and a member of the choir, is excited about the opportunity. Husband Jon will accompany her.
“Just to get to sing at such a glorious place as St. Peter’s Basilica, that’s pretty darned special,” Gehring said. “Most people going there for a Mass don’t get a real chance to sing because the music is in Latin, and it is not in front of them.
“And to be able to sing for the archbishop’s installation makes it even more special, because we all know Archbishop Tobin.”
The choir included two of its Vatican trip pieces in a concert Nov. 5 at St. Bartholomew. One song the local ensemble will sing is “Hymn for the Holy Year of Mercy” at the Sunday service. Minut said it already is becoming something of an international faith-oriented anthem.
“It’s very, very profound spiritually,” he said.