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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Our Lady of Lourdes Church Choir to pilgrimage to Italy

  • Our Lady of Lourdes Church Choir is going on the road again.

    The group will be making a 10-day pilgrimage to Italy from Dec. 29, 2013, to Jan. 7, 2014.

    “This was a big surprise to us,” said choir director Carol Cook. “We had not known we were going again so soon.”

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  • Our Lady of Lourdes Church Choir is going on the road again.
    The group will be making a 10-day pilgrimage to Italy from Dec. 29, 2013, to Jan. 7, 2014.
    “This was a big surprise to us,” said choir director Carol Cook. “We had not known we were going again so soon.”
    But that was before she received a letter on behalf of His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Comastri, Archpriest of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, General Vicar of the Vatican City, president of the Fabric of St. Peter and honorary president of the Fondazione Pro Music e Arte Sacra, inviting the choir to return to the Eternal City.
    “This will be our third trip to Rome and the third pope we’ll sing for,” said Buddy Gorentz. “The first two times were arranged by our tour agency.”
    He is a choir member and he and wife Patti will serve as tour leaders.
    “I call them the wranglers,” Cook said.
    The choir was given the choice of several dates when it would come, and chose the Papal Mass (Feast of the Epiphany) at 10 a.m. Jan. 6 at St. Peter’s Basilica. Also singing at this service will be the Sistine Chapel Choir.
    The choir sang for Pope John Paul II in 1999 and for Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, and had thought they would be singing for him again. However, Benedict formally resigned the papacy on Feb. 13.
    Cook is delighted that the new pope has taken the name of her patron saint.
    “To me, St. Francis represents everything that is loving and kind,” she said.
    The choir has also been invited to be the principal choir singing Jan. 5 at a Solemn Mass at the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter  at the Vatican.
    “We embrace the opportunity of serving in this role of musical leadership at the Vatican with a sense of honor, humility and great gladness,” Cook said.
    Also on Jan. 5, the choir will sing in a formal public concert for the City of  Rome at the Church of St. Ignatius.
    The tour schedule will also include Masses at the Cathedral in Naples, the Abbey of Montecasino and the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Amalfi or St. Matthew in Salerno.
    There will also be plenty of sightseeing, including an excursion to the Isle of Capri, the Amalfi coast and many Christian sacred sites.
    Cook said that around 100 people are planning to take the pilgrimage, and only about half of them will actually be singing with the choir.
    “I would very much like a choir of about 50, and we’ve got people coming from Kansas City, Joplin, Parsons, St. Paul, Arma, even Maryland, to sing with us,” she said. “But all are welcome to come on the trip and you don’t have to sing.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Those who do sing will have some practicing ahead of them. Cook has prepared musical selections that she describes as a patchwork quilt covering the Roman Catholic Church through the ages and all the nations that it has touched.
    “We’ll range from a Gregorian chant to contemporary music, and of course include works by Hildegard von Bingen,” Cook said.
    The Vatican will also have its own musical requirements.
    “They will send us the parts for their Latin Mass, which we will have to learn,” Gorentz said.  “People who aren’t close will have their music in hand and be able to work on it on their own and attend rehearsals when they can.”
    Cook said there would be a lot of “intense rehearsals” during the summer.
    “We work hard, but we enjoy ourselves,” she said.
    The choir has made several tours. In addition to trips to Italy in 1999 and 2010, the group also traveled to Germany, Austria, Slovenia, the Salzburg  Music Festival and Italy in 2003, Spain, Portugal and France in 2006 and Mexico in 2008.
    Cook has been Our Lady of Lourdes Church Choir director since around 1994 or 1995, when she and her late husband, Bob Cook, converted to Catholicism.
    “Almost immediately after I converted, they asked me to direct the choir,” Cook said. “I directed my first choir when I was in my 20s.”
    She also sings and is a violinist who played for many years in the Springfield, Mo., Symphony.
    “I’ve not known anything in my life but music, performing it or teaching it,” Cook said.
    An informational meeting about the trip for those interested in going either as singers or pilgrims will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 5 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Interested persons may contact Cook at 231-2063 or  Buddy and Patti Gorentz at 232-3337.
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