By Celine Klosterman
Delores Scheetz said singing has always been her first love.
“They say when you sing, you pray twice, and I’ve always loved that idea,” said the member of St. Mary Parish in Oxford.
So she looks forward to the “privilege” of being able to sing at Masses in a diocesan music ensemble the Diocese of Davenport’s Office of Liturgy is working to form. The office is seeking singers and instrumentalists to lead music for liturgies such as the Chrism Mass, ordination Masses and the Rite of Election.
“I’m hoping it will take the assembly to the next level of their relationship with God,” said Kay Temple. She’s a master of ceremonies for Bishop Martin Amos and launched efforts to form the ensemble as part of her education at Loras College in Dubuque, where she’s working toward a master’s degree in theology.
Ensembles from St. Mary Parish in Iowa City, St. Ambrose University in Davenport and other institutions have led music at past diocesan Masses. But a diocesan group “is a way to unify the diocese for celebrations,” said Deacon Frank Agnoli, diocesan directory of liturgy. “It can be a tangible sign that we are a diocese, not just 80 parishes.”
The ensemble wouldn’t be the first diocesan musical group. A diocesan Centennial Choir formed for the diocese’s 100th anniversary celebration in 1981, and sang at ordination Masses and other diocesan liturgies for a few subsequent years, said Janet Thomas. She is a member of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport who took part in the choir.
Over recent years, Deacon Agnoli and Temple had explored parishioners’ interest in a diocesan ensemble. “In our travels, we’ve seen a lot of talent,” said Temple, who assists with parish and diocesan Masses throughout southeast Iowa. But though some Catholics voiced interest in a diocesan group, they hesitated at the idea of traveling throughout southeast Iowa to rehearse, she said.
So she hopes participants would be able to practice most often to CD-recorded music at home, and minimize the number of full rehearsals.
Early this week, 26 people had expressed interest in an ensemble, in response to an e-mail Temple sent throughout the diocese.
She and Deacon Agnoli hope an ensemble would be able to lead music at diocesan liturgies beginning early next year.
To take part, e-mail her at email@example.com by Oct. 1.