Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church Choir to sing at Carnegie Hall – Catholic Standard
Members of the choir from Jesus the Good Shepherd Church in Owings, Maryland, will sing March 27 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Covenant Community of Jesus the Good Shepherd, located in North Calvert County, will send 11 members of its choir to perform in a concert produced by Distinguished Concerts International of New York (DCINY).
Choirs from across North America – ranging from civic to philharmonic – have been invited to perform. The Jesus the Good Shepherd Choir is only one from Maryland and the only one from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington scheduled to sing in the concert.
“Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious halls in the world, both for classical music and for popular music. To be able to step onto a stage with such a story will be exciting, magical and a privilege,” said Sue Hardesty, a member of the choir for over 10 years.
The Jesus Good Shepherd Choir will sing Gabriel Fauré’s song Requiem under the direction of guest conductor Erin Freeman who is in residence at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a member of the Richmond Philharmonic Symphony and Chorus.
Faure Requiem is special for members of the Jesus the Good Shepherd Choir who sing it almost every November for the church’s annual All Saints Remembrance Mass for other church members who have died during the year elapsed. Being able to sing it at Carnegie Hall and with a 100-voice choir is even more special for singers who have only been able to do minimal singing since the pandemic began two years ago.
“One of the important lessons of the pandemic is the importance of our own lived experiences,” said Katie Evans, Music Director of Jesus the Good Shepherd. “Not being able to travel for the past two years has been difficult, but not being able to sing was even worse. The members of the choir realize that we cannot recover these lived experiences and we appreciate them all the more as performers .
Evans had submitted a recording of the choir to DCINY in 2020. The group was invited to the 2021 Carnegie Hall performance, which was ultimately canceled due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The March 27 performance will be the first major choral work DCINY has produced at Carnegie Hall in more than two years.
The event did not go smoothly, especially regarding all the COVID protocols still in place.
Because Carnegie Hall is a “vaccine-only venue,” all performers were required to provide proof of vaccinations, including booster shots based on CDC guidelines and each performer’s age. Carnegie Hall further requires all members of the public to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination. The venue is also using time-stamped entry tickets to promote social distancing.
Performers will be required to wear a mask on stage, but masks backstage and for rehearsals are still required.
“After all those hoops, it’ll still be worth saying I sang at Carnegie Hall!” said soprano Kathy Gray, a member of the Jesus the Good Shepherd Choir who is a research nurse at Annapolis.
“The Catholic Church has always promoted the fine arts. Music, of course, is no exception. In today’s world, it is more vital than ever for the Church to promote classic choral pieces that are, in fact, timeless,” said Michael J. King, pastor of Jesus the Good Shepherd. “As a pastor, I have always loved church music since I was a child. Today, I am indeed proud that the members of my parish choir have undertaken such an ambitious goal as to actively participate in this musical experience at Carnegie Hall. I am so happy for them. It will truly be a memory for a lifetime!”