Lessons learned: National Pastoral Musicians summer meeting

By Jeanine Gerlach

St. John the Evangelist Church in Ft. Pierre hosted the Rapid City NPM Chapter’s Summer 2022 meeting on June 11. Four sessions were given. First, Fr. Ron Garry led a presentation on “St. Charles de Foucauld — Conversion from Emptiness to Eucharistic Life.” Father Garry detailed Brother Charles’ compelling story in four parts, noting his service focused not on preaching the Gospel, but living it, loving people as they are, offering love and little acts of kindness to all.

Sheila Schweitzer from Timber Lake gave a presentation on “Music in Rural Parishes.” Through her years in music ministry, Schweitzer explained she’s experienced working with choirs of all sizes, or having none at all. She shared various strategies, including: 1) utilize YouTube recordings to help your choir learn a song, 2) modify music to work better, 3) connect with local community choral groups, 4) recruit students in local schools, and 5) utilize technology. Marianne Frein of Philip was the featured speaker in the chapter’s “Sage on Stage” series. With 30-plus years in music education, Frein said that music has been a part of her life from an early age, noting she has served as organist in Philip since she was in 8th grade. She told of playing organ with one hand while keeping the other hand on one of her kids, to keep them from falling over the railing in the choir loft. Frein shared some of the lessons learned during her years in ministry. These included: 1) serving the interests of the congregation rather than your own interests. 2) gratitude for parish cantors, 3) appreciating encouragement from the congregation, 4) as well as the dedication and humility of our priests.

Terry Schroeder from Rapid City facilitated a presentation on “Utilizing Music from Hymnals.” Using examples and experiences from directing members of her choir, Schroeder led attendees through a large variety of hymns, rounds, and Psalms.

Pictured: Musicians from St. John the Evangelist Church lead morning prayer. 

More News

First Sunday of Lent