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NPM celebrates the local chapter’s 30th anniversary

A 30th anniversary celebration was held on Oct. 8-9 for the Rapid City Chapter of National Pastoral Musicians. About 50 music ministers gathered in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, cathedral hall, for a program featuring Dr. Dan Girardot from Austin, Texas, the fall business meeting, banquet, and commissioning of music ministers by Bishop Peter Muhich.

Dr. Girardot is a professor of music and liturgy, cantor, choral clinician, and a choir conductor. On the evening of Oct. 8, he led a retreat for the attendees, “Awake the Soul: Music Ministry as a Spiritual Practice.”

The following day he led workshops including presentations on music during the COVID pandemic, small choirs, and music reading. During the day there was singing and a silent auction fundraiser as well. At the noontime St. Cecilia catered banquet, awards and recognition certificates for years of service were given out. It is named for St. Cecilia — a patron saint of music and musicians.

Since the pandemic prevented the chapter from holding the awards banquet last year, two awards were given for the St. Cecilia award for laity and for the clergy. The St. Cecilia award for laity went to Regena Thrall, Our Lady of the Black Hills, Piedmont; and Cheryl Lawrence from Holy Rosary, Trail City and Holy Cross, Timber Lake. The clergy awards went to Fr. Ron Gary, St. John the Evangelist, Ft. Pierre, and Fr. Andrzej Wryostek, OLBH, Piedmont.

Also, two awards were given for the Peggy Langenfeld Memorial. Winners were Peggy Lovrien and Bonnie Josten both from Blessed Sacrament, Rapid City. Jana Harris from St. Mary parish in Isabel was recognized as this year’s Emerging Music Minister. Caleb Quinn, Holy Cross, Timber Lake, won the Emerging Youth Music Minister award. Several people were given certificates of recognition for 10, 25, 40 or 50 years of service.

According to a chapter history written by Bonnie Josten, “The chapter celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, however, its origins in our diocese started over 40 years ago. In the mid-to late 1970s, the choir directors at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Therese of the Little Flower Church, and Blessed Sacrament Church (all in Rapid City) acted on a suggestion from Peggy Langenfeld from cathedral parish to attend a convention in Chicago, to be held in spring 1979.  It was put on by a new organization for Catholic musicians called NPM — National Association of Pastoral Musicians. With funding provided by their parishes, Peggy Langenfeld, Jackie Schnittgrund and Therese Kaiser attended the convention.”

Ongoing attendance issues led to the dissolution of the chapter in 1988; however, it was revived in 1989 as a temporary chapter — permanent chapter status was restored in 1991.

Over the years, the Rapid City Chapter has hosted meetings on a variety of topics for instrumentalists and vocalists. A decade ago, when there was a national focus on copyright infringement, training on use of Worship Aids and copyright regulations were provided.

The chapter has been represented at the national level by Jackie Schnittgrund, who was appointed to the newly formed NPM Council for Chapters in 1999. This council set policy for and governed all chapters across the United States.  She was awarded NPM Chapter Leader of the Year at the 2012 national NPM convention in Pittsburgh. Schnittgrund was encouraged to serve as Co-Chair of the National Committee for NPM Chapters, and in 2014 she was one of the recipients of the NPM Leaders of the Year award. In 2009, her daughter, Tammy Schnittgrund, was appointed to the national NPM Cantor Certification Commission.

The highlight of 2019 was the Rapid City NPM Chapter being awarded the NPM Chapter of the Year.

The Rapid City NPM Chapter website is www.npmrc.org.