Youth Music Ministry Changes and News

Posted: 8/31/2016

Many will remember that I wrote in the summer issue of The Dove about our Children's and Youth Choirs, and invited all families to consider participating in this important ministry of growth and service as we enter our fourth full season. About a month ago, after the publication of that piece, I received the sad news that Bill Gordon is leaving Holy Comforter to take a position at a Presbyterian Church in Deerfield with a large and long-established music program involving children and teenagers. It is impossible to convey how grateful the entire parish is-and especially his colleagues on the staff and, most particularly, the families involved in choir these past three years-for Bill's marvelous and inspiring leadership, and we certainly pray him all joy and fulfillment in his new position. He will be missed by many of us at Holy Comforter.

I am delighted, however, to be able to announce that we have an interim choir director for the younger groups: Stephen Mollica will lead the choirs beginning in September. Stephen is already familiar with Holy Comforter, and vice versa, as he has been one of our professional tenors for several years. He has a bachelor's degree in music composition and a master's in vocal performance, and is an active performer in the Chicago area, working with, among other organizations, the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Stephen has taught private voice to young people and has worked in the Tampa school system. In addition, he grew up singing in choirs from a very early age, and still remembers with great fondness transformational teachers and conductors he knew as a young person. Stephen is excited about the challenges and opportunities of this coming season, and brings to the position of interim director a lively faith, a joyful and playful personality that the kids will love, and a keen sense that he has been called to this ministry by God.

There is going to be a party to say farewell to Bill and hello to Stephen on Thursday, September 8, at 4:00. All former and returning choristers and their parents are invited to attend, and all families interested in the music program are also strongly encouraged to participate, as well!

My prayer is that all choristers who have been involved in the choir program will continue, of course, and that many more will join. As I intimated in the summer Dove, being in a church choir is, quite literally, one of the most stimulating and fruitful activities young people can experience, and something that can forge friendships, as well as a life-long love of music, that can continue for decades to come. We will be sending a letter to all families with young children in the coming weeks about the rehearsal schedule, but for now, please welcome Stephen Mollica to his new ministry, and ponder once again the end of my July article: If you have been wondering whether you should encourage your child(ren) to take part in choir, the answer is an unqualified "YES." I would be glad to talk to anyone who has questions about our music ministry with and for young people, or who is even remotely curious about the program. This is the year to get involved!

Fr. Jason