By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — Musically motivated children in grades 4-6 attending St. Peter’s, St. Elizabeth’s, Christ the King, Visitation and St. Thomas More schools have a new way of sharing their talents in worship and praise, Gaudete Children’s Choir.
The Gaudete Children’s Choir will play a big part in Advent Vespers at 5 p.m., Dec. 16, at St. Elizabeth Church, 2 East 75th Street, Kansas City. Vespers will include prayers of the church, songs, readings, and moments of silence in a simple ritual to help prepare for the coming of the Christ child.
Directed by Susie Adams, St. Elizabeth parish’s music director, the Gaudete choir is named in honor of Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent. Gaudete, meaning “rejoice,” is taken from the first word of the traditional Introit. The traditional Introit is now the entrance antiphon, but the antiphon for Gaudete Sunday is still taken from Philippians 4:4 —5: “Gaudete in Domino simper.” “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
Thirteen children were registered by their parents to participate in the Gaudete Children’s Choir: Andre Bauer, homeschooled (St. Peter’s parishioner); Lucy Schmidt, St. Peter’s; Oscar Schmidt, homeschooled (St. Peter’s parishioner), Vivian Owens, St. Peter’s; Elise Malone, St. Peter’s; Juliana Valldeperas and Gabriella Valldeperas, Visitation; Genna Gignoux, St Peter’s; Audrey FitzGerald, St. Peter’s; Katie Moore, St. Peter’s; Rory Keener, St. Elizabeth’s; Erin Scanlon, St. Elizabeth’s, and Stacy Ritz, St. Elizabeth’s.
Adams, who holds a degree in Piano Performance from the University of Kansas as well as having taken private organ lessons and coursework in conducting, works with the children, helping to develop their voices. At a rehearsal Nov. 29, she took the girls and boys through a series of vocal exercises before picking up her baton. Once they were warmed up, the choristers sang four Advent carols, fine tuning harmonies and pitch. They were divided into parts for two Welsh carols woven together — an old carol and lullaby: “All through the Night” and “Lullaby Suo-Gân” (Sleep, Dear Baby). The choristers also practiced “Mary, Mary” and “Come To Us, Lord Jesus.”
Adams said the musical selections were chosen because they were “more challenging than other pieces, as well as having appropriate texts. The music is a direct reflection of the Advent season.”
The choristers work on note reading and understanding rhythm in rehearsals, which are once a week. I want them to understand the language of music, Adams said. The focus of the choir is the singing of Christ-centered liturgical music, including traditional chant and contemporary worship and praise.
“We are a liturgical choir, nothing like American Idol or the X-Factor. We all sing together,” Adams said. She pointed to the cross at the north end of the sanctuary. “We all sing together for that man up there.”
For information on Gaudete Children’s Choir, including registration and tuition, contact Erin Schmidt (816) 822-9417 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.