Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 3, 2008
Local singer chosen for Eucharistic Congress choir
English-born Jean Sult says music was her gateway to God
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Music is one of the most beautiful creations of God."
Sult, a mother of two, is also excited about the education that she hopes to get at the congress.
"The Eucharist is a mystery," she said. "I'm particularly interested in the aspects of love - love of the Father, love of Jesus and how that can translate into loving my neighbour basically."
A native of Great Britain, Sult studied violin, voice and piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1964 she moved to Canada, married her husband Julius, a Hungarian-Canadian, and converted to Catholicism.
She continued her musical studies at McGill University and graduated with a bachelor in music in 1971. She spent the next 30 years teaching music history and heading the choral department at Vanier College in Montreal.
The Sults moved to Edmonton in 2001 when Julius got a job here.
"I love music very much," Sult said. "It's my life. I've been involved in music since I can remember.
"I started to sing when I was a very young child. I started playing violin when I was 11. I sang in orchestras. I sang as often as I could. I always knew that my vocation was in the voice."
Even though Sult didn't have much opportunity for choral singing in her career, she loves to sing in the Church every time she gets a chance.
"Music is one of the most beautiful creations of God," she said. "For me it was the gateway to God (as a child)."
When Sult was a small child, her mom married a Protestant gentleman who took her to the Anglican Church where she heard organ music for the first time.
"I was absolutely transformed by these hymns and to this day, those hymns that I learned as a child are the dearest in my heart," she recalled.
"I'm so glad now that many of those hymns are sung in the Catholic Church. I was touched by the music, by the ritual."
That childhood experience fostered Sult's love of music. She enjoyed the music classes in school and when she got an opportunity to study violin, she grabbed it.
"It was a ticket into a finer level of music for me," she explained. "I did not actually remain as a violinist.
"I dropped it very soon after arriving in Canada in fact. But it was my ticket to education."
In Montreal, Sult led the choir of the Hungarian Catholic Church. She has been leading the occasional choir at St. Emeric's Hungarian Parish in Edmonton for several years as well. She is also involved in liturgy at St. Emeric's and is the parish's volunteer secretary.
The archdiocesan choir Sult leads is made up of anywhere from 20 to 70 members and performs at major archdiocesan celebrations, including the Rite of Election and the Chrism Mass, which this year will be celebrated March 17.
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