Music ministry feeds the soul of first-time director

Beth Pecson of Msgr. Fee Otterson School directed the music ministry at the Aug. 30 school opening Mass for Edmonton Catholic Schools.

WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN

Beth Pecson of Msgr. Fee Otterson School directed the music ministry at the Aug. 30 school opening Mass for Edmonton Catholic Schools.

September 12, 2016
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The music ministry for Edmonton Catholic Schools' opening Masses does not happen its own. However, it springs to life with much greater ease than one might expect.

In June, Corey Nahayowski, Sandra Talarico and Beth Pecson sat down to choose the hymns based on the Scripture readings for the Aug. 30 Masses held at St. Charles and Corpus Christi churches.

For Pecson, who directed the choir for the first time this year, the meeting was followed by a recent rehearsal with the five instrumentalists and then a rehearsal Aug. 29 with the nearly 40 singers in her choir.

Despite the scant rehearsal time, the music ministry at the Corpus Christi Mass was a thing of beauty.

Musicians for this year's school opening Mass included a pianist, violinist, double-bassist and 2 flautists.

WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN

Musicians for this year's school opening Mass included a pianist, violinist, double-bassist and 2 flautists.

That's because most of the singers and musicians in the ministry also take part in their parish music ministries, Pecson said in a brief interview after the Mass. Pecson herself is the music ministry coordinator at Annunciation Parish as well as a teacher at Msgr. Fee Otterson School.

Moving the school opening Mass from the Winspear Centre, where it has been held for several years, to St. Charles and Corpus Christi churches also led to a change in the instrumentation.

Where previously the emphasis had been on brass and wind instruments, Pecson found herself with musicians playing the violin, double bass, piano and flutes. She was pleased with the results.

"This lent itself more to singing in a space like this," she said. "The acoustics in this church are just phenomenal."

While the hymns and most Mass parts are widely used and well known among parish musicians, the ministry also used a Responsorial Psalm and Gospel Alleluia composed by Nahayowski, who directed the music at the Winspear Mass for several years.

Pecson views the work that goes into preparing the music ministry as anything but a burden. "It's a real honour to be a part of the group that inspires and encourages people to fully participate in the liturgy.

"It feeds my soul," she said. "I always find joy in doing this."