Diocesan Choir presents its first Youth Pastoral Musician Scholarship Awards Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Dick Jones, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, May. 31, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Scholarship winners
Winners of the first Madison Diocesan Choir Youth Pastoral Musician Scholarship Awards pictured with Linda Galang, left, scholarship committee chair, and Dr. Patrick Gorman, right, choir director, are, from left: Elizabeth White, St. Patrick Parish, Cottage Grove; Elizabeth TenBarge, St. Thomas Parish, Poynette; Laura Hinterberg, St. Maria Goretti Parish, Madison; and Mary Hsu, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Madison. (Dick Jones photo)

MADISON -- In the first year of a promising initiative, the Madison Diocesan Choir presented Youth Pastoral Musician Scholarship Awards to four students, double the number anticipated, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.

The scholarship winners are Laura Hinterberg, St. Maria Goretti Parish, Madison; Mary Hsu, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Madison; Elizabeth TenBarge, St. Thomas Parish, Poynette, and Elizabeth White, St. Patrick Parish, Cottage Grove.

The recipients were honored during the choir's spring concert, "For All the Saints," held on May 18, in the chapel at Holy Name Heights.

Program off to 'great start'

Earlier this year, the choir announced plans to expand its music ministry and encouraged students, middle and high school, to apply for the scholarships, two awards of $500 each, that could be used to attend an approved summer music clinic.

At that time, Linda Galang, chair of the choir scholarship committee, said the scholarships were for students involved in their parish music programs. By encouraging and supporting stu-dents in this way, the choir wanted to help ensure a new generation of liturgical musicians, as members of their church choirs or choir accompanists.

Not long after the announcement, an anonymous donor stepped forward with a $1,000 contribution, which allowed the choir to award four scholarships instead of two. At a recent annual meeting of the choir, Galang said the initiative was off to a great start.

"We're super excited," Galang said in reporting on the program and the donation with a hope that others might contribute as well.

Response from applicants

Choir Director Dr. Patrick Gorman was equally impressed by the initial response to the scholarship program. He said Galang and others on the committee were careful in structuring the program, setting it on a path to achieve its primary goal, and a fair number of eligible students submitted applications.

"All of the applicants were really very, very good," Gorman said. "The goal was to support young musicians who are involved in their music ministry. We didn't just throw it open to any high school or middle school youth. We wanted it to be somebody who was active in their music ministry to whatever extent. Maybe they play violin once a month at Mass."

Summer music clinics, camps

The committee on behalf of the choir also took care to specify what music clinics, camps, or organizations it would approve, and youth responded.

"Some of them applied to the National Catholic Youth Choir, which is a fabulous organization," Gorman said. Others sought the pastoral stipend to attend University of Wisconsin campus clinics, such as the UW-Madison and UW-Whitewater clinics.

"These are very reputable camps, where the kids will go for a week in residence and work with professional musicians, both studying and taking lessons, playing in ensembles, and studying some basics of music, such as music theory," Gorman said. While earning his doctorate at UW-Madison, Gorman taught at its summer music clinic.

Three of the winners plan to attend the UW-Madison summer music clinic: Hinterberg, who plays the clarinet at St. Maria Goretti; Hsu, who plays violin at Queen of Peace; and TenBarge, who plays violin at St. Thomas Parish in Poynette. White, a cantor at St. Patrick Parish in Cottage Grove, plans to attend the UW-Whitewater clinic.

"So it's a really good thing, to put our money where our mouth is, if we want young people to continue, and not just to continue, but to really flourish," Gorman said. "We really have no idea whether any of these kids will, when they grow up, be church musicians, or play in a parish ensemble, or sing with the parish choir. Our hope is that they will, wherever they are, and that it's going to benefit the Church, whether it's here or in another diocese."

Other possibilities

Gorman said to his knowledge, no other diocese had such a scholarship initiative. The success of the youth pastoral program has encouraged him to think of other ways to support parish music ministries, such as programs to support and encourage organists.

What prompted the idea for the youth scholarships in part, according to Gorman, was the 2016 Lessons & Carols service that featured St. Maria Goretti Catholic School students, the Cardinal Cantors, as special musical guests. Following their performance, he said people started talking about the possibility of scholarships.

During the choir's annual meeting, President Arlene Michaels credited fellow soprano Barbara Provenzano with the idea. In talking with Provenzano during a break in rehearsal, Provenzano suggested a scholarship program for youth.

"It just shows how somebody's idea, when put in the hands of people willing to run with it, is really going to be a benefit to the Church," Gorman said.

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