January 27, 2012

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Good music can heal hearts and souls

Shirley Vogler MeisterDuring November and December, my husband, Paul, and I were blessed to have attended many musical venues.

A special concert was held at the Indiana Landmarks Center where the Castlewood Singers presented vespers in November. A former director of the Indianapolis Maennerchor and the Murat Chanters, Gayle Byers has been the musical director and conductor of the Castlewood chorus since 1986—two years after the group was formed in Greenwood.

As some readers already know, my husband has been singing with the Indianapolis Maennerchor for more than 50 years. Whenever possible, Paul and I also attend as many musical venues as possible, and enjoy everything from classical music to bluegrass music and other types in between.

In December, Paul and I and several of our Catholic friends attended the spectacular presentation of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” the Duke Energy Yuletide Celebration, at the Hilbert Circle Theater in downtown Indianapolis.

We also enjoyed another holiday concert at Butler University in Indianapolis, which was presented by the School of Music at Clowes Memorial Hall.

Both concerts were professional and memorable. These venues came through as more than just exemplary. They were beautifully done in ways that still make me smile when I remember various performances.

One evening, we also attended a North Central High School concert in Indianapolis that took our breath away because of such a spectacular performance by the school’s talented students.

Actually, everyone in the auditorium realized that what we were experiencing was extraordinary talent by such young musicians. Paul and I thought the students were all very professional.

When I attended the Academy of Notre Dame High School in my hometown of Belleville, Ill., I joined the school band as one of my extracurricular studies.

As I think back about our concerts and compare them with most music students’ performances now, I would call North Central High School’s concert a truly memorable and delightful experience. Paul also thought it was wonderful.

Now I regret that through the years I did not attend concerts at the Catholic schools because our daughters were not playing instruments. How I wish that I had attended such Catholic school venues even though our daughters didn’t participate in those programs.

I urge parents to take as many opportunities as possible to encourage children to enjoy music, play a musical instrument and enthusiastically contribute in some way to help Catholic schools excel in music, too.

Those students will surely then become members of their church choirs and help to make beautiful music for Masses.

I love to hear the music in our parish, and I complement all parishes that offer excellent, prayerful and beautiful music to enhance the liturgy.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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