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Hymn festival to celebrate 175 years of Saint Mary’s

| Friday, September 6, 2019

As Saint Mary’s celebrates the 175th anniversary of its founding in 1844, events commemorating the College’s history have been occurring throughout the calendar year. The next in the series, an ecumenical Marian hymn festival titled “Mary, Bearer of the Eternal Word,” will take place at 3 p.m. in the Church of Loretto on Sunday.

“A hymn festival is designed to highlight a lot of hymns,” said Trevis Young, campus minister for liturgical music at the College. “In this instance, there are 12 hymns.”

While most Catholic Masses and Protestant services feature three or four hymns alongside other forms of celebration, this event is primarily focused on the hymns, he said.

“These hymns serve as an anthem for us about something we believe,” he said. “All the hymns in this festival are about Mary, the namesake of the College.”

According to Young, the hymns come from different Christian denominations and explore the many views of Mary.

“Usually at a hymn festival, the congregation sings,” he said. “There is a lead choir, which in this case is the South Bend Chamber Singers.”

This soprano, alto, tenor and bass (SATB) choir consists of singers from the Michiana area and is the ensemble in residence at Saint Mary’s, according to its website.

“They will help the congregation to sing, but they will not sing any one hymn as a solo performance,” Young said.

He said hymn festivals often have music interspersed with other actions, such as liturgical actions or conveyance of information about the music’s history or composers.

“In this instance, our readings are related to the text but don’t speak specifically about the hymn,” he said. “We chose things that highlight Mary through a variety of different voices.”

Among the readings will be words of Pope Francis and Sr. Madeleva Wolff, a former president of the College.

Musical accompaniment will be either organ or piano, Young said, and brass instruments will accompany a few of the hymns.

“It’s a unique experience, and it’s a fun way to think about a theme — in this instance it’s Mary — through word and song,” he said.

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