Detroit— The Archdiocesan Chorus is inviting people from Metro Detroit to be part of its historic opportunity to sing at Mass with Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica on January 6, 2016, the Feast of the Epiphany. The chorus, which in March received the invitation from the Vatican, is encouraging the public to attend events, contribute to crowdsourcing to provide scholarships to their musicians, and even to come along with the chorus on its pilgrimage to the Vatican.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity to sing for the Holy Father. Since Pope Francis isn’t planning to come to Detroit this year, we will bring Detroit to Pope Francis!” said Joe Balistreri, Director of Music for the Archdiocese of Detroit, who conducts the chorus. “We really see this trip as an opportunity to represent not just our choir or even just the Archdiocese, but all of Southeast Michigan. We’d like people to celebrate with us, to enjoy sacred music with us, to support us, and to even come with us. This will be an inspiring and life-changing experience. We need help to make it a reality, but we also see a great opportunity to invite others into the excitement.”
The chorus is made up of 40 members from throughout Metro Detroit, all of whom volunteer their talents. Many are college students or music ministers at local churches, which makes fundraising necessary for the chorus to accept Pope Francis’s invitation. The Archdiocesan Chorus has established a crowdsourcing campaign with a goal of $30,000 on indiegogo.com.
“Choirs are like sports teams. They only perform well when everyone is present,” said Balistreri. “We certainly want to sound our best for Pope Francis. Since this is an all-volunteer group — and especially since many of the singers can’t afford transportation to and lodging in Rome —we need help to make sure the whole chorus can go.”
To show people just how good helping the chorus can sound, the Archdiocesan Chorus will be singing at a Mass Mob event at St. Matthew Church in Detroit at 10 AM on June 7, and having an Roman-themed dinner for $50-per-plate at the same location a week later, at 7 p.m. on June 13. The evening will feature the group’s musical talents and a silent auction. It also will feature the culinary talents of the Chorus; attendees will have the chance to participate in a pasta sauce competition.
For those interested in experiencing Rome themselves, the chorus invites them to join the eight-day pilgrimage to the Vatican from Jan. 4-11. The early-booking cost is $3,800, including travel, four-star accommodations, and a $200 contribution toward chorus travel expenses.
To hear samples of the Archdiocesan Chorus, to support the chorus, to follow along on social media, and for full details on upcoming events, visit www.aod.org/chorus.n/a