Posted on April 2nd, 2017

Those heavenly sounds you heard on Friday evening emanated from St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Laguna Woods. The solemn Lenten event Stabat Mater Dolorosa “Stood the Sorrowful Mother” was performed by the forty voice 9:00am Choir of St Nicholas Church under the direction of Emett Loera with Larry Orque, Jr. accompanist. Alternating with the St. Nicholas choir was the Children’s Home School Ministry Chamber Choir, with Veronica Richards director & violinist.
The one hour choral presentation of the Way of The Cross was the St. Nicholas church’s premier performance of the original composition by St Alphonsus Liguori and opened with the St. Nicholas choir’s singing “O Dearest Lord” by David Johnson. The two choir’s performances alternated with prayer readings for each Station of the Cross. “My Song in the Night” by Mack Wilberg, a gentle and intense setting of an American folk hymn was sung by the church choir. The sweet sounds of the children’s choir rang forth with the wonderful “Ave Maria” by Tomas Luis de Victoria. The classic “The Lord is my Shepherd”, a quiet and serene, yet stirring rendition of Psalm 23 composed by John Rutter was then performed by the St Nicholas choir accompanied by violinist Veronica Richards and pianist Larry Orque Jr.
The Children’s Home School Ministry Choir performed two more pieces, “Lord Make Me to Know” by William Byrd, and “O Bone Jesu” by Giovanni da Palestrina. “Mercy”, a piece by Craig Courtney, which was commissioned by the Geneva Presbyterian Church Laguna Woods on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, was skillfully performed by the St Nicholas choir.

The evening’s program concluded with the choir’s hauntingly beautiful rendition of “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus, words by Michael Dennis Browne who said of the piece, “I was trying to suggest the consolation that can come to someone of faith, in times of great stress, as a result of prayer and an abiding belief in divine mercy.”
Nearly three-hundred parishioners and guests in attendance participated in the congregational readings throughout the program narrated by St Nicholas Church’s music director Emett Loera. The large gathering listened in silent meditation to the choral performances, but erupted in a lasting standing ovation at evening’s end. Plans are already underway for next year’s special Lenten choral event.
Andy Costello

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