by Tom Koester, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry and Director of the Liturgical Choir
It was a full year (almost) of joyful work and serious fun! Weekly 2-hour rehearsals each Wednesday in the Chapel of the Holy Family in preparation for 6pm Sunday Campus Ministry Masses. A year that was cut short, yet filled with activity: a December Lessons and Carols, spiritual formation & bonding — a weekend retreat on a lake in the Northern Kettle Moraine, a January over-night at Holy Hill — with post-rehearsal choir family dinners, sectional outings, outreach and service projects. Just enough of a year to squeeze in several bake sales to build funds for a great end of year celebration — the Choir Banquet!
The Choir Council year, active in all aspects of the community life of the choir, normally ramps up with a crescendo of activity toward this final shindig! The location — a banquet room off campus when the choir coffers allow it — maybe the ritzy Hilton hotel in downtown Milwaukee. It’s normally a dressy affair with men in sport coats and ties and women in evening dresses. There are invited dates and friends, a catered dinner. There are heart-felt words of appreciation, superlatives, a slide show retrospective complete with soundtrack, and to really celebrate — a perfectly compiled playlist, and DANCING!
It seems impossible that any of that could have taken place in this year when students were sheltering at home and laboring to complete classes online apart from their beloved Marquette. Yet even from family kitchen tables and cozy bedrooms, choir members were able to turn out for an amazing “Virtual Choir Banquet!” Tuning in on Zoom with their well-honed skills at distance learning, the choir was able to continue many of their time — honored traditions, thanks to the Choir Council.
The dress may have been a do-it-yourself mix of PJs, bow ties, hoodies, and dressy dresses. Dinner may have been a bag of Doritos or a boxed pizza just out of the oven, still — on May 1st at 6pm CST, the celebration was ON! It began with personal reflections: “I thank you God for this choir and for having it be such a big part of my Marquette experience;” “Liturgical choir is a hidden diamond!” “This choir brings together the most loving and accepting people I have ever met. “I am inspired and challenged to be a better person by the group and each individual.” It moved on to a very slick slide show featuring scenes and highlights of the year, followed by dead-on superlatives, (Most Likely to Solve a Global Issue: Emily Olsen; Future Soccer Dad: Alec Huynh; Biggest Supporters of “Lit Choir — On Ice!”: Jenna Grieshop & Dominique Vazquez.)
The final dance — well, that would have to wait. Still, this was one last chance to celebrate accomplishments and to bask in the glow of familiar faces beaming from laptop screens. Faces of friends that had grown close over the course of something just short of a full school year. With waves, some tears, and big smiles, we closed out a very unusual Liturgical Choir season.
Student Perspective: 2020 Liturgical Choir Virtual Banquet
by Jenna Grieshop, Biomedical Engineering ‘20
The choir banquet is usually what we all look forward to and fundraise for throughout the year. We usually rent a space, dress up fancy, and have it catered. There are usually small speeches given by the president, vice president, and Tom. We also give out senior gifts, award superlatives, watch a slideshow, and thank the council members. We eat, take pictures, and usually dance. It is the last time the lit choir is all together, and it is a big celebration.
This year we obviously couldn’t have a normal banquet, so we decided to try a virtual banquet. It was on Friday May 1 at 6pm over a zoom meeting. Roughly 20 members gathered together to celebrate the past year of lit choir and get together for the last time. We heard from our president Ellie, our vice president Becky, and our director Tom. Then the seniors shared sentiments about what lit choir has meant to them over the years and said their farewell. We awarded the superlatives which the choir had voted on, we watched our slideshow of pictures from throughout the year, and we ended in prayer.
We couldn’t decide if we should dress up like normal or have a pajama party, so some of us were in ties and gowns while others had bathrobes on. It was pretty funny. We also got to see Tom’s dog on camera which was super cute. It was really nice to see everyone and look back on the year together.