The music went on during fall semester

Tom Koester, assistant director of Campus Ministry for Liturgical Music

During the fall 2020 semester, the Marquette University Liturgical Choir was forced to find creative ways to keep singing! The choir sought to continue their musical work while keeping the choir community together, engaged and challenged.

One of the ways the choir pursued this goal was by making virtual choir recordings on Bandlab, a free app that allows singers to use their mobile phones and laptops to create ensemble music. Most of the recordings made during the semester were for the purpose of providing music for the Liturgies.

As a final project that sought to encourage experimentation and student creativity, I decided that students should work together in small groups to put together their own projects using Bandlab.

The purpose of the project was to allow students to become their own recording producers and to explore the options of the application. Groups of two to three students searched for music arrangements, recruited singers, rehearsed virtually on Teams, recorded their parts, and mixed. tracks using any of the many options provided by the app. They were able to involve singers in the choir and even non-members as instrumentalists.

Here is just one outstanding example of the many projects:

The above video features Pie Jesu by composer Victor C. Johnson. The Liturgical Choir members who presented the piece are Jenna Grieshop, Engineering ’21 Lauren Pfeifer, Business ’23, Ari Manta, Health Sciences ’23 | Text and translation: Pie Jesu (Merciful Jesus) Qui tollis peccata mundi (who takes away the sins of the world.) Dona eis requiem. (grant us peace)

Thank you, student musicians for providing liturgical music!

We are grateful for the following students who have generously committed their time and skills in providing prayerful music for Tuesday and Thursday 10 p.m. Masses in the Chapel of the Holy Family this semester.

  • Jackie Gerhardson, senior, Biomedical Engineering, and a minor in Computer Engineering
  • Emily Kivland, grad student, Physical Therapy Doctorate program
  • Carissa Burnes, senior, Secondary Education and Broad Field Science with a Concentration in Biology and a minor in Chemistry
  • Collin Wrobel, senior, Computer Science and Mathematics
  • Edward Dold, grad student, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Gabriella Accardi, freshman, Computer Engineering
  • Claire Conger, senior, Exercise Physiology & Physical Therapy Doctorate Program
  • Patrick Sheehan, grad student, Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Charles Peterson, freshman, Political Science (Thursday night 10 p.m. Mass)
  • Dominique Vazquez, senior, Education and Theology (Thursday night 10 p.m. Mass)

Student reflects on semester of liturgical music

Jackie Gerhardson, Engineering ’21 (pictured above on left) shared this reflection on what it has been like to provide music ministry in a time when singing has not been permitted:

Switching over to providing music in a voice free environment has been challenging and a bit saddening at times. I think we all miss the typical excitement and joy when our favorite hymn comes on and we are engulfed in a church full of voices praising the Lord.

However, being able to adapt and still provide music in this new environment (even though it is recorded ahead of time) still allows us musicians to make a joyful noise unto the Lord and I think it helps those attending mass connect to God in a musical way (different from the busyness of everyday life and the silence of reflection). And at least for me, music always brings a smile and a little bit of encouragement.

If just one more person has a better experience praising God through the music we make, that makes all the effort and discomfort worth it. Until the day we can all sing together again...

Are you interested in using your musical gifts by joining the Marquette University Campus Ministry Gospel Choir or Liturgical Choir or Instrumentalists this spring semester? Email Tom Koester, director of the liturgical choir (Thomas Koester ( with your interest for the joining the Liturgical Choir or Instrumentalists and email Steve Burks, director of the Gospel Choir ( for your interest in the Gospel Choir.




Faith at Marquette University | Mission & Ministry, Campus Ministry, and the Faber Center: encouraging Marquette’s pillar and tradition of faith.

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Faith at Marquette

Faith at Marquette

Faith at Marquette University | Mission & Ministry, Campus Ministry, and the Faber Center: encouraging Marquette’s pillar and tradition of faith.

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