Music Ministry Promotes Inclusivity Through Worship

by Lauren Schuster, Staff Writer

While there are many different performing arts groups on campus, the Manhattan College Music Ministry gets the chance to shine in their own right each week as the group comes together to sing and play instruments at Sunday Mass in the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers.

Junior Allison Powers is a member of the executive board that helps put the Mass music together each week.

“I am the sound technician, so basically I am in charge of balancing sounds for music ministry to make sure that what we’re singing is balanced, so that you’re hearing all sections of music ministry equally and it sounds uniform,” Powers said.

For Powers, Music Ministry gives her a chance to worship with her school community in her own unique way.

“Throughout music ministry, we have singers and we have instrumentalists, and we come together and we sing songs revolved around the teachings of the Church,” Powers said. “It’s really great, it’s a lot of fun. We come together and it’s a really great way to worship in a different way than just normal prayer.”

The director of Music Ministry, Andrew Bauer, has been working to grow the group over the past eight years, and has seen great success.

“When I started here, Music Ministry was very small, we had maybe about seven or eight kids in Music Ministry. There was a guitar player, we had a couple of clarinet players that played, and then we had a very small group of singers, there were like five people, and I remember their names, it was great, they were all great people,” Bauer said. “Then little by little it just started taking off because I started introducing them to a more contemporary church kind of sound using different elements of music … The numbers in Music Ministry grew exponentially, so now, last year I think we had 45 instrumentalists and singers, which is really big for a music ministry, and I think it’s a great thing that we do.”

Freshman Luis Chavez has enjoyed the new experiences and new community that being a part of Music Ministry in his first semester of college has brought him so far.

“You don’t really have to audition for Music Ministry, it’s just if you’d like to try and either exercise your faith or you come just because you want to get better at singing or just because you want to try your best with another group of people, I think it just helps,” Chavez said.

Chavez has found Music Ministry to be very welcoming to people with many varying levels of musical training.

“I think one thing that really sets [Music Ministry] apart, at least from the other [performing arts groups] that I’ve heard of so far, is that I believe because it’s on the basis of ‘anyone can just join,’ that it’s very inclusive in that way where other people are just accepted and, by Andy [Bauer] or by the board, are really just pushed to try and lead, pushed to do your best, pushed to try something new, because it’s not just a group of experienced singers who have been singing in the choir for 10 years, and I think there’s something really nice about that,” Chavez said.

Freshman Bianca Perez echoed Chavez’s sentiments of inclusivity, extending it to the inclusion of those who are not necessarily Catholic.

“I want people to know not to be intimidated by [Music Ministry] just because we do Masses, because I know everybody doesn’t have the same religious affiliation,” Perez said. “It’s more you get to learn how to read music based on Music Ministry, I mean not necessarily as a course or anything, but you learn how to follow along, and to connect with music more.”

Music Ministry begins rehearsal at 6:00 p.m. every Sunday before performing at the 7:30 p.m. mass.