Annette, tell us about the history of the Founders Chapel Choir.
My first introduction to the choir was when I was a first year student at USD in the fall of 1975. I remember going to the first Sunday Evening Student Mass and wanting to join the choir. I asked a friend, who was a current member, if I could be a part of it. She introduced me to the senior student who led the choir and the next week I began going to the rehearsals. I sang in the choir all through my four years at USD.
My next encounter with the choir was several years later in 1985 after receiving a phone call invitation from Fr. Owen Mullen and Mike McKay to come in for an interview for the job of Choir Director. They wanted to hire someone to take the lead of this student choir and to grow the program. It was a job that I did not know existed but upon returning home from the interview, I told my husband that “I had to do this job!” I was hired and began the following fall semester. And so began my ministry as choir director at USD.
It was not until years later when Mons. I.B. Eagen came to the university that the group was formally named the Founders Chapel Choir and Instrumentalists.
What do you enjoy most about your role as director?
Anne, there are so many things that I love about the job. I love being part of an awesome team of people that make up University Ministry. I love creating music for so many special liturgies and events on campus. And I have always loved making music, writing songs, playing my guitar and singing, but what I enjoy most about being a director is walking through the four years with students and sharing such key moments in their lives. From the Mass of Welcome, where we are blessed to be part of the cherished moment of their entry into the University and the moment where they leave their families to begin this important stage of their lives, to the Baccalaureate Mass where we celebrate together the journey that has been full of joy, hope, challenge and growth. It is truly a privilege seeing them grow, not only as musicians, but as persons, confident, compassionate, inspired and ready to take on the world.
Does the choir have any traditions?
Yes, the choir has a few traditions.
Sing for Your Supper is the beginning and end of the year choir party. The students gather for fun and food as they perform for each other in creative and delightful ways.
Choir Bring a Friend BOND–FIRE Once or twice a year, the choir has a bonfire on Fiesta Island where we sing, cook hotdogs and s’mores and spend time getting to know each other. The additional fun of getting to bring a friend or roommate adds to the fun.
Candlelight procession and Candlelight Mass Each semester during finals the choir sings for the Candlelight Mass. The beautiful Mass begins with the students processing down the aisles while carrying candles. As the choir students make their way up the aisles, they light the candles held by their classmates in the assembly. The end result is a Chapel lit with hundreds of candles. Beautiful Advent music is sung and special prayers are said. Though the Mass takes place during finals the Chapel is packed with students. It is truly one of the hidden gems of our USD calendar.
"I remember singing a song and one of the patients [at Alvarado Psychiatric Hospital] got up and started conducting us, singing with us and dancing. It was an overwhelming feeling of something good we did for someone else. It is a tremendous feeling of service, not only in that we are serving them, but they also serve us."
– Heather Kadera, student director
The choir has ventured beyond the Chapel to perform for communities in need. Tell us about some memorable performances.
Founders Chapel Choir groups have had many opportunities to go out into the San Diego Community. The choir over the years has sung for inpatients at Alvarado Psychiatric Hospital, young people at Children’s Hospital, for the Wounded Warriors at Balboa Hospital, inmates at Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center, Senior Citizens at St Paul’s Place, at fundraisers for the Homeless Women of San Diego at Balboa Park and Liberty Station, Juvenile Hall, at the Relay for Life, at the Walk for Hope, at a Christmas Concert at MCRD for 1700 new recruits, at the Veterans Administration Hospital and for families at Marine Corps Air Station Christmas Carnival to name a few.
How can music enhance a liberal arts education?
The students have told me that the choir rehearsals and music help them to make connections to their everyday life. That being involved with the choir helps to keep them grounded. And that the rehearsal is a mid-week break that is so badly needed in the stressful lives of the students, which helps them to maintain a healthy balance. Singing in different languages helps them to make connections with their world neighbors. Being in the choir helps them to build community one person at a time. And spending time in musical prayer helps them to develop their spirituality.
- Anne Malinoski ‘11