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 “Music ministry exists to serve the assembly. We need to be hospitable and provide formation,” said Peter Kolar, a musician, composer and editor of Hispanic resources for World Library Publications who led the Spanish speaking portion of the program. “Those of you who are catechists will know that if you want to teach something, you must first be familiar with it. A liturgical musician is a disciple first and a minister second.”

 The English speaking program was led by Chris De Silva, a liturgical musician, composer and college instructor. The speakers focused on strengthening appreciation of the liturgy and challenged ministers to take a new approach.

 “Take things from your community, and create opportunities for encounters with Christ,” De Silva said. “Use creativity and different forms of expression.”

 During the day several groups exposed the participants to different styles of liturgical music. The different styles included Gregorian chant, contemporary modern, modern Gospel, meditative Taizé, Mariachi in liturgy, Spanish contemporary and Gregorian chant adapted for Spanish. 

 The two language groups were combined at the end of the day to learn and experience bilingual music led by both main presenters. Following the combined session, the day came to a close with a raffle and prayer session. Among the prizes was a concert with Chris De Silva and Chris Estrella for a parish. St. Mary Parish, Fontana took home the grand prize.

 The Office of Worship also held a workshop for children’s choirs on July 25. The Children’s Festival of Liturgical Music was led by Scott Melvin, choir director at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana and Kolar.

 This was the first time a formation workshop was held specifically for Catholic school and children’s choirs. 

 Melvin focused on both liturgical and musical teachings in his presentation. Children were shown different techniques for warming up and approaching liturgical music by working on three songs throughout the evening. They were also given an opportunity to improve their understanding of liturgy and further their appreciation of the Mass by focusing on the Liturgy of the Word. 

 The Festival of Liturgical Music included breakout sessions according to language group, instrumentalists and a Q&A session for the choir directors with the presenters.