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Special Music Sunday on March 6 at 10:00 a.m.


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GOSPEL MASS by Robert Ray (b. 1946)

 St. Mary’s Adult Choir and Jazz Trio

African-American composer Robert Ray wrote the Gospel Mass over 30 years ago as an outgrowth of his work as a committee member of the National Office of Black Catholics. The committee was tasked with searching out and creating liturgical music in the Black Gospel tradition to respond to the reforms in the Catholic Church in the 1960s. With the Second Vatican Council the Church brought the language of the Mass into the vernacular and needed new music to support these liturgical changes.

The premier performance of the Gospel Mass was given by some of Ray’s students at the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1979. The composer was surprised when the work caught on and became an important part of the African-American sacred repertoire. Using an accompaniment of piano, bass guitar and drums, Ray set the traditional Mass text, with some textual insertions, in the musical language of African-American music with a synthesis of jazz, gospel and classical styles.

Sunday, March 6 the St. Mary’s Choir will perform the work liturgically, with the movements of the Mass inserted at the appropriate points in the service. Guest musicians Jonathan Yasuda, piano; Will Prapestis, bass guitar; and Dan Foote, drums will accompany the choir. Please join us for this uplifting music!  All are Welcome.

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