N AN ORDINARY suburban parish without exceptional resources, what can be accomplished in teaching children traditional sacred music? “The possibilities are endless,” according to Ryan Lynch, Director of Music and Organist at St. Raphael’s Parish in Medford, Massachusetts.
Lynch, who is also a regular organist and cantor for Catholic TV, revived a dying parish music program, making children’s voices a centerpiece of the liturgical life along with the adult choir. Starting a children’s choir from scratch, Lynch took a simple, but wise approach: form young voices (hearts and minds) through simple traditional hymnody and chant, making their well-formed, singable melodies and rich theology a staple. You can learn more about the music program at St. Raphael’s here.
(He was also a consultant on this hymn project for the Archdiocese of Boston: Music for First Communion and Confirmation—A Catechetical Guide for Liturgical Celebrations)
Teaching Kindergarten through fifth grade in the parish school, he must also shape the musical sound of the children with a sprit of full inclusiveness—another typical aspect of parish life. This isn’t easy, but Ryan Lynch makes it appear that way. He allows especially beautiful voices to shine while creating a unified voice.
Lynch acknowledges that this is a work in progress, one to build upon. Mindful that the children who sing today will be the foundation of our Church in the future. Therefore, enthusiasm and optimism reigns: “The Possibilities are endless.” You can listen to samples and his budding choir here and here.
YAN WAS RECENTLY interviewed on “Sounds from the Spires” on on SIRIUS XM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel. The show is hosted by Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. This interview discusses life in a parish, churches of Rome, and Cardinal DiNardo’s restaurant recommendations in Houston! (for those of you attending AGO or NPM this summer).
• PODCAST • “Sounds form the Spires” broadcast on 4.24.2016: