ATRICK TORSELL is the Director of Music and Organist at Mater Dei Latin Mass Community in Harrisburg, PA, an apostolate of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The second of four siblings, Patrick was born and reared in the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania. After watching an episode of “The Joy of Music with Diane Bish” at age eight, he told his mother that he wanted to learn the pipe organ. Thanks to the devotion and sacrifices of his parents, he was able to take organ lessons and find a home practice organ, and by age 11 he was playing regularly for the local Catholic parish. Patrick’s father introduced him to the Traditional Latin Mass, which spurred on a deep love for Gregorian Chant, traditional hymnody, and sacred polyphony.
Patrick completed undergraduate studies in Ski Area Operations and has worked in the ski resort business for 12 years. He also spent two years of study and discernment at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, NE, where much of his time was devoted to sacred music as a seminary organist, chant tutor, and member of the polyphonic choir. He served for two years as organist, and two more as Choirmaster, at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, Vermont, a role once held by the famous Maria Von Trapp. He was later the organist at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish in Littleton, CO for four years. In his current role at Mater Dei, he directs two adult choirs including an auditioned choir with professional section leaders, and an open-membership choir. He also directs a youth and children’s Chorister program comprising more than 80 students ages 7-18 who learn not only the fundamentals of singing, but also history, philosophy, and theory of Gregorian Chant and Sacred Music.
Patrick also produces “Chant Talk,” a YouTube series discussing Gregorian Chant, especially accompaniment and chironomy. His focus has always been liturgical music, but he also maintains a leisurely organ performance schedule and enjoys playing jazz piano and fingerstyle guitar for fun.
In his leisure time, Patrick enjoys skiing, classic cars, remodeling old homes, and smoking an occasional cigar with a single malt Scotch.