THE MUSIC MINISTRY of ST. MARY STAR OF THE SEA
Diane Meredith Belcher, Director of Music & Organist
Tel: (978) 295-9737
Tel: (978) 295-9737
The Music Ministry of St. Mary Star of the Sea is dedicated to giving glory to God through the use of the finest liturgical music available. We strive to follow with faithfulness the actual prescriptions of the Vatican II and Postconciliar Liturgical Documents of the Church; an important goal is the restoration of a worthy Catholic musical heritage in this church. Music at St. Mary's is committed to the highest standard possible, motivated by the belief that the gifts brought to God should be the very best possible gifts entrusted to us that we lovingly return to Him. Leading us in these endeavors is our Director of Music & Organist, the professional Cantors of St. Mary's, and The St. Mary's Choir.
St. Mary's Choir
The St. Mary's Choir is a twenty-five voice ensemble which sings at the 10:45 am Sunday Mass, several special liturgies throughout the church year, and the annual Christmas Concert. Rehearsals are held Sunday mornings at 9:15 am, with a dozen or so special rehearsals scattered throughout the year (including Thursday evenings in Advent and Lent.) The choir is open to singers from age 13 through adult; interested younger singers may be considered as well. There is no prerequisite for membership in the choir other than a desire to praise God with song, and the ability to make a reasonable commitment. Choir members have a wide range of musical knowledge, from no prior experience to professional training with degrees in music. The growth and development of the choir is a very high priority for the music program. Please contact Diane Meredith Belcher if you are interested in singing in The St. Mary’s Choir.
Director of Music & Organist
Diane Meredith Belcher has been a professional church musician for over 30 years. She is also an internationally renowned concert artist, recording artist, and pedagogue who has performed at many of the country's most prestigious halls, cathedrals, and churches, and has taught at several distinguished colleges and universities. She has been soloist with several major orchestras, and has performed in Europe and Canada. Her concert career is managed by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.
A graduate of both The Curtis Institute of Music and The Eastman School of Music, she studied organ and sacred music with David Spicer, John Weaver, Clarence Watters, David Craighead, and Wilma Jensen. She has been Director of Music & Organist at St. Mary Star of the Sea since September 2011. Prior positions include Old St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore; Saint Mark's Church, Philadelphia; Westminster Choir College; The University of Pennsylvania; and The University of Memphis.
She is a member of The Church Music Association of American, The Association of Anglican Musicians, The American Guild of Organists, and The Organ Historical Society. She has a particular interest in mentoring young musicians, fine contemporary classical music, baroque chamber music, and the history/preservation of fine pipe organs. In addition she is the composer of a small body of sacred music.
Volunteers are essential to music at St. Mary’s, and we are always happy to have more parishioners and friends of the church involved in our extensive program. Non-musician needs include choir librarians, worship aid assistants, and help with special liturgies and concerts: publicity, ushering, programs, and receptions. Volunteer singers are always welcomed in The St. Mary’s Choir, and talented instrumentalists are encouraged to offer their gifts for preludes and postludes at mass. Please contact Diane Meredith Belcher if you are interested in volunteering in the Music Ministry of St. Mary Star of the Sea.
The Cantors of St. Mary's
The Cantors of St. Mary's are a professional staff of several of the most talented and experienced liturgical singers in the Boston area. The current roster includes Mark Nemeskal, Neal Ferreira, Bonnie Rynkowski, Meredith Haviland, Marc DeMille, and Michael Olbash.
The Organs of St. Mary Star of the Sea
Many music lovers throughout the Boston/North Shore region are aware that St. Mary’s has one of the finest organs in the region, which supports its first-rate music program. The instrument in the main church is a magnificent 1908 Hook-Hastings pipe organ [opus 2180] with well over 2,000 pipes; it retains an electric action on its original slider chests. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of both church and organ in 2008, a complete internal mechanical and tonal restoration was carried out by Spencer Organ Company. All pipework was cleaned and restored, and a 1922 Kimball Tuba stop was added. In March of 2013 Dobson Pipe Organ Builders installed a new console in historic style, as the previous console had been deteriorating alarmingly in the last several years. Information on the organ and our fundraising campaign for the console, which will run through December of 2014, can be found here: stmarystarorgan.com.
The lower church organ is also a fine historical instrument: a ten-stop mechanical action organ built circa 1901 by George S. Hutchings [opus 549.]