Music Ministry at Sancta Maria Maris Stella

MUSIC MINISTRY at Sancta Maria Maris Stella Parish

St. Mary Star of the Sea has a vibrant and talented music ministry that brings the best of liturgical music to our celebration of the Mass, guiding the faithful and enhancning the experience of the liturgy. Music is carefully selected in accordance with the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) to foster participation as well as amplify and elaborate upon the themes of the propers and the readings for the day.

Music at St. Mary's is committed to the highest standard possible, motivated by the belief that through our music we return to God the gifts entrusted to us. Our choir has been called one of the finest volunteer choirs in the archdiocese, and we are honored to lend our skill to the glory of God and the celebration of the Sacraments.

The Parish Choir is a large group, around 30 voices, is widely recognized as one of the top liturgical ensembles in the Boston Archdiocese. It sings for the 10:45 Mass each Sunday, Holy Days, and special liturgies like Confirmation, Lenten Retreats, and even weddings. Choir rehearsals are 9am-10:30 Sunday mornings (choir does not rehearse on a weekday night).

The Motet Choir is a small ensemble, between 4-8 voices, which sings for the 5pm Sunday evening Masses. This choir specializes in small-scale choral works, chant, polyphony, and a capella repertoire. Motet Choir rehearses an hour before the 5pm Mass.

Guest instrumentalists frequently augment our choral forces – instrumentalists are always welcome to inquire about performing opportunities on a regular or one-off basis.

Our in-house cantors are professionally trained vocalists who lead the congregation and/or join with the choirs for each of our four weekend Masses, as well as all Holy Days and special liturgies.

Bonnie Rynkowski

Sings most Sunday Masses as well as directing Virtuous Voices, a community choir in Beverly which performs at numerous events on the town's cultural calendar.

Neal Ferreira

Sings most Saturday evening vigil Masses while also persuing an active operatic career and teaching music.

Meredith Haviland

Sings some 5pm Sunday evening Masses as well as at the Notre Dame Convent in Ipswitch, in addition to being an attorney and trumpet player.

We are always welcoming new members!

Anyone who can match pitch and can make rehearsals can join any of our choirs. Anyone interested in learning more about our music ministry can contact Music Director Patrick Valentino at or click here for a brochure.



Patrick Valentino has served as Music Director and organist of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish since 2014, in which time the Parish Choir has grown in size and scope, and the Motet Choir and Stella Series were founded. Patrick has worked as a church music director since 2006, organizing large music ministries with a special focus on music selection, choral technique, and creating a collegial family-like atmosphere. He holds graduate degrees from Ithaca College (conducting) and New England Conservatory (composition), as well as CAGO certification from the American Guild of Organists. More information can be found at



Couples getting married at St. Mary’s are encouraged to contact Patrick 6 months in advance of their wedding date to start the process of music selection. A music worksheet, with important info and a complete list of suggested music, can be downloaded here. Sample recordings of selected pieces can be found on this page:


The funeral home should provide families with a music worksheet for funeral Masses, but for reference it can be found by clicking here. Sample recordings of selected pieces can be found on this page:


The Stella Concert Series was founded in 2015 with the mission of  “Celebrating Music, Making Community”. The Stella Series offers a season of concerts at St. Mary’s which are free and open to the public, showcasing our in-house musical talent and the best local classical performers. Every season the Parish Choir sings a concert of sacred choral music as well as Music and Mary, a concert devoted to music for Our Lady. Popular annual events include Sing in the New Year with Bonnie Rybnkowski and Virtuous Voices, an Advent Lessons and Carols Service, and Mardi Gras Jazz Brunch featuring the Wolverine Dixieland Combo. The series has also featured the Bay Colony Brass, New England Chamber Players, Boston Amaryllis String Quartet, as well as Silent Film Nights accompanied by Patrick on our 1915 Hook-Hastings organ. The current season can be viewed at


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, completing a multi-year restoration project and returning our organ to all its magnificent musical grandeur.


Catholics Come Home Catholic TV