Media and Communications Office
The Parish of St Peter Chanel in Deer Park is alive with the sound of music. The flourishing community boasts twelve fully functioning choirs who are dedicated to their music ministry.
Of the twelve, we had the opportunity to spend some time with three choirs to find out why the parish has such an active music ministry and what draws people to serve their parish with their voices.
‘The fact that we come from diverse cultures makes our choir unique,’ says Vicki Forbes, Mt Horeb choir director and organist. ‘Since I started back in 2003, the demographics of the parish has certainly changed.’
Vicki gathers her group for practice for at least an hour on Friday evenings at the St Peter Chanel meeting room to prepare for the 8am service for every 2nd and 4th Sunday Mass.
‘For me, it’s my faith that brings me to church but the fact that I can sing and make a contribution through my music. That’s an additional gift that I can give back to God. Our choir really tries, they are really enthusiastic and they give their all really to singing on a Sunday,’ she says.
Choir member Jan believes the most rewarding aspect of being a part of the Mt Horeb choir is the close bonds they have developed over the years.
‘We’re really tight-knit,’ she says, ‘so when we get together it’s like bringing a family together and just coming and spending time singing and doing something we enjoy doing.’
The Emmaus choir sings at the 10am Mass, and can have anywhere between two to eleven members depending on the morning, according to their choir leader Janet Creaner.
‘The most rewarding part about leading the Emmaus choir is getting people say to you but I cannot sing. It’s not about whether you can or cannot sing; it’s about just coming along and singing and that’s what people do in our group,’ Janet says.
‘I think it’s just the company and the people that are involved with it,’ says the longest-standing member of Emmaus choir Don Carole who has been singing at St Peter Chanel Choir since the late 1970s.
‘Technically, I left the choir 8 years ago but there’s something that keeps drawing me back here,’ he says.
But the choir also involves meeting challenges along the way.
‘The most challenging thing about being a part of the choir is having the kids with me,’ laughs Catherine who has been a part of the Parish since she was growing up in the 1970s and has sung with the music ministry at St Peter Chanel since 1992.
The Parish also has an active youth ministry, and with that comes its own youth choir, who sing once a month at a 6pm Sunday Mass.
Youth Choir coordinator Dennis Montano says their choir started ten years ago, the same time the Parish youth group was set up.
‘For anyone who’s thinking of starting a choir, you kind of have to just take the step and do it,’ he says encouraging those considering creating a Parish choir.
‘Talk to your Parish Priest, talk to people who are involved in the committee of the council and just try.’
‘It’s a fellowship in itself,’ says the lead singer of the Youth Group choir Abigail. ‘It’s really fun. And the bonus is, you can learn to sing!’