Music workshop to offer tools to help strengthen the Church

Friday, Oct. 04, 2019
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — An upcoming pastoral musicians workshop will  focus on the faith formation aspect of the Pastoral Plan and how the liturgy can be used to help parishioners in their spiritual development. The workshop, with the theme “Formed by Love, a reflection on how liturgical music inspires and teaches,” will be Oct. 19 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.

“We chose this theme to assist parishes in promoting renewal, through liturgical catechesis, that inspires vibrant and uplifting celebrations,” Ruth Dillon, director of the diocesan Office of Worship, said. “Helping pastoral musicians appreciate how the music in the Mass connects the word and actions of the liturgy together is key to helping them understand their role as liturgical musicians.”

The workshop will be taught by Chris Huntzinger, chairman of the diocesan Liturgical Music Committee and director of liturgy and music at St. Ambrose Parish. A native Utahn, Huntzinger attended Blessed Sacrament School and then Jordan High School. He studied organ performance at the University of Utah. He has been at St. Ambrose for 12 years. Prior to that, he served as director of Worship and Music for Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for almost nine years. During those years he was an organ scholar and assisting organist at the Cathedral of the Madeline. He was also a member of the choir there.  

“Chris is a wonderful presenter with years of experience serving in a parish as a musician and liturgist,” Dillon said. “He is able to share his knowledge focusing on practical applications that will be beneficial for the parish musician.”

Huntzinger said he has been thinking a lot about faith formation in the context of the diocesan Pastoral Plan and how best to realize its goals.

“For a long time, I’ve been thinking there’s this thing we do every week (the Mass); its entire purpose is to form us after Christ,” he said, adding that his presentation will “really look at the liturgy, how it is supposed to form all of us – adults, children, everyone that goes to Mass. There’s plenty of opportunity there to be formed by the Word, homily, coordinated prayer, participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. Music plays a pretty interesting role in that.”

“A lot of musicians would benefit from ways of using the tools at their disposal, of liturgy, to help the bishop with this formation of adults,” he continued. “It’s a group effort, and the musicians are not just there to sing songs. They’re there to be part of the entire act of liturgy and worship, and their role is in many ways to teach and model prayer and to incorporate those things into their lives.”

While the workshop will be geared toward liturgical musicians (music directors, choir members, cantors and music coordinators), those who do not formally serve in those areas are also welcome, Huntzinger said.

“The best part about this whole event is we’re going to start with a Mass, which is not something we usually do,” he added. “The liturgical musicians will all be together; it’s going to probably be a very lovely experience right there.”

The diocesan Liturgical Music Committee offers a fall workshop every year.  They also have presented at the diocesan Pastoral Congress, and this summer held a series of cantor workshops. In addition, the committee will  host the Southwest Liturgical Conference Hispanic Pastoral Musician Conference, which will be held in Salt Lake City in June 2021. 

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