Wilson Appointed as Music Director of St. Cecilia Choir

You may not have heard of the Diocese of Shreveport’s St. Cecilia Choir, but if you’ve ever been to a diocesan event, like Chrism Mass or an ordination, you have more than likely heard their moving voices create the perfect, holy atmosphere for Mass.

Bishop Michael Duca recently appointed Aaron Wilson as the Music Director of the St. Cecilia Choir, making official the position he has manned since 2012. Aaron, who is the Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Shreveport, loves the opportunity to bring people together from across the diocese for this ministry.

“The St. Cecilia Choir is a diocesan choir made up of people from all around the diocese – from all the churches and their choirs,” said Aaron, “And there are people from outside that realm as well. We have some Centenary choir students who sing with us. It’s a very mixed group.”

“Anybody can join if they have a love and passion for music and liturgy,” he added. “We have all kinds of people at all different levels. Which is great, because the people who are really good at what they do, they help out the newer ones.”

Aaron describes the St. Cecilia Choir as a “moving choir” because it does not always have the same group of people in it. Instead of practicing year-round for concerts, the choir is event-based. Prior to an event, the choir gathers for an hour and half each week for three to four weeks to prepare. Some of the events they sing at include Chrism Mass, Red Mass, anniversaries, priest ordinations and priest funerals.

But, Aaron added, in the past the St. Cecilia Choir has come together to perform concerts of major works like requiems. “I’d like to get back to doing something like that again,” said Aaron. “In the fall I want to do a Lessons and Carols and get people interested that way.”
The St. Cecilia Choir is also a unique evangelization opportunity.

“Some of our people who sing in [the choir] are not Catholic. They get exposed to the liturgy,” said Aaron. “We actually have, right now, a professor from BPCC singing in the choir who teaches a Sacred Music class and he had his students go to Chrism Mass as part of the requirement to see Catholic liturgy in action.”

Aaron, as a convert to Catholicism, is particularly excited about that aspect of the choir. He grew up in in Bossier City and attended college at the University of Houston where he earned his degrees in organ and choral conducting. He stayed in the Houston area for 10 years, leading a Presbyterian choir of 100 members. He then moved to the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans in Shreveport, and within his first year there he converted to Catholicism.

“I really found my calling in the Catholic Church. I have a high respect for the liturgy. It kind of all makes sense now,” said Aaron. “Because when you’re Protestant, you get bits and pieces of it, and then it all makes sense when you come to the source. ‘Oh that’s why we do that!’”
Michael Kenney, under Bishop William Friend, was the original Director of the St. Cecilia Choir, and he helped guide Aaron as he took its helm. “It was great to know Mike before he left,” said Aaron. “He gave me a lot of insight as to what happens at these diocesan events and how to manage everything.”

Aaron describes the members of the St. Cecilia choir as a happy and high-spirited group. “I’m passionate about choral music and the meaning behind the text and getting people energized to sing,” he said.

Aaron encourages adults college age and older to consider being a part of the St. Cecilia Choir.  It’s a great opportunity to meet other people from North Louisiana who have a joy and passion for music and liturgy. To join, all you need to do is contact Aaron via email, awilson@stjosephchurch.net, or by phone at the St. Joseph Church Office, 318-865-3581.

Your next opportunity to see the choir in action is as the Diocese of Shreveport’s Red Mass, which honors judges, lawyers and court officials, on Friday, May 6, at 9:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in downtown Shreveport.

by Jessica Rinaudo

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