Liturgical Music

  • “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.” – Sacrosanctum Concilium, paragraph 112
  • “Among the many signs and symbols used by the Church to celebrate its faith, music is of preeminent importance. As sacred song united to words it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy. Yet the function of music is ministerial; it must serve and never dominate. Music should assist the assembled believers to express and share the gift of faith. It should heighten the texts so that they speak more fully and more effectively. The quality of joy and the enthusiasm which music adds to community worship cannot be gained in any other way. It imparts a sense of unity to the congregation and sets the appropriate tone for a particular celebration.” – Music in Catholic Worship, paragraph 23


Cantors are experienced singers who lead the congregational singing at our liturgies and also proclaim the Word of God from the ambo as the psalmist. Cantors are selected by audition and interview with the Director of Music, Sharon Sillick. One need not be a member of one of the choirs at Saint Mary to assist in this work. Cantor Handbook from the Office of Divine Worship.


Adult Choir: The Adult Choir sings primarily at the 8:45 Sunday Mass, and all other principal celebrations in the liturgical calendar. The Adult Choir is open to adults and high school students. There are no try-outs, just a willingness to praise God through song. A meeting with the director of music before one’s first rehearsal is needed to place the new member’s voice and to assign a robe and music. The choir sings from September through the end of May and also for our Patronal Feast of the Assumption of Mary in August. Rehearsals: Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. To volunteer for this ministry please contact Sharon Sillick, Director, through the Church Office at 653-0997 or via email.

Children’s Choir: The Parish Children’s Choirs are open to all children in grades 3 – 8 (Saint Pius X Choir – Grades 3-5, Saint Cecilia Choir – Grades 6-8)who like to sing and who can commit to our weekly rehearsal schedule. The Choirs teach children vocal production, music theory, sight-singing, and elements of music history and serve the parish community by providing Sacred Music for Masses and other liturgies. This program also aims to cultivate a fuller expression of Catholic devotion and service to holy Mother Church. The Royal School of Church Music Voice for Life program is utilized as the core teaching methodology for the parish choristers. Singing in harmony is introduced through a repertoire from across the centuries, and occasionally includes four-part music sung with the Parish Choir of adults. The Choirs will sing at Mass on a once-monthly basis, according to a schedule provided at the beginning of each semester. While the two Choirs rehearse separately, they will join together on special occasions.

SM Children’s Choir
Children’s Choir Registration Form
Voice for Life

To participate in these groups please contact Sharon Sillick, Director, through the Church Office at 653-0997 or via e-mail.

Funeral Choir: The Funeral Choir leads the sung prayer of the Funeral Liturgy. This group of people gathers on short notice to provide this invaluable service to families who are grieving the loss of a loved one and/or family member. To volunteer for this ministry, please contact Sharon Sillick, Director, through the Church Office 653-0997 or via e-mail.

Pipe Organ

  • “In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.” – Sacrosanctum Concilium, paragraph 120
Austin Opus 2714

Austin Opus 2714

The primary instrument at sung liturgies is the human voice. Another important instrument at the center of our liturgies at Saint Mary of the Assumption is the magnificent pipe organ. It was built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut in 1988. It was installed in January of 1989 and first played at the Easter Vigil of that same year. It replaced another Austin Organ that had been in use for 75 years. Our Austin Organ (Opus 2714) consists of 3 manuals (keyboards), 34 ranks of pipes. That is 2,093 individual pipes. The pipes are made of zinc, spotted metal, poplar, walnut, mahogany, and sweet maple. The 93 pipes that you can see along the front and side of the instrument are called façade pipes, and only 9 of them are speaking pipes. The others are only for show. The remainder of the speaking pipes are found behind the façade pipes tucked away from view. We are truly blessed to have such a fine instrument leading our liturgies. If you would like a private tour and demonstration, please feel free to contact Sharon Sillick, Director of Music, and he would be more than happy to show you our treasured instrument.

Music Guidelines for Weddings

Only liturgically appropriate music may be used at wedding liturgies. All music, sacred or of a classical nature must be approved by the Director of Music. All wedding liturgies will utilize the parish organists and cantors. All weddings liturgies will have three parts that are always sung: the opening hymn, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Gospel Acclamation. These elements are led by a parish cantor. Thirty minutes immediately prior to the wedding liturgy, the organist will offer prelude music to create a sacred atmosphere to prepare the congregation for the celebration of the Sacrament of Marriage. Ushers should reverently and quietly escort family members and friends during this time.

Popular and secular music is not appropriate for use during the wedding liturgy. This also applies to vocal or instrumental music played during the prelude. You must contact the Director of Music, Sharon Sillick, to set up an appointment to plan the music for your Wedding.

Music for Weddings at St. Mary of the Assumption Guide

Music Guidelines for Funerals

A funeral is a time for the Parish to gather and pray for the repose of the soul of the deceased. Because funerals are Parish liturgies and not private services, the music must follow the guidelines laid out by the Church. Music that is used at Sunday liturgies is illustrative of the type of music that is appropriate for use in the Funeral Liturgy. Secular music is not appropriate for the liturgy, nor is recorded music acceptable. We are blessed to have our own Funeral Choir which leads the Assembly during the Funeral Liturgy and provides prelude music prior to the Mass.

The Director of Music is always available to assist with music selections for the Funeral Liturgy. This is a very difficult time for the family and we are honored to help in this way. The Director of Music, Sharon Sillick, can be reached through the Church Office at 653-0997 or via e-mail.

Hymns Suitable for a Funeral Mass or Memorial Mass

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