I play in a liturgical ensemble at St. Agnes Catholic church in Chicago Heights, IL. These are my musical roots. I have been a parishioner at St. Agnes for over 55 years, attended grade school here, and have been in the St. Agnes music ministry for over 30 years. I directed a 12 member ensemble from 1975 to 1983.
The ensemble at the 11AM Mass is typically 5 vocalists accompanied by piano, drum kit, and upright bass (or electric bass guitar). We have had flute, oboe, acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, timpani, and various brass in the ensemble over the years.
In addition to the 11AM ensemble, St. Agnes has a 20 voice Chancel choir, a 10 voice Resurrection choir, a 40 voice school choir, a 5 voice ensemble at a Sunday evening Mass, and a bell choir, all under the direction of a full time Director of Music and Liturgy. There is a wealth of musical talent in the parish. A number of song leaders, choir members, and ensemble members earn all or part of their living by making or teaching music.
The music selections are generally the same at all Masses, regardless of whether the Mass is served by a single song leader, the Chancel Choir, or the Liturgical Ensemble.
The music on any Sunday may include a wide range of styles. For example, on one Sunday during Advent 2001, the Gathering was a very hip "Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord". The Gospel Acclamation was an up tempo Caribbean "Halle, Halle, Halle". The Holy, Holy, Memorial Acclamation, and Amen, were chanted a capella to the 12th century tune "Veni, Veni Emmanuel". The Presentation song was a 9th century text and tune, chanted a capella, and harmonized in parallel 5ths, a style which predates the 9th century.
The music, photos, and commentary here are for educational purposes. Several friends from different denominations asked about the order of service and the use of music in a Roman Catholic Mass. This web site seemed the easiest way to communicate with all of them.
Here are examples
recorded at a Mass on 07 Nov, 1999.
Here is the Order of the Service
, which also includes links to music from the same 07 Nov, 1999 Mass.
And here are photos of the interior of the church. St. Agnes parish celebrated it's centennial year in 1995. The present church building, erected in 1927, was completely renovated for the centennial. These photos were taken in the fall of 1999.