Story by S.L. Hansen
DAVID CITY (SNR) - This year, people in the David City deanery have had several opportunities to enjoy the sweet voices of the “Saint Mary/Aquinas Traveling Choir.”
Made up of children in the Saint Mary/Aquinas Catholic Schools, ranging from kindergarten to the 12th grade, the students have been traveling to different parishes to sing. They are directed by Claire Oborny, a student at Midland University in Fremont.
Sarah Zook, principal of Saint Mary elementary said, “Our Saint Mary’s parent group, Spirit Club, came up with the idea of creating the traveling choir as a way to give back to the parishes in the David City Deanery who graciously support our school—using this beautiful gift of the children’s voices.”
That idea was quickly expanded to include middle and high school students from Aquinas Catholic Schools. Now, the choir is about 30 members strong, with perhaps 10-15 students participating in each Mass.
“The children’s voices are so angelic when they sing at Mass,” Mrs. Zook said. “It really lifts our hearts and reminds us of the future of our schools and the Church.”
Oborny, who grew up singing and playing piano, sings in the Midland choir. She previously earned a degree in early childhood education from Central Community College. As a member of that college choir, she was able to travel and perform in New York, Greece and other locations.
She said she wanted to direct the Saint Mary/Aquinas Traveling Choir specifically because they would be going to different parishes.
“I am happy to be the director and to share my love for music with these students!” she said.
The traveling choir also meshes with another new project within the Aquinas/Saint Mary school district: their Adopt-A-Parish program.
“Each grade level K-12 adopts one of our 13 supporting parishes,” Zook explained.
On a monthly basis, the students pray for the parishes and parishioners, sends cards and so on.
“So far they have sent a welcome introduction card/picture, a Thanksgiving card, and an invite to the Advent program,” Zook said.
She continued, “It’s really an effort to build gratitude: we want our students to be grateful to our parishes and to show that in some tangible way.”
Gathering roughly once a month, the Saint Mary/Aquinas Traveling Choir has already sung for Masses at Saint Wenceslaus Church in Bee and Assumption Church in Dwight. Their current schedule will take them to Sacred Heart Church in Shelby, Holy Trinity Church in Brainard, Saint Joseph and Saint Peter churches in Bellwood and Saint Mary Church in David City.
“We do some singing at the nursing homes in David City, too,” Oborny reported. “We are singing on the 17th at 2 p.m. at the (St. Joseph’s) Villa, and then possibly at David Place in January.”
Mrs. Zook is pleased the students are able to glorify God.
“God has given them beautiful voices and an opportunity to worship God,” she said. “The two together form a wonderful gift to give.”
Saint Mary School opened in 1898 and serves more than 230 students in grades Pre-K through 5. Aquinas Middle and High School opened in 1961 and serves more than 280 students in grades 6-12.