Composer seeks input from St. Luke parishioners - Catholic Courier

Composer seeks input from St. Luke parishioners

Some artists prefer to work alone.

But composer Glenn McClure said although sometimes he enjoys composing on his own, he also enjoys bringing people together to create a new piece of liturgical music.

"I love that when I get so many people involved in the creative process there’s a much better chance that I am going to come up with something that matters to people," he said.

McClure said he hopes his Mass for St. Luke the Evangelist Parish will bring people together as they create something new. McClure, whose compositions have been performed nationally and internationally, is drawing inspiration from the history of Livingston County’s Catholics to write a concert Mass and settings for the Mass that can be used regularly in the parish’s worship sites.

McClure, a St. Luke parishioner, said the project started from a conversation between him and the parish’s former parochial vicar, Father Joseph Marcoux, about how much of a struggle parish clustering can be. That’s when McClure suggested as Mass to bring people together and give them something in common.

"The clustering has given us an opportunity to show what’s possible for this process," McClure said.

St. Luke the Evangelist Parish was formed in July 2006 and comprises Holy Angels in Nunda, St. Lucy in Retsof, St. Mary in Geneseo, St. Patrick in Mount Morris and St. Thomas Aquinas in Leicester.

McClure, president of the national Association of Teaching Artists, said he is seeking any public documents, newspaper clippings, bulletins, church histories, memories, photos and diary entries that give a sense of the county’s Catholic heritage.

His project is being funded in part by a grant from the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program. McClure said the money is covering startup costs, and he is donating his time to the project. He said he may seek funders at the end of the project to help record and produce a CD of the final work.

McClure said he is planning to write the Mass over the summer, and have it available to be performed at a concert in the fall using musicians from all of St. Luke’s worship sites. He said he hopes the concert Mass will incorporate such multimedia elements as a slideshow of historical photographs.

McClure said he plans to incorporate some ethnic music or instruments, to represent Irish, Italian and Puerto Rican immigrants from the area. McClure, who as a child made frequent visits to the Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, said he will include some chant to represent the abbey. He also intends to visit Groveland Correctional Facility and Livingston County Jail’s Catholic communities, which are part of the St. Luke, for input.

"I’m really looking forward to what these guys want to see in those pieces of music," he said.

In April McClure hosted several workshops at St. Luke worship sites to gather information for the concert Mass. Several Livingston County residents at the workshop held at St. Patrick Church shared their memories with him.

Beatrice Cicero of Leicester recalled Father Charles Reynolds’ countless contributions to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. Betty Flynn of Mount Morris remembered how St. Patrick’s parochial school played an integral part of parish life. Donna Palermo Guido, St. Luke’s coordinator of volunteer outreach and evangelization, told McClure the story of how a painting on the interior of St. Patrick Church depicting the first verse of John’s Gospel was inspired by a magazine cover.

The final workshop session will follow the 8 a.m. Mass Sunday, June 1, at St. Mary, 4 Avon Road, Geneseo. Information also may be given to McClure by calling 585-243-0324 or e-mailing


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