"Cantate Omnes," it's a Latin phrase meaning "let us all sing." That's the motivating factor behind the formation of a new young adult choir based at St. Benedict's Parish in Eggertsville. It's for everyone.
"It's an invitation. We want everyone in the community to sing with us," explained Maria Chomicka, music director for St. Benedict's. "Each concert has a congregational hymn that we sing all together."
The group formed early this spring by Chomicka, who wanted to create a way for local young adult singers and musicians to share their talents. It's currently made up of about 30 people from across the diocese ranging in age from 18 to 35, and new members are always welcome.
Core members come from St. Benedict's young adult group, known as [re], who have come for praise and worship nights. They invited friends who were musically inclined to come and sing.
"Somehow we found we had a large chunk of very competent musicians," Chomicka said. "Bringing young adults together and sharing their gifts with the community was the goal of it. We'll see how it goes."
Musical styles range from sacred music, classical, Polish, even show tunes performed as a choir, duets and trios. Each concert will have a different theme, with different singers and instruments. So, each concert will be a unique experience.
"The young adult community, they're always in flux, right? It's kind of hard to pin people down for a permanent commitment. So, we adapt and for each concert, create something new," said Chomicka, adding they have a solid core group.
The group gave a debut concert at St. Joseph University Parish on June 13 with 22 vocalists and instrumentalists. "Helping Others Encounter God Through Music" served as a theme. They performed a diverse selection featuring the spiritual "Over My Head," a duet of "Home" from "Phantom of the Opera," as well as solo pieces on violin, trumpet, organ, piano and voice.
Another concert followed on Aug. 22 at St. Michael Parish in Buffalo, based on the theme of "Love."
The choir, though sponsored by St. Benedict and largely centered on Catholic spirituality, is not just for Catholics. Rather, the group seeks to include those who don't affiliate with any traditional religion by simply sharing the joy of performing music together.
The goal, Chomicka said, like the their debut theme, is to "help others encounter God through music."
"What I have experienced from talking to other people, music can speak to people in a way that no other art really can. It's not specifically religious, but it will lead you to something that is transcendent. As Catholics, we believe that's God. It's just something that will take them out of their ordinary lives," she said. "The goal is to provide people a place to get away from their busy ordinary lives. They can sit back and allow themselves to encounter God through beauty."
The choir is always looking for new members. There are no real requirements for joining.
"We don't audition or anything because we're new. Generally, anyone who has some kind of prior singing experience can be in the choir," Chomicka said.
The name Cantate Omnes has local roots. It is the title of the very first English language hymnal for Catholics in the U.S., which was published in Buffalo in the 1950s by the Church Musicians Guild.
The next concerts will take place during Advent.
For more information visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/cantateomnes/.