Multicultural Concert strikes the right chord

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Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Church in Arlington has 11 different choirs that enhance the numerous weekend liturgies at the busy parish. Music Director Han Pham had the difficult task of blending all of those voices into one combined choir for the Multicultural Choral Concert held April 25 at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria.

The Vietnamese choir was one of eight that performed Saturday night in a historic event that was sponsored by Ireton, in cooperation with the Office of Multicultural Ministries of the Arlington Diocese.

Father Edward J. Bresnahan, Ireton's chaplain and assistant principal, served as master of ceremonies for the concert. He was assisted by a group of Ireton students who introduced the various ethnic groups.

The performing choirs included: the Ghana Catholic Community Choir from Queen of Apostles Church in Alexandria; St. Paul Chung Korean Choir from Fairfax; the St. Joseph Gospel Choir from Alexandria, under the direction of Eugene Harper; the Filipino Serenata Choir; Good Shepherd's Hispanic Charismatic Choir, directed by Geimy Hilario; and Heartsongs: Tam Tinh Ca.

Harper directed all of the combined choirs in the grand finale, a rendition of the "Celtic Alleluia."

Corinne Monogue and Liz Tauke from the Office of Multicultural Ministries were the chief organizers of the event.

"The concert was so much fun to plan and coordinate," said Monogue. "We had close to 200 performers and their timing on stage went flawlessly." She attributed that to the professionalism of the choral performers and the expertise of Ireton's students and staff.

"With limited time for rehearsals and many groups meeting each other for the first time that evening, having it turn out like it did was spectacular," she said.

"This is something we would definitely like to consider doing again," Monogue said. "It was such a unique way of exposing our Catholic faith through cultures, identity and music.

"We are blessed with many diocesan cultural groups that can share this part of their Catholic identity and historical experiences through their Catholic faith experiences brought to the United States from their native lands."

Monogue said that listening to the "heartfelt performances" made her realize that "our love for our neighbor is global."

The Office of Multicultural Ministries is supported by funds from the Bishop's Lenten Appeal.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015