Sacred music from Mass graces Appaloosa Music Festival

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Hundreds of Appaloosa Music Festival attendees participated in the 9:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge at the Skyline Ranch Resort’s Clubhouse Stage in Front Royal Sept. 2. It is the fourth year for the annual three-day festival.

“This festival, in a very real way, allows you to sing and proclaim the goodness of the Lord — for all the gifts that are ours, especially the gift of faith,” Bishop Burbidge said.

The Mass served as the opener for a day of performances across the resort’s four stages, with more than 15 other groups performing Sunday, including the Boyle School of Irish Dance, the U.S. Army’s Six-String Soldiers, Irish folk artist Aoife Scott, and the folk band Scythian with a 10 p.m. performance. The Appaloosa Music Festival bills itself as family friendly and one of D.C.’s top roots festivals. The Fedoryka siblings — Alexander, Danylo and Larissa —  who started Scythian are also the festival founders and invited all to experience their Catholic faith, in particular, through the Sunday Mass.

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge reminded the festival-goers that the hearts of those they encounter at work, in their homes or on campus will be changed so much more effectively by the witness of lives lived well than by mere words.

“We preach and proclaim so much more through the example of our lives than the words that we say,” he said. 

All donations for the Mass were given to the Little Sisters of the Poor who weaved through the crowds with collection baskets. The sisters are known for providing care for the poor.

Katie Rubbelke of St. Joseph Church in Herndon and a 2018 graduate of American University in Washington said that the biggest takeaway for her from the Mass was Bishop Burbidge’s three suggestions on how to be “doers of the word, and not just hearers.”

“He provided a very clear roadmap to help each of us in our daily lives: being faithful, having integrity and being humble. Those three things are key,” Rubbelke said. “I’m also a big fan of Bishop Burbidge, of how he interacts with the youth, and it was great to be able to meet him after Mass and thank him for his podcast, which I listen to regularly.”

Ben-David Warner, who led the choir at Mass, remarked that the intermingling of sacred liturgy and folk music was in perfect key.

“We have all this really great Celtic, folk, rock, and country music going on here, and when you come to Mass we have really excellent sacred music, too,” Warner said.

Most of the choir members at Mass were from the University Singers, a group at the University of Virginia, while the string players were performers at the festival, including Larissa Fedoryka of Scythian.

Buy photos from the Appaloosa Music Festival at catholicherald.smugmug.com.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018