The art of song and speech go together like peanut butter and jelly – just ask the Angels in Lockport, NY.
The gift of gab often goes along with the gift of song, as is evident in the An-Jo Angels choral sextet based in Lockport, New York. I found this story at the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, an article written by Bill Wolcott. It was especially appealing to me as a music minister and cantor. The Angels are comprised of six women, four of whom sing at St. Anthony’s and St. Joseph’s Masses, using their talents to serve others with their voices both through song at church and through broadcast commercial jingles and voice-overs.
The Angels are Michelle Farina and her daughter, Melissa Brown; Betty Jackson and her daughter, Emily Kearns; Paula Venne and Jean Morse. According to the story in the Lockport Journal, the Rev. Joseph Rogliano, their former pastor, encouraged the formation of the Lockport group four years ago and christened the choir from the twinned Catholic parishes with its name, Angels.â€ Each of the ladies sing solo as cantors three weekends and get together for Masses on the last weekend of the month. The Angels have recorded a CD with the proceeds supporting the two churches. The Angels are also being considered a possibility to sign on with composer Vince Ambrosetti’s record company.
The Angels are accompanied by piano player Ken Kaufman, who is the Buffalo Sabres organist and also Michelle Farina’s husband. Kaufman and Farina are the musical directors. Kaufman has written hundreds of jingles, including Tops never stops.â€
The Angels sing mostly contemporary Christian, sacred music, well-known Catholic hymns and some secular music. We like to be liturgically correct and go along with the liturgy of week,â€ said Farina, who coordinates the songs with the priest each week. Father Joe helped us get us going.â€
As for recent jingle and voice-over work:
Current commercials include Brown doing, Who do you love? for Brian Michael Jewelers; Kearns is the voice for Valu has everything you need. Farina sings for the Kidney Car and Venne for Kenny Carpets. It’s so much fun. We really love it, Farina said. It’s a very talented group of girls. We enjoy each other socially. It’s a wonderful bond. We are so in tune with each other. It’s a natural thing for us.
As mentioned above, the ladies all sing as cantors at their respective parishes. Cantors lead the music and serve the congregation though song, including hymns, singing the Responsorial Psalm, Gospel Acclamation, and all sung parts of the Mass. We have incredible parishioners who sing with us. We’re not there to perform, we’re there to invite,â€ Venne said.
The Angels rehearse their pieces twice a month, and more frequently if required. They are going to tour in August and sing with Ambrosetti in Valley Forge, Pa. Ambrosetti is a song writer who travels all over the world for Catholic ministry.
The Angels also sang at the Hurricane Katrina concert at the Palace Theatre and helped raised $22,000. Way to go, ladies (and gentleman)! Are you involved in your church or place of worship as a reader or a musician sharing your vocal gifts?
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