Catholic Music Ministry

Members of Georgetown’s Music Ministry in Havana, Cuba, spring 2023

There is the Music of Heaven in all things and we have forgotten how to hear it until we sing

St. Hildegard of Bingen 

Music is firmly integrated into the worship and prayer practices of Catholic Life at Georgetown. As musicians in service to the Church, the mission of Georgetown’s Catholic Music Ministry is to inspire the sung prayer of the university community when it gathers for worship and to enhance the spiritual life of Georgetown by giving voice to the beauty of the liturgy. 

Catholic Music Ministry at Georgetown draws on the rich diversity of the Church’s musical tradition and celebrates a variety of musical styles and genres. Our choirs and ensembles include students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all ages, majors, musical experience, and religious backgrounds. There is a place for everyone in Catholic Music Ministry at Georgetown and you don’t need to be Catholic to participate – just a love of music. There are a number of opportunities available. We invite you to explore using the links below. Should you have any questions, or to express your interest in participating, please email Dr. Russell Weismann, Director of Music at rjw48@georgetown.edu.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.”

Psalm 98: 4

Choir

University Chapel Choir

The Georgetown University Chapel Choir is a 32-voice auditioned liturgical ensemble specializing in the study, rehearsal, and singing of choral literature from all periods, styles, and cultures in the context of Roman Catholic liturgy. Because of Georgetown’s Jesuit identity, the values of the University Chapel Choir reflect the mission of the university in respect to the sharing of faith, cultivation of leadership, the pursuit of excellence, and service to others.

The Choir is a diverse social community of students reflective of a multitude of academic majors, ages, backgrounds, and choral experience. The qualifications for membership in the group are a pleasant voice and a cooperative attitude. Previous choral experience is helpful, but not necessary. Rehearsal attendance is essential.

Occasionally the Chapel Choir enjoys masterclasses from guest artists and clinicians, ministerial opportunities off-campus at Washington’s Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle and the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, and international choral pilgrimages. The choir recently participated in Music Ministry’s pilgrimage to Cuba in 2023 and looks forward to a pilgrimage to Italy in spring 2024. 

University Chapel Choir meets during the academic term with rehearsals on Thursdays from 7 PM to 8:30 PM and Mass on Sundays at 6 PM (5:15 PM warmup). For more information or to schedule an audition, fill out this Google form.

Contemporary Choir

Georgetown’s Contemporary Choir sings every Sunday during the academic term at the 8 PM Mass and rehearses immediately before the Mass at 6:30 PM. The ensemble incorporates voices and instruments with a repertoire focused on energetic contemporary, folk, and praise and worship music. Student members of the Contemporary Choir comprise a variety of academic disciplines but are brought together by a communal love of faith and music. Through participation in this choir, members engage themselves in service to one another and to the congregation. Members of the Contemporary Choir have the opportunity to audition for Music Ministry pilgrimages abroad, the next one being to Italy in spring 2024. 

There are no requirements for membership to sing, but interested instrumentalists must audition. For more information, please fill out this Google form.

Coro en Español

Once per month, Catholic Ministry at Georgetown hosts a Mass in Spanish on Sundays at 4 PM. The Coro en Español provides music for the Mass and facilitates active sung prayer. The ensemble is made up of both singers and instrumentalists. The musical selections are taken from both the rich tradition of Hispanic liturgical music, as well as new and contemporary compositions.

Rehearsals are held once per month before the scheduled Mass at 3 PM. For more information, please fill out this Google form.

Taize Ensemble

Throughout the semester, the Christian communities at Georgetown come together for Taize prayer, an ecumenical form of worship created by the brothers of the Taize Community in France. These services incorporate simple, repeated songs, multi-lingual prayers, candlelight, and intentional silence. Students with experience as singers or instrumentalists are encouraged to help plan and lead these services. Short rehearsals are held before each gathering. For more information, please fill out this Google form.

Leadership

Catholic Music Ministry Internships

Catholic Music Ministry at Georgetown employs a select number of musically gifted students in a variety of assistant/student director roles. Assignments vary depending on the skills of each applicant, but generally, there are opportunities available for the following positions:

  • Music Ministry Pianists
  • Cantors
  • University Chapel Choir Assistant Director
  • Contemporary Choir Assistant Director
  • Choral Scholars
  • Organ Scholars (student organists)

Music Ministry Interns perform a multitude of tasks, including, but not limited to, accompanying rehearsals, providing musical leadership for liturgical celebrations and special events, promoting Music Ministry on and off campus, recruiting new members, and assisting with administrative tasks as needed. Interns are expected to be able to read music and piano proficiency is required for most positions.

A limited number of Music Ministry Internships are available each year by audition only. Interns should be eligible for payment through the federal work-study program, but exceptions can be made in exceptional circumstances. Specific job descriptions are discussed with the Director of Music, Dr. Russell Weismann. Please email Dr. Weismann at rjw48@georgetown.edu for more information.

Choral Scholars

Majoring in math but love counting measures?

The University Chapel Choir includes a group of exceptional Choral Scholars who exhibit advanced musical ability and training in voice. Choral Scholars come from various academic disciplines and commit to providing musical leadership and assistance within the University Chapel Choir. Eligible candidates must be able to commit to the schedule of the University Chapel Choir (Thursday rehearsal 7 PM to 8:30 PM, and Sunday 6 PM Mass, 5:15 PM call) as well as the occasional special events (i.e., Candlelight Carols, Mass of the Holy Spirit, Baccalaureate Mass).

Choral Scholars are offered unrivaled musical opportunities at Georgetown. A limited number of Choral Scholarships are available each year by audition only. Interested persons are encouraged to email Dr. Weismann at rjw48@georgetown.edu.

Cantor Ministry

Members of the Cantor Ministry lead the congregation in sung prayer at all Sunday liturgies at Georgetown. The primary role of the Cantor is to proclaim the Responsorial Psalm and to lead musical portions of the Mass not sung by the congregation (i.e. Gospel Acclamation verse). While the cantor additionally leads the congregation in their participation in hymns, songs, and service music, their role is not to sing on the congregation’s behalf, but rather to sing with the congregation as a unified body of gathered worshippers.

Because of the specialized nature of the Cantor Ministry, members are carefully auditioned and are required to be able to read music and to rehearse music independently of an accompanist. Due to these skills requirements, qualified members of the Cantor Ministry are provided a stipend for their time preparing their ministry. For more information or to schedule an audition, fill out this Google form.

Performance

Pipedreams

Dahlgren Chapel during a Pipedreams performance

Pipedreams is a series of late-night musical programs held three times per semester in Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart. Dubbed, “nighttime music for the soul,” Pipedreams seeks to promote musical art on campus by providing performance opportunities to qualified student singers and instrumentalists. Within a darkened chapel, members of the Georgetown University community enjoy contemplative and enriching musical performances, each lasting about 30 minutes in duration. Members of any/all faiths are welcome! Each program takes place at 11 PM.