The Cathedral is alive with the sound of children, thanks to the birth of a groundbreaking initiative, the Cathedral Choir Academy (CCA) of Detroit. In residence at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, this comprehensive after school choral music program serves both urban and suburban youth of all faiths, ages 9-15.

The CCA was one of the 23 ministries selected to receive an award from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s inaugural competitive community grants process in Fall 2018.

With the help of Fr. J.J. Mech and music director Joe Balistreri, the Academy opened its doors last September. It is committed to providing an experience in which choristers encounter Christ through sacred music and grow in faith and musical excellence.

In addition to the program in Detroit, CCA director Susan Lindquist partners with three suburban children’s choirs to support and enhance their programming. She emphasizes that the Academy is not intended to take the place of local parish children’s choirs, but to foster their development and provide experiences beyond the parish level. An example of this effort is the Youth Choir Festival the CCA will host on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The day of musical and spiritual reflection is expected to attract 180-200 young singers. Lindquist also plans to offer workshops for children’s choir directors. In its inaugural year, CCA anticipates it will reach over 300 young singers throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Reflecting on the impact of the program, Lindquist quoted Cheryl Lavendar saying, “The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful children.” Years of experience have reinforced Lindquist’s belief in the inherent power of music to transform minds and hearts. Furthermore, referring to the children as “a little band of missionary disciples,” she sees the choir as an authentic and powerful witness to the Word Incarnate. Singing for the honor and glory of God, the CCA choirs are truly unleashing the Gospel in southeastern Michigan.

By: Susan Lindquist, CCA Director

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