During this uncertain time of isolation and separation, the Notre Dame Folk Choir is announcing the early release of "Catch the Spirit," an exploration of sacred music from the African American and East African traditions, available April 17th. This decision is in keeping with the call issued by Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., to “see the diverse gifts and backgrounds of people as enriching, not dividing…to join together to build a community in which all are included and respected, and each of us contributes to the common good.”
"Catch the Spirit" is a collaboration between the folk choir and noted jazz musicians Chris Dingman, Godwin Louis, Mark Mclean, Chanda Rule, Ike Sturm, gospel singer Emorja Roberson, and Ugandan producer Denis Kyabaggu. "Catch the Spirit" is available now on Spotify, Apple Music and all major digital streaming platforms. Videos of the live performances are available on YouTube.
The album was originally set to release in late May, in conjunction with a U.S. tour. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the choir has postponed appearances in nine west coast cities and has opted to release "Catch the Spirit" for public distribution earlier than planned.
Under the new leadership of Dr. J.J. Wright, the choir has explored the worship experience of black Catholics and Christians in America and East Africa through musical contributions and cultural expressions, particularly as members of the Notre Dame community, and inspired by the charisma of the University’s founding order, the Congregation of Holy Cross.
At the 2018 annual Concert for the Missions the choir performed African American sacred music including gospel, jazz and spirituals. In May of 2019 the folk choir made a three-week pilgrimage to mission sites run by Holy Cross in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya to participate in choir festivals, Masses, workshops, school visits and community gatherings. At the 2019 Concert for the Missions the choir offered a tribute to the communities encountered on their pilgrimage and shared music they learned from the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of East Africa.
Founded in 1980, the Folk Choir serves within Campus Ministry at the University of Notre Dame as one of the principal liturgical choirs. The folk choir’s repertoire is grounded in the canon of Catholic Sacred Music and places a special emphasis on the performance and creation of contemporary music.
More information on "Catch the Spirit", the album’s creation, release, artistic collaborators and related images and videos can be accessed at www.folkchoir.com.
For more information or questions about the University of Notre Dame Folk Choir or "Catch the Spirit" please contact Dr. J.J. Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or (574) 631-5652.
Originally published by folkchoir.nd.edu on April 18, 2020.at