Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Music Enriches Parish

By PRISCILLA GREEAR, Staff Writer | Published July 21, 2005

Sacred organ music has resounded throughout Sacred Heart Church for more than a century, beautifying the liturgy and uplifting the congregation in prayer. Today its beautiful pipe organ combines the historic and the modern.

The parish’s first pipe organ was installed in 1901, replaced in 1920 and again in 1975 and 1980, after which the parish bought an electronic organ.

However, in December 2002 parishioners rejoiced with the installation of a new 46-rank pipe organ, which was dedicated at a recital the following May. It has the original 1901 instrument façade woodwork and stenciled pipes, which have been restored to their original beauty.

“It’s just been absolutely wonderful. It just reaches out and literally caresses the congregation (at) the Sunday Mass and it’s a wonderful accompaniment instrument for the choir,” said William Krape, music director since 1983 and organist.

There is “a good marriage” between the “beautiful instrument” and the beauty of the church, he said. It’s especially noticeable at the many weddings held at Sacred Heart.

The organ “has really made all the difference as far as weddings go because it’s a really festive instrument and the organ, of course, now really enhances worship. It’s even more inspiring now that (the church) has a beautiful instrument.”

As the Sacred Heart choir is grounded in Gregorian chant and other sacred music from the church’s treasure chest of classics passed down through the centuries, he is glad to have such a fine organ. The parish also provides a variety of music throughout its weekend Masses.

“We were very interested in keeping a good traditional worship style of music going and the choir has been very dedicated to continuing the tradition of sacred music … and it really has enhanced the uplifting feeling in church … My mission has been to give everybody good quality music and provide some variety,” Krape said.

A folk group led by John Prevost provides music for the 6 p.m. Sunday Mass, and a children’s choir was established last fall, directed by Gertrude Tinker-Sachs. The Sunday 10 a.m. Mass is the most traditional, while the Saturday 5:30 p.m. Mass and the Sunday 8:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. Masses have a mix of traditional and contemporary works. A Hispanic choir led by Lester Mendiola leads the congregation during the Sunday Spanish Mass at 2 p.m. Sacred Heart was the first church to regularly hold a Spanish Mass, beginning in 1968.

On Nov. 20 Krape will perform the third St. Cecilia Organ Recital named after the patron saint of music. It’s a joy for him to enrich the liturgy of the congregation through music. “I’ve just thoroughly loved Sacred Heart from the very first time I went there. The church means a tremendous amount to me. I have loved working there. It’s been a very uplifting, wonderful experience.”