Published November 22, 2012
Acoustics make all the difference in the world to a choir. And acoustics certainly made a remarkable difference to Norcross’s Mary Our Queen Church choir during their recent performances in three Catholic churches in Buffalo, N.Y.
The choir and several parishioners from Mary Our Queen made a pilgrimage to New York in early November to help raise awareness of their parish’s efforts to relocate St. Gerard Catholic Church, currently in Buffalo, to Georgia. The choir was led by Linda Lufter Morgan, choir director and accompanied by Margaret McDonald, organist.
Mary Our Queen administrator Father David Dye said, “We were awestruck by the churches in Buffalo. It would be magnificent to have our own such church in Atlanta.”
As part of the trip, the choir performed informally at St. Gerard’s Parish Nov. 3, joined voices with the St. Louis Catholic Church choir for Mass, and performed at Holy Angels Catholic Church on the afternoon of Nov. 4.
St. Gerard has been closed since 2009, but the group was able to tour the church, marvel at the stained-glass windows, marble columns, magnificent paintings and the domed mural. St. Gerard is a Gilded Age approximation of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, one of the four major basilicas of Rome.
While nearly 1,000 miles separate the two parishes, supporters believe that the plan will allow the former church to have a new life in Georgia as a classic spiritual home for Catholics in the community.
Mary Our Queen started the fundraising campaign, which continues, in 2010.
While visiting the parish, the choir performed a cappella for visitors, including former St. Gerard parishioners who live in Buffalo and want to help move the church.
“We could hear ourselves so perfectly in St. Gerard’s. I can hardly wait to have the church moved,” said Greg Birmingham, tenor, former Buffalo resident and member of the steering committee leading the Moved by Grace campaign.
Choir member Mike Hickey, admiring the beauty of St. Gerard’s, said, “We liked the acoustics in St. Gerard the best of the churches.”
The project is growing in awareness and funding to move a classical treasure to its special new home in Peachtree Corners. After the move, the church will become Mary Our Queen’s new home in Norcross.
Mary Our Queen choir members include: Chariness Pierre, Meghan DiRito, Susan Paul, Melanie Swicegood, Berta Biltz, John Cayce, Tommy Williams, Greg Birmingham, Scott Wilbur, Tommy Vela, Jennifer Birmingham, Beverly Stone, Nancy Baydale, Sharon Wilbur, Elizabeth Williams, David Paul, Mike Welch, Jim Stone and Mike Hickey.