Music For Rite Of Christian Marriage Is Sacred or Classical
Clarion Herald Newspaper, April 2012
Gone are the days when a bride can select Etta James' "At Last" or a popular Usher song to be sung during a Catholic church wedding liturgy.
"Most of the churches, especially since Hurricane Katrina, have initiated more guidelines as far as music goes," said local vocalist Trish Foti. "The music should be about the covenant between the couple and God, not love songs." Foti said she emphasizes to couples that the Catholic wedding liturgy is more than a symbolic gesture on the part of the couple. It is a sacrament, and sacred and classical music are the appropriate choices.
"Couples are not just picking a secular venue; they are embarking on planning a liturgy that will help them in their married life," she said. "We are getting them to understand that it's a liturgy." Foti will ask couples if there are scriptures or beloved hymns (especially those sung during Communion such as "Taste and See" or "We Have Been Told") that mean something to them in their faith journey. She then will try to coordinate the two.
"If you explain to couples the history of how the liturgy is set up and get them to understand liturgy, they have a better understanding that it's about the sacrament between the couple and God, creating the covenant between the couple and God," she said. "When you get them to understand, they sit there in awe. You take it out of the secular realm and put it in this sacred realm. Marriage is hard, but the church is giving you this gift by inviting God into this union. We can do this on a spiritual level with music, so it becomes way more significant. It is because of this shift, Foti gives suggestions to Couples:
1. Call churches of interest and inquire about their liturgy guidelines.
2. Ask if the church has a music coordinator. This person could be a vocalist, organist or sacristan.
3. Book musicians nine to 12 months ahead. Stipends vary greatly, depending on a musician's experience and expertise, but average $250- $350 for each musician. "It's more important to do with less and have a team work together well than have more musicians who have not worked together before," she said. Make sure musicians are familiar with the changes in the Mass setting. The "Mass of Renewal" is the preferred setting in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Consider where the majority of guests are coming from so they are familiar with the Mass setting and can participate in the music.
4. Select Mass readings you like and decide if you will bring flowers to the Blessed Mother, give parents flowers or any extra activities during the ceremony.
5. Start looking for songs.
6. Coordinate the readings with the songs. The coordinator will provide musical arrangements for the musicians and coordinate payment.
"When planning the music, you want to have one person who understands liturgy and a group of people (musicians) who have worked well together," Foti said. "The flow of the Mass is important."
When couples are actively involved in selecting meaningful wedding music or readings, these selections can bring a smile to their faces when heard in the future, even if they are having a bad day. "Because it's a liturgy," Foti said, "it's a very valuable thing we can give to that couple."
Trends in music
Couples can personalize their wedding by selecting music for the prelude, processional, Responsorial psalm, Gospel acclamation, the liturgy of the Eucharist and Communion Rite. The most requested traditional selections' remain: Pachelbel's "Canon in D"; "Trumpet Voluntary" by Clarke; Schubert's "Ave Maria"; "Wherever You Go, II Haas; "Bridal Prayer," Copeland; "The Gift of Love," Copeland; "How Beautiful," Twila Paris; and "Panis Angelicus" by Franck.
Foti has noticed changes in the way music is selected. With couples now generally older, their parents are often consulted to plan the music; it's no longer just the bride-to-be and her mom. "It's more of a family thing," she said. "I think it's a great bonding opportunity for the parents and their children. I think it's a positive thing."
Since Katrina, Foti has coordinated wedding concerts at the larger churches downtown with local musicians. She details music selections and educates couples about the liturgy and how music and musicians can make a difference.
"A cohesive ensemble with lots of experience together as part of a liturgical celebration is key," she said. "Music should enhance, not distract from the liturgy. Even after 30 years being involved with music, Foti still enjoys working weddings. "I feel blessed," Foti said. "I really love working with the brides. I get attached to the family. I really look at that as an important part of the ministry I do. I get a kick watching.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at email@example.com.
Listen to an interview with Trish:
Lisa Hendley - Catholicmoments Podcast (Nov 29, 2007)
Trish Foti: ANSWERING GOD'S CALL
Answering Gods call is not always an easy thing to do. In her twenties, Trish Foti suffered a stroke that should have kept her from singing again. But her firm belief that God helps those He calls changed all that.
Picture it. Its December, its cold, Christmas is only a few weeks away. In the frost air of the twilight you can still see your breath in front of you as you speak. You're walking along Jackson square in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. Off to one side you can see the lofty spires of the St. Louis Cathedral. You pass by the statue of Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, after whom Jackson Park is named. Then you hear voices. A group of carolers is singing. You smile as you see the little girl singing along in the group.
You think, my, she has a beautiful voice! Shell grow up to be a great singer one day! And you would be right.
The voice belongs to Trish Foti, mother of two; a 14-year-old daughter, and a 8-year-old son. Trish has been singing her whole life and has recently recorded her second CD. She has a deep-rooted faith in God and chooses to use her incredible talents to give glory to God in song, and to teach others to do the same. Trish was born and raised in New Orleans. In the South, the family was important. Trish and her younger sister grew up around parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who taught the girls to love and enjoy their family, and that faith in God is the glue that keeps the family together. Music was one of the things that made their family special. Singing Christmas Carols in Jackson Square; singing their picnic songs while she and her grandma, Mama Dear would can pickles out on the patio; writing a song and singing it to win a talent competition in the sixth grade; these were all stepping stones that led Trish to become the woman she is today.
Her first brush with music happened in the sixth grade. She remembers it clearly.
One of the Sisters handed me a guitar, sat me down, and told me I would be playing for Mass on Friday. Yes, Sister! was the only option here, so I got busy.
Trish learned drums in a similar fashion when one of the Dominican Sisters, who ran her school, had her play the drums for one of the New Orleans. famed Mardi Gras parades. Today, Trish can play guitar, drums, piano, and saxophone.
Her vocal talents became obvious during one of her guitar lessons. She was in the eighth grade at the time, and she had written a song and she sang it for her guitar teacher. He was so impressed that he had some friends at Loyola College of Music listen to her performance. They, too, were impressed, and recommended she study voice. She began to take singing lessons and started to sing in local theater productions. It was during one of those summer plays that she met Dreux Montegut, a student at Loyola, who became her accompanist. It was a friendship that she would cherish all her life.
Today, Trish leads a busy life. She teaches music at St. Clement of Rome Catholic School in New Orleans, where she also serves as Choral Music Director, directing two choirs. She sings at Mass at St. Clement Of Rome Catholic Church and guest cantors often at churches throughout the Archdiocese of New Orleans. She also performs concerts of her music throughout the area with Dreux. Plus she has a family to take care of. How does she do it?
I strongly believe in carving in family time, Trish says. Family has to be right after God. Trish also believes in preserving her heritage, so traditional Catholic devotions such as praying the Rosary are a priority in her house.
Balancing family and work is sometimes like being in the circus. I often feel like the fire juggler in the circus. I stay focused by offering up my work. I give it all to God. God makes it all happen, not me. I learned a long time ago that God truly equips those he calls. He makes all things possible!
Answering Gods call is important to Trish. She describes it this way. God calls each of us to do His will. I believe He has a plan for our lives. I love the encyclical of education that calls us to teach as Jesus did. I have devoted myself to educating Gods children. I don't think you can have longevity in education today unless it truly is a vocation from God. Its not an easy job. I teach music to PK to the 8th grade and direct two performing choirs, and there are times when it is overwhelming. Last year, I counted 52 liturgies, plus concert performances and plays, not counting my solo work. I couldn't do this without God. I think if you keep yourself grounded, you will find that God will carry you.
In 2003, Trish, with the help of her friend Dreux Montegut, recorded her first CD called Inspired. It is a project that included songs like the Twila Paris hit How Beautiful, Schuberts Ave Maria, How Great Thou Art, and a song made famous by Amy Grant, El Shaddai. Trish has felt a kinship to Amy, whom she considers her favorite artist. They are near the same age, both have had children around the same time, and Trish admires the genuineness in Amy Grant, and met and even sang with her during a concert in New Orleans. Grants self-titled album and her Age to Age album both remain among Trish's favorite albums.
Trish recently released a second CD called In the Stillness. This is about finding God in the midst of the business life; finding God, finding peace. There are some beautiful contemporary lullabies originally recorded by Twila Paris and Sandi Patty, as well as beautiful classical pieces. There are some more praise and worship tunes to help kids of all ages connect to God in the quiet.
Her favorite song on the project is one called My Whole Life Long.
As a Mom, its my sole desire for my kids to know God their whole life.
Dreux Montegut helped produce both projects. His own credentials are impressive. Also a New Orleans native, he graduated from Loyola University and has a Masters Degree from Eastern School of Music at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans where he directs the St. Louis Boy Choir, the Cathedral Choir, and the concert Choir.
Trish and I share a dedication to music ministry and to devoting ourselves to educating Gods children, Says Dreux. Music is such a gift and inspiration in today's youth. Our friendship helps make the ministry together easy and is a gift to each other, as well as to our audiences.
Trish talks about her reason for recording music.
People in the area have been asking us to do this for years. We decided to get together to record a few things for utilitarian reasons. We were definitely moved by the Spirit and saw the need to do this not for ourselves, but for God and our community. I had not been shy about tackling this because I had a stroke when I was In my twenties. Once people heard the end result of the first demo, it became obvious that people needed to hear this. They gained strength and peace from it. It was what we had to do.
My stroke was definitely a turning point in my life. My daughter was six months old, and quite frankly, I wasn't supposed to be able to sing again. I knew this was Gods plan. My faith keeps me strong. I knew I needed to do this to inspire other who had hardships in their lives and to let them know that with God, all is possible.
With the talents she has, Trish could have done just about anything she wanted. Why Catholic music?
To me there was no other way. Everything I have learned prepared me for this. Catholic music is just who I am. Its my calling its what Ive done all my life.
Trish cities two examples as to why she feels her music is important. One fall while she was signing copies of her CD for fans, two women, both moms, came up to her separately and told her that they had children with special needs, and that her music was the only thing that could calm them down. The second incident involved her grandmothers best friend, whom Trish had not seen since her grandmothers funeral three years earlier. The women had come to a retreat center to see Trish perform and told Trish that her grandmother would have been proud of her.
Trish has eclectic taste in music. She names artists Julie Andrews, Josh Groban, Rene Fleming, Amy Grant, Erin O.Donnelll, John Michael Talbot, and Susan Ashton as some of her favorite artists. She also loves classical music Samuel Barber, J.S. Bach, and Faure.
Her Catholic faith is the core of her life. She and her family share a rich prayer life. In addition to praying the rosary, she and her family take part in the liturgical and para-liturgical celebrations. Her favorite saint is St. Therese de Lisieux. Her favorite scripture passage is 1 Corinthians 2: 9-10 what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
Trish holds a special devotion to our Blessed Mother.
Mary is central to my life, Trish explains. I admire her ability to say yes completely to God, no matter what the cost. As a child of God, she comforts me; and as a Mom, she inspires me.
I love the saying hands to work, heart to God. Truly all we do must be offered for His glory. There is a simple prayer I say with my own children: Jesus, please make me more like you each day. With this in our hearts, we can do Gods work.
My definition of a hero is someone who gives you wings to fly and hope to try!
Jim Logue, Jr. - Grapevine Magazine
Catholic Singer Says The Year Of The Eucharist Is For The Whole Family
by Jeff Burson
METAIRIE, Oct 28, 04 (CatholicMusicNetwork.com) - On October 18th, 2004, Pope John Paul II decreed this year to be known as the Year of the Eucharist. He said The Year of the Eucharist is time of intense encounter with Christ who is present in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. Through this mystery, He sacramentaly realizes His paschal sacrifice which redeemed humanity from the enslavement of sin and established Gods Kingdom of love, justice and peace. Bishop Loverde of Arlington in his homily that day said, ...the "Year of the Eucharist" will strengthen and deepen our prayer life if we take practical steps to make adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and regular celebration of the Eucharist even more the very fabric of our lives. Loverde then asked, Parents, is there a creative way in which you can foster a deeper love and awareness of the Eucharist in your family life?
Are children prepared for this special year? Will they understand the real presence in the Eucharist?
Catholic music artist Trish Foti says children do understand that Jesus is with us under the form of bread and wine. Foti says that many parents would be floored by what their children's minds can comprehend. She should know, since Foti is Choral Music Director for St. Clement Rome Catholic School in Metairie, Louisiana, and mom to two wonderful children. Devoted to Catholic Music education, Trish's focus is on Children's Music Liturgy and the inspiration of our youth. Classically trained, Trish has performed throughout the south with her friend and pianist Dreux Montequt and has released two CDs. The first was called Inspired and won critical attention. Foti's newest CD is called In the Stillness...Love songs and Lullabies. It is a meditative prayerful CD that parents and their children would like. One of the spotlights of the CD is on family Eucharistic adoration and quite time.
Trish Foti tells us in this interview why the Year of the Eucharist should involve parents and their children.
CMN: Why do you think the time is right to declare this year the Year of the Eucharist?
TFG: With the unrest in our world and our society I think that there is no greater gift that the Holy Father could give us than to direct our gaze to the Blessed Sacrament. There is such indescribable love, peace, and joy in His presence. I know that in strengthening our devotion we will strengthen ourselves and our community.
I am very blessed to have an adoration chapel in our parish that is open 24 hours a day. I cherish the time that I spend there in quiet prayer. It strengthens me and re-energizes me on a daily-day and comforts and heals me in those times of need. It is a true blessing. Its quiet reminds me to slow down and listen.
One of the things that lead me to recording my latest CD In the Stillness is my own need as a working mom to slow it down and listen to God. Our world moves so quickly, I think children of all ages need to slow down and be with God each day. The wonderful ritual of rocking a baby to sleep peaceful surrender and for some busy moms and dads that bedtime with their children might be there only down time in a very hectic day. How wonderful, I thought, if that time could be prayerful reflection for the young and not so young. Something the family could enjoy together. It is quiet meditations for every child of God love songs to God and His children.
CMN: Speaking of children, when is the right time to talk to them about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?
TFG: As a Mom, I think it is important to teach our children about Jesus presence in the Holy Eucharist from the time they are very small. When they are very young it is about modeling respectful behavior and reverence. Praying hands bowing quiet prayers children absorb all we do. Even small children understand the concepts of special and gift. Even pre-school students can understand the idea of Jesus being with us in the bread and the wine. As a parent, I know that it is my most important task to pass on the important and sacredness of Jesus presence in the Eucharist.
Actually, as teacher, I think many parents would be floored by what their children understand and observe. Children strive for goodness they seek love I cant think of a more beautiful way to share it with them. Often they come back on a Monday and make some pretty profound statements on their Sunday experiences. From the teary-eyed no one took me to church because the game was on to Jesus was in my heart today.
CMN: Being a teacher, how have you been able to reflect Christs love for us to your students?
TFG: My true calling, as a Christian educator, is not only to mirror Christ to my students, but to be the mirror that allows my students to see Christ in themselves. This is a tall order in our crazy world, one that I ask for guidance in daily. I pray with my choir each time before we sing, Lord please take my song and make it your song. We need to remind ourselves constantly that this is about using the gifts that God gave us for His glory.
I teach music to PK-8 in a Catholic school, so I am given the wonderful vehicle of music to reach my students. One of the things I like best in my job is that no two years or days are the same. Children are wonderfully honest and so they challenge me to keep my own music ministry changing to keep up with their tastes and needs. What worked 10-15 years ago may or may not work today. I LOVE the challenge! I am refreshed by the sweet innocence of those little ones and challenged by my teens. My favorite moments though are the spontaneous ones when I see the pre-teens reaching out to help the little ones in Liturgy. Recently a group of 5th graders started volunteering recess to teach Kinders their new favorite praise and worship songs.unplanned, uninvited.so inspired, so touching to see them spreading Gods word with these babies, a true gift for me as a teacher.
CMN: Was there a teacher or person who help guide you in your musical talent?
TFG: That's funny actually I was a VERY shy student in a very traditional Catholic school in the 70s. A Sister pulled me out of class one day handed me a guitar and informed me that Id be playing for Mass on Friday and left me alone in this big hall. I dare not even question or hesitate. Two chords later, I was playing for Mass. I started taking guitar lessons, because I needed more than two chords, and that's when things changed! My guitar teacher gave me homework one day. He asked me to write a song. When I returned for my lesson I sang it for him and he rushed out of the room. I had no idea what I had done! He returned with a tape recorder, taped the song and sent it in to the local University. A few weeks later I was singing with the Loyola University Opera. I was 12 years old and thankfully too naive to be nervous. Actually, that's when Dreux and I met. He was my first accompanist! We've been friends ever since
CMN: Your debut CD is called Inspired, who do you hope will be inspired by your music?
TFG: You know we all need help and inspiration on lifes journey. So young or of wisdom I hope that everyone will be touched by something on the CD. I am so concerned for our youth today. They are so surrounded by media that brings them down. I tell them often they become what they fill themselves with, musically. I work hard to capture their attention with music that appeals to them. After they are pumped up I try to introduce the music that is part of our Catholic heritage. Its always interesting how much they like it! My favorite story this year happened last October. My phone ran one evening at home. It was a Mom of a Pre-K student from school. She apologized for bothering me, but explained that her son had been singing SOMETHING for weeks. She held the phone out.you could hear the little boy in the bathtub singing at the top of his lungs! The Mom came back to the phone and said frantically that she was sure this was not English. I was laughing and smiling it was the Ave Maria! From the mouths of babes oh, how happy Mary must have been!
Another touching moment is after a signing at a local Catholic bookstore I had two Moms with disabled children approach me separately. They told me that my first CD Inspired was the only thing that calmed there little ones. It seemed that God kept sending me people to reassure me that we were on the right path and for me to continue to make my music available to people.
CMN: Much of the money for the concerts you perform goes to Catholic schools for families that are struggling. Tell me a little about this school and what you do to help them.
TFG: Dreux Montequt, my pianist and good friend, are both very committed to Catholic education. We made a decision early on that if we did concerts to promote the CD we would donate the money to music programs in area Catholic Schools. Music is such a vital part of Catholic education, but most often totally unfunded in Louisiana.
One school in particular we had a concert for in April 2004 was for the Good Shepherd school. This unique school was formed by the late Fr. Harry Thompson. It is a free school for inner city children. Built in the heart of downtown, parents pay tuition by service hours to the school. Its amazing really. It is funded on private donations. Area business people serve lunch on their breaks, it beautiful. Our Concert will help to fund their music program.
I am also sponsoring a Music for the Military" program through the St. Clement of Rome School Choir and Band Program. We are collecting Christian CDs for the military and will be shipping them to the Middle East for Christmas. The response has been beautiful. Many artists from the Catholic Association of Musicians have very generously donated their CDs. For more info readers can check out my website tfotigenco.com.
CMN: Trish, you went through a struggle in you life after you had your baby. Tell us about this cross and what you had to do to overcome it and how it strengthened your faith?
TFG: I think its Phil 4:13 that says, In Him who is the source of my strength is the strength of everything. Yes, after the birth of my daughter I had a stroke. It was an indescribable experience really. It seemed to be the consensus at the time that I certainly wouldn't sing again or play guitar or piano. I thank God for my faith. Without the strength that my faith gave me and my family, I am certain I would not have recovered. My friends often tell me my life reads as science fiction. I laugh, but I know that God only does give us what we can handle. Its been 13 years since my stroke, and for many years I didn't talk about the pain and horrible and humbling process of recovery. Many encounters in the past few years have shown me, that there are others that need to hear my story. They need to know that through God all things are possible. You just cant give up God does have a plan for your life. That's why my first CD was called Inspired part of this project is in thanksgiving really for those that inspired me. Hopefully, it will inspire someone whose life path as taken a detour.
CMN: Thank you Trish!
Look for Trish Foti's new release "In the Stillness...Love songs and Lullabies at CatholicMusicNetwork.com. Also pick up her debut CD Inspired on sale now!
Jeff Burson - Catholic Music Network