A boon, in song, to Catholic education

Debby Boone performs in concert Dec. 2 at Investors Bank Performing Arts Center, Sewell. The program was held to raise funds for the South Jersey Scholarship Fund for Catholic Education.
Bishop Dennis Sullivan sings an Irish hymn.
A choir and orchestral ensemble with students from the six high schools in the Diocese of Camden performs.
Photos by Michael Walsh and James A. McBride

Headliner Debby Boone entertained an engaged crowd with songs and stories at the Investors Bank Performing Arts Center on Dec. 2, but not before offering heartfelt appreciation for her opening act — a choir and orchestral ensemble from the six high schools in the Diocese of Camden. Boone said the talented orchestra made her wish she had learned how to play an instrument in her youth.

The 84-member ensemble opened with a spirited, baroque version of “O Come all Ye Faithful.” “Sleigh Ride” followed and was performed with gusto and precision — vocally and with a variety of percussion effects.

“We chose the music for the level of difficulty… and because it’s fun, especially ‘Sleigh Ride,’” said Claire Collins, choir and band director at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon.

“There is great camaraderie and we have such quality musicianship in our schools. It is wonderful bringing all that talent together.”

Collins expressed gratitude for fellow music and band directors, who helped students learn the music locally. Suzanne Zerone (Paul VI, Haddonfield) and Greg Gardner (Camden Catholic, Cherry Hill) co-directed the concert with Collins. Accompanist Kathy Ford, who teaches private piano lessons at Holy Spirit, was an integral part of the team as well. “Everyone goes that extra mile,” said Collins of the students and music faculty members.

Bishop Dennis Sullivan brought the house back together after intermission with the prayerful “Lady of Knock,” an Irish hymn inspired by an apparition of the Blessed Mother in Knock, County Mayo. Audiences look forward to Bishop’s performance at the annual concert, which raises funds for the South Jersey Scholarship Fund for Catholic Education. Sharing his musical talents is one way Bishop says thank you to faithful donors. “You make it possible for a student to attend a Catholic school,” he said.

“The Christmas concert is a wonderful way for us to celebrate all our schools,” said schools superintendent Mary Boyle. “I felt really proud seeing students from every high school on the stage. Our young people invested time learning the music, traveling for rehearsals and performing with enthusiasm and joy on a Saturday night. We are grateful to our sponsors and all those who purchased tickets. With their support, we hope more students can benefit from the gift of a Catholic school education.”


Concert Sponsors:

Presenting and Pre-Reception Sponsor:  Investors Bank

Production Sponsor:  Mutual of America

Reception Sponsors:  Levari Trucking, Galetto Family Foundation

Spotlight Sponsors:  Catholic Business Network of South Jersey, Sphere Risk Partners, Porter & Curtis, LLC, AllRisk, Inc., SNJ Today, Paul VI High School

Making Memories Sponsors:  Gloucester Catholic High School, Camden Catholic High School, Lourdes Health System, The Original Fudge Kitchen, WIPFLi, LLP, Bakanas Flowers

Academic Sponsors:  St. Joseph High School, Flynn & O’Hara Uniforms, Ms. Rita F. Sherman, Christ Our Light, Mr. and Mrs. George F. Lynn, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Watson

School & Parish Sponsors:  St. Mary of Mt. Carmel, St. Thomas the Apostle, Sacred Heart, Saint Peter, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Our Lady of Peace, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of the Lakes, Saint John Neumann, Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Media Sponsors:  SNJ Today, Relevant Radio and Domestic Church Media

To donate, or to learn more about the South Jersey Scholarship Fund, go to https://16042.thankyou4caring.org/south-jersey-scholarship-fund