‘Catch the Spirit’ with the Notre Dame Folk Choir

The principal liturgical choir of the University of Notre Dame releases its new album early, after postponing all performances.

By J-P Mauro

Due to the social isolation orders that led to the postponement of all performances, the Notre Dame Folk Choir has decided to release its newest album early. The work, Catch the Spirit, which they advertise as “an exploration of sacred music from the African American and East African traditions,” is a collaboration between the choir and a host of adept jazz and gospel musicians.

While the album was originally planned to drop at the end of May in conjunction with a series of nine live performances, Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. called for it to be released on Easter weekend, stating in a press release:

“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 was the brain-child of Dr. J. J. Wright, leader of the Folk Choir, who sought to explore the worship experience of black Catholics and Christians in America and East Africa through musical contributions and cultural expressions.

The students’ work on the new album culminated in 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. Their time in Africa was recorded in a video series, also called Catch the Spirit, which they have made available for view on the Notre Dame Youtube channel.

Along with their wonderful music, the Folk Choir has put together a virtual pilgrimage so that the faithful can follow along with them on their journey to African missions. They have tons of videos from their time in Africa on their website, where fans can also view some of their best, and highest quality, live performances.

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