Greetings! I’m excited to share my experiences with you on this musical pilgrimage with Wendy Oesterling, Fr. Justin Ivatts and the Piedmont Singers. This will be my fourth visit to the U.K./Ireland with this wonderful choir, having previously travelled to Dublin, York, and Oxford. Our 2022 trip will be unique in that, rather than serving in a traditional cathedral “residency” (while the permanent choir is on summer holiday), the Piedmont Singers will be touring and singing for a different sacred space each day.
A bit about me: I’m a graduate of LeMoyne College and the Metropolitan School for the Arts, both located in Syracuse, NY. I currently serve as Director of Music at Christ Church, Lucketts just north of Leesburg. I have fond memories of singing at Clarke Parish several years ago, when Daniel Miller was Music Director. In 2015, I made sacred promises as an Oblate (i.e., lay affiliate) to St. Benedict’s Monastery in Bristow, VA, after feeling drawn to the Rule of St. Benedict, which fosters a healthy balance between prayer, work and sacred leisure. (Note: Since St. Benedict lived before the Reformation, Oblation is a vocation that is open to any and all baptized Christians). With multiple opportunities sing at current and former monastic sites in England, I hope to grow both musicially and spiritually on this journey.
One practice of lay monastics is to read an assigned chapter of St. Benedict’s Rule each day, which enables us to complete a full reading of the Rule three times per year. Today’s date of September 1st marks the start of a new cycle, where we begin again at the Prologue, which states, ‘Every time you begin a good work, you must pray to God most earnestly to bring it to perfection.’ Let’s take this sound advice with us as we embark on our bold new adventure.
Pamela Butler, Obl.SB