by William J. Bechaver
WALSENBURG — The Saint Mary’s Men’s Choir was first organized in the spring of 1996 under the guidance of Tony Romero and John Luginbill.
They believed it would be a positive influence to have more male involvement in the church, and hoped the formation of the choir would be a good way to accomplish that goal.
The choir first met for practice following the Vigil Mass for Ascension Thursday. Four members came together that fateful night. They first sang for the Feast of Pentecost that year.
Soon after, more members had joined. By the end of the summer 1996, they had nearly a dozen members involved. They would sing for both Masses, the first weekend of every month.
They continue to gather every Wednesday evening to practice, and generally, sing the first weekend of every month. Traditionally, they sing for Pentecost Sunday annually.
Recently, the Saint Mary’s Men’s Choir celebrated their twentieth anniversary as a group. Father Stephen Olamolu, Pastor of Saint Mary, had a special blessing for the members of the choir at Mass, and prayed for the deceased members of the group. He thanked all for their many years of service and ministry to the parish.
Current members of the choir include Gary Bradberry, Manuel Serrato, Larry Mapes, Bob Vallejo, George Birrer, Dave Vigil, Bob Major, and Will Bechaver.
Honorary members are John Luginbill, Tony Romero, and Oress DeHerrera. The deceased members of the group are Albert Vigil, John Bechaver, and Alfred Laner.
The choir has sung for weddings, funerals, confirmations, and holiday celebrations throughout the years. They continue to bring the Spirit into the Church, with their presence and song, and continue to promote involvement throughout the greater community.