Concert to benefit Faith in Our Future
By Karen Mahoney
Special to your Catholic Herald
ARCHDIOCESE OF MILWAUKEE – Choirs from Divine Savior Holy Angels High School and Marquette University High School are banding together to celebrate Christmas and help Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan raise funds for the Faith in Our Future Campaign for Catholic education and faith formation.
MUHS and DSHA presidents Jesuit Fr. Warren Sazama and Ellen Bartel developed a plan to bring the choirs and DSHA orchestra together to stage “O Come All Ye Faithful,” a premiere Christmas concert in the Robert and Marie Hansen Family Fine Arts Theatre at DSHA. Students will perform in front of family and friends, but also for Archbishop Dolan at the Dec. 14 event.
According to archdiocesan development director Debra Lethlean, “Fr. Sazama and Ellen chose to demonstrate publicly their support for the Faith In Our Future Campaign and help raise funds for its Catholic School Champions Endowment Fund. Hosting this premier Christmas Concert, with these two top-notch choirs performing, is a great way for concert-goers to get into the spirit of Christmas and support Catholic education.
“This show of support from the broader Catholic community is inspiring to Archbishop Dolan, and it demonstrates the broader community’s belief in the importance of Catholic education and faith formation, a priority for the archbishop.”
Concert chairpersons, John and Chris McDermott, alumni of the two high schools, are pleased with the students’ willingness to share their talents for the betterment of Catholic education.
“Although this fund-raiser doesn’t benefit us directly, all of the kids who come to our schools may go to the diocesan grade schools or attend (religious education if enrolled in) public grade schools,” Chris said, adding, “This is to support Catholic education in our community.”
All Catholic elementary schools, middle schools and high schools in southeastern Wisconsin are eligible for future grants from the Faith In Our Future Campaign’s newly-established Catholic School Champions Endowment Fund.
A first of its kind, Chris said there is a lot of excitement throughout the Catholic community in bringing together approximately 100 young voices.
“This came about because a handful of constituents believed strongly in Catholic education and had connections to one or both schools,” she said. “The students from each school have beautiful voices and it will be wonderful to hear them perform together. On top of that, they will get to perform in front of the archbishop and that opportunity doesn’t come along often.”
While the fund-raising goals may be lofty for this event, Tracy Wayson, DSHA vice president of institutional advancement, hopes to present a large check to the Faith in Our Future Campaign.
“In our heart of hearts, we would love to present a check for $25,000 to Archbishop Dolan for the campaign,” she said. “It is possible and there has been a lot of interest in this concert. It’s fun doing something like this because you always hear from people you haven’t heard from in a while. There’s been a large group of people wanting something like this for a while.”
Dan Quesnell, director of communications and planning at MUHS, believes that the concert is an opportunity for both schools to support the campaign.
“This campaign represents something larger than our individual schools and we see this as an opportunity for our students to help ensure a Catholic education for the next generation by raising funds for the Catholic School Champions Endowment fund,” he said.
The schools hope to fill the 750-seat auditorium by offering a variety of prices for tickets to the one-time event, from $75 for preferred seating to $35 for general seating. Additionally, supporters are eligible to underwrite a portion of the program with various benefactor packages, some which include a pre-concert reception with Archbishop Dolan.
“We are seeking underwriters for the concert as well as an audience to generate the proceeds that will be given to the campaign,” said Quesnell. “Response to underwriting has been great with ticket orders just beginning to come in with seats being purchased at all three levels.”
With at least five months of planning for the benefit concert, Chris McDermott said the music directors are working hard to ensure a beautiful performance.
“I am very proud of what they are doing,” she said. “It will be a great event and a great opportunity for these students to sing and be part of their support of Catholic education.”