L.A.’s Little Choir That Could

L.A.’s Little Choir That Could

We just finished the 2012 World Choir Games, held in the U.S. for the first time ever, an honor indeed for the host city, Cincinnati. We at St. Anthony Messenger knew they were coming, so we set about looking for a choir that might have a Catholic connection. Los Angeles freelancer Maureen Pratt found the Immaculate Heart of Mary Choir in East L.A., and next thing you know, voila! We had a cover story for our April issue.

Our readers loved the story, and some even wanted to help this inner-city choir financially. So the choir director, Chris Avendano,  deeply grateful for the coverage,  wanted to bring the choir to our offices for a visit and a small “thank-you” performance. Along the way, people started to discover how talented this little choir is.

All part of a series of miracles, said Chris. First the idea a few short years ago of starting the choir kept growing and growing, and becoming more and more successful.  By the time they got to Cincinnati, for their first-ever competition, really just to join the many amateur choirs who were here for fun, they were moved into the championship competition for two categories: children’s choirs and religious choirs. This “little choir that could” went back to Los Angeles Sunday with not one, but TWO silver medals, one in each category.IHM won two silver medals at the World Choir Games, Cincinnati 2012

It was indeed a miracle, Chris, one made possible through the mighty gift of God, but also through your own commitment, dedication and openness to the Holy Spirit. Bravo! Among 350 choirs who came here from every corner of the world, yours is a winner.


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).