Ss Peter & Paul Music Ministry
Ss Peter & Paul Music Ministry
In June of 1971, Josephine Noll and her daughter Mary (Noll) Marzen, brought a group of young people together to bring a new style of music to SS Peter & Paul Church in Lehighton. This "folk music", as it was called, used the guitar for the accompaniment. There was one problem. The guitar was not allowed in the church; so where could we play our music? The solution was simple.
At the time, our parish regularly had priests come from Allentown College to help with our weekend Mass schedule. Instead of playing in the church, our pastor at the time, Fr. George Fenzil, scheduled a second 10 AM Mass in our Parish School Hall so we could have a venue to bring forth this new music. It was called the "Folk Mass" and we called our choir the "SS Peter & Paul Folk Group". The parishioners loved it! Back then we had six guitarists and a group of young singers with Josephine Noll as our director.
Over time, as guitars became more commonplace, by the grace of God, our group was eventually allowed to play in our own church. Soon we began to share our music with other parishes, singing at many different parishes in the Allentown Diocese. In addition, we sang at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena in Allentown and later traveled as far as Philadelphia to sing at a newly ordained's first Mass. We were also invited to sing at a number of other first Masses, including the first Mass of our current pastor, Fr. Michael Ahrensfield.
Over the years our music has evolved from six guitars to one guitar and an electric bass. As our members began to age and mature, our sound began to change and mature as well. With our folk roots fading into the past, we began to call ourselves the SS Peter & Paul Choral Group. In the mid nineteen eighties we added keyboards, which allowed us to add some traditional organ music to our more contemporary songs. Also at that time Carl Marzen joined his wife Mary and her mother Josephine as co-directors. We have had many members over the years. In the beginning our group was mostly young people. Some joined us for a only a few years, while others joined us and are still with us singing their praises to God. Today our group consists of 20 members ranging from teens to senior citizens.
Our choir has always been self-sustaining, never having to go to our pastors for financial help. But this only happened through the support of our wonderful parish family. Through our 40 years we have always purchased our own music, instruments, and audio equipment, and for many years have provided an accompanist to play at our Parish School’s Masses.
We have much to be thankful for. Our many pastors are first on the list. Having come from parishes that only used organ music, many of these pastors weren't too sure what to expect working with this guitar group. Over time, all of our pastors became our most important supporters and were it not for them, we would not be still here today.
We thank the Lord for the gift of all those who participated over the years as choir members and accompanists, and to the parishioners who supported us over the years through our fund raisers and who continue that support today.
We had been asked for years by parishioners to make a recording and just never did. In the fall of 2009, we finally made our first CD recording titled "His Gift". It was an exciting experience requiring long rehearsals, but in the end it was a true "gift" from God.
CD Recordings of "His Gift" are available for sale. Please use order form below. Thank you for your support!
Order form (pdf file)
Order form (Word Document)