One of the ways Nashotah House choral scholars’ hard work pays off is an annual trip to Grace Church in Sheboygan, WI for the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. Last weekend, the seminary sent two vans full of angelic voices north to Grace Church for this year’s festival. From the quaint church’s balcony, the choir sung out Anglican chant, Marian anthems, and canticles written by Nashotah House’s own Canon Joseph Kucharski, who leads the choir.
Grace Church’s small sanctuary – decorated with festal bouquets of lustrous pink, orange, and yellow flora – served as a perfect venue for a Solemn Evensong honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rev. Mother Hilary Crupi, OJN, delivered a brief address on Christians’ role as God-bearers (Theotokos) to a world in need of Christ’s love and redemption. Nashotah’s choir concluded the service with a heavenly performance of the Salve Regina.
As an act of gratitude, Fr. Schaffenburg, the church’s rector, treated the group after the service to the local Yacht Club for dinner and drinks. Students clad in dress pants, bow ties, and dresses sipped pinot noir and scotch and feasted on plates of chicken saltimbocca, baked perch, and salmon. Laughter and conversation abounded during the exquisite meal.
As a tag-along spouse, photographer, and last minute impromptu reader for the service, I must say one of the greatest parts of the evening was the hour-and-a-half van ride to and from Sheboygan. This time was filled with laughter and growing friendship amongst students and spouses. We heard jokes and shared stories about Nashotah’s past. And we certainly did not do any complaining about our wonderful professors! Twenty minutes into the car ride home, our rich dinner took its toll and eighty percent of the passengers were sleeping.
Nashotah House hopes for a continuing relationship with Grace Church and many more opportunities to serve the parish in song. May these fall Friday evenings bring many blessings to all involved and continue for years to come!