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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Concert for Christian Unity promotes global peace

Several student worship groups will come together tonight for the Concert for Christian Unity, a compilation of works meant to promote peace and unity in the world.

Karen Schneider-Kirner, director of the Notre Dame Celebration and Handbell Choirs, will oversee the musical production.

“It's always a pleasure to get to meet the various student leaders, to see their commitment to their ministry and to hear their beautiful voices and the spirited songs they offer,” Schneider-Kirner said.

The event will take place Friday at 7 p.m. in the Keenan-Stanford Chapel.

“It's appropriate that we are in a sacred space that is centrally located on campus, and the wonderful acoustics of the chapel are great for singing,” Schneider-Kirner said.

Groups performing include the University of Notre Dame Celebration Choir, a choir which performs at football Masses in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center; Totus Tuus; a student worship band which is part of the Four:7 Catholic Fellowship group; Voices of Faith Gospel Choir; Coro Primavera, a Spanish-language choir; and musicians from the Iron Sharpens Iron Interdenominational Fellowship, who perform at Protestant Praise and Worship services.

Schneider-Kirner said each group will contribute a piece to the celebration, which will culminate in numbers sung by all the groups.

“Each group is teaching a representative piece of their repertoire to the combined forces, and everyone sings ‘with full heart and voice’ the other groups' repertoire,” Schneider-Kirner said. “It's a beautiful thing to witness.”

Schneider-Kirner said the musical accompaniment will include pianists, guitarists, percussionists, flautists and violinists.

“The sheer sound of all these united voices is powerfully moving,” Schneider-Kirner said.

Schneider-Kirner said although Christian Unity Week was last week, the event was scheduled for this week to allow students to attend both the concert and last week's March for Life.

“With 700 students out for the Right-to-Life March, we wanted to time this when the majority of our students would be around to help celebrate with us,” she said.

Schneider-Kirner said she hopes the change to a Friday night will attract more students to attend.

“In previous years, we've done a prayer service with combined choirs on a Thursday night, which never attracted great crowds of students, as sometimes it's hard to add in something extra during the work week,” Schneider-Kirner said.

Although the tradition of Christian Unity dates back to 1908, Schneider-Kirner said its message is particularly relevant in today’s world.

“When we open ourselves up to other ways of living and thinking, we can join together to work for justice and peace around the world,” she said. “This fractured world can use much more unity of mind and heart centered around love that stems from our Creator.”