By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The mission statement of St. Matthias Church of Marlborough is “To live out the message of Jesus Christ and become, in fact and appearance a true Christian Community.” One of the most successful ways parishioners are benefiting from this objective is through the music ministry at the church, led by Judy McManus, music director for the past 30 years.
“We have two weekend Masses and one choir rehearsal each week,” she said. “We also have meetings dealing with liturgy and the religious education program. Maria Kaplun and Joyce Belliveau accompany the choirs and Geralyn Strella, one of the cantors, handles the music for a monthly liturgy of the Word for Children. She plays the guitar as well and at Christmastime we also have a children’s choir.”
McManus was hired as an organist, playing at weekend liturgies and weddings.
“At that time there was a very small group of women singing at one of the weekend Masses. I started to put together a choir and we eventually ended up with about 25 people,” she said.
Her interest in music began when she was in the sixth grade.
“I couldn’t wait to sing in the girl’s choir. We had a wonderful choir director and I just loved singing,” she recalled. “She was transferred when I was in high school and I took over as director, something I enjoyed very much. In college I also sang in a church choir and when we moved to Marlborough I joined the I.C. (Immaculate Conception) Choir and eventually at St. Matthias Church where I became actively involved in all aspects of liturgy.”
“When the Father Francis O’Brien became pastor, I really started to learn about liturgy and all that was involved. He was the one who pulled me off the organ bench and encouraged me to also sing. Father O’Brien, now a nationally acclaimed composer of liturgical music, often gives us the privilege to be the first musicians to perform his original compositions,” she stated.
She and her husband, Edward, have five children, all of whom enjoyed singing in music programs in Marlborough Public Schools when they were young. She has found her true calling and said, “I enjoy every minute of it.”