By Arlene Edmonds

Special to The CS&T

PHILADELPHIA – Archdiocesan students at all levels proved that they have creative and interpretive gifts. On one stage nearly 500 of them showed off their musical talents in the program, “A Tribute in the Music of America.” They were part of the many bands, choruses and orchestras at a concert of excellence at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on Tuesday March 31 to honor Msgr. Louis A. D’Addezio as a champion of the arts.

The performance included a spanerse repertoire reflecting the multicultural heritage of not only the nation, but of the archdiocesan students themselves. The concert showcased American folk music, Negro Spirituals, the best of musical theater and even a few themes from another American tradition – major motion pictures. It was clear that the audience appreciated the varied program from the animated applause.

This year’s concert was renamed to honor Msgr. D’Addezio, who is known for his selfless dedication to nurturing arts education in archdiocesan schools. He currently serves as director of the Office for Special Projects for the Archdiocese.

“I am extremely humbled and grateful for his honor,” said Msgr. D’Addezio. “I’m grateful because when we do the things we do to improve the lives or our students in Catholic schools you don’t anticipate any public recognition. So, I was very surprised, humbled and grateful to get this.”

As for the quality of the concert, Msgr. D’Addezio was once again impressed by the students’ musical prowess. “This concert shows the musical talents of the students in Catholic schools, and I enjoyed the concert very much,” he said.

Last Tuesday evening’s program opened with performances by the archdiocesan elementary and secondary All-Catholic jazz bands. Both ensembles performed in the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza for the guests as they arrived.

The formal program then went on to include the archdiocesan Elementary Honors Band, Honors Chorus and Honors String Orchestra, the All-Catholic Concert Band, All-Catholic Chorus and All-Catholic Orchestra.

The program further featured the One Flock Choir, a 50-student choir drawn from the five archdiocesan special education schools. This group also sang at the Disabilities Mass held at the Cathedral on Sunday, March 22.

The finale showcased all 475 students performing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Among those attending the concert were Auxiliary Bishop Joseph P. McFadden and Richard McCarron, archdiocesan secretary of Catholic education.

Bishop McFadden felt the quality of the concert reflected well on the music programs throughout the Archdiocese.

“I think it was great that the young people got an opportunity to perform in a wonderful venue,” said Bishop McFadden. “They are all products of the different music programs we have. It shows how effective these music programs are and how it’s helping them develop. I also think that it was a fitting tribute to Msgr. D’Addezio who for so many years put together these concerts. Everyone just had a wonderful evening enjoying the nice blend of music from our elementary, secondary and special education students.”

McCarron agreed. He stressed that the concert proves the value of music education in the archdiocesan schools.

He added: “I am extremely happy that we are dedicating the concert to Msgr. D’Addezio because he put together the concerts even when they were held at the Academy of Music. There is no greater tribute than to honor someone who (perpetuates) excellence as shown by this year’s great concert.”

Arlene Edmonds is a freelance writer and St. Raymond of Penafort parishioner. She may be reached at