The Association of Church Musicians in Philadelphia (ACMP) has announced it will award its $1,000 Peter LaManna Excellence in Music Scholarship to a graduating high school senior who is active in parish liturgy and plans to continue his or her music/liturgy education.

The ACMP, of which LaManna was the founding president, is a chapter of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, (NAPM) which was founded in 1966 just two years before the ACMP.

The ACMP will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, according to Pat Gallo-Terrenzio who is its president as well as director of liturgical music at St. Christopher Parish, Philadelphia.


“We will celebrate the anniversary at Evening Prayer at the Cathedral on Wednesday, April 4, and a banquet in October at the Philadelphia Ballroom in Northeast Philadelphia,” she said.

The ACMP has about 250 members and most are music directors, pianists, organists, choir directors and cantors, with a few clergy, she estimates.

This is the second year for the Peter LaManna Scholarship and it is intended to be an annual event. The winner of the scholarship will be announced at the Sunday, April 22 ACMP Student Awards ceremony.

The group annually gives five $100 grants to students graduating elementary school and five $200 grants to students graduating from high school.

To qualify for the Peter LaManna Scholarship the student must be:

— involved in his or her parish liturgy;
— serve as a cantor or choir member or play an instrument in his or her church;
— have acceptable grades in school classwork;
— be approved by the school principal, the director of liturgical music of his or her parish and the pastor of his or her parish, with letters of recommendation from all three;
— and continue studies in liturgical music after high school graduation through workshops and conferences.

In addition, the applicant’s parish director of liturgical music must be a member of the ACMP.

Deadline for applications is Friday, Feb. 23. Applications can be found online at

Peter LaManna (1930-1990), for whom the scholarship is named, was a gifted musician on many levels. He was a talented singer, organist and music director whose choirs sang for popes, princes and presidents.

During his long career LaManna was a constant critic of shoddy liturgical music.

Born in Reading, Pa., he was appointed organist at St. Anthony Lithuanian Catholic Church at age 16. A bit later, from 1954-56, he toured with the Trapp Family Singers as a tenor soloist.

He came to Philadelphia in 1961 to become director of the Men and Boys Choir at St. Francis de Sales Church in West Philadelphia, which was noted for its fine organ. The choir was of such quality that in 1964 they joined forces with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy and the Temple University Concert Choir for a Christmas album recorded at St. Francis.

LaManna earned his master’s and doctorate in music from the Philadelphia Conservatory, now the University of the Arts.

He was appointed director of liturgical music for the Philadelphia Archdiocese and director of music and choir master for the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in 1968 and chair of the Fine Arts Department at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1970. He held both positions until his death in 1990.