Seven days before Christmas, the Trinity High School Choir, under the direction of Caroline Jarrett, performed several powerfully poignant Christmas melodies for inmates at the Cumberland County Prison. This year marked the third year that the choir performed its program, “The Choral Works of Mercy” – an idea Jarrett envisioned after being inspired by the mercy teachings of Pope Francis.
“It is the most wonderful concert of the year for us,” Jarrett said. “It matters so much to us because we are doing the Lord’s work and sharing our music for the right reasons.”
The choir, consisting of more than 30 young men and women, performed two programs, the first for some two dozen female inmates and a second for more than 70 male inmates. The music encouraged the participation of the inmates and many visibly had tears streaming down their faces when the songs of Christmas childhoods’ past were sung. A rendition of “Silent Night” had a majority of the inmates joining voices with the students.
“It is just an amazing experience because you get to see the emotions of everybody and how much it means to them, and that really touches you also,” senior Andrew Root said after performing. “One inmate nodded to me, folded his hands to say thank you, and that just really touches you deeply.”
A signature piece that the Trinity choir performs is Hillsong United’s “Oceans,” selected by the choir for its moving lyrics. It was the final piece in each performance. “And there I find You in the mystery; in oceans deep my faith will stand…. Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,” the song begins. It also noticeably touched the inmates, given how movingly the words were sung by the Trinity choir.
“When the inmates cry and get emotional, you realize that they are just like us, they really are,” said senior Jamie Carson, who also performed a tender solo piece celebrating the fiat of the Blessed Mother.
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness