In November, 2000, my mentor, Sharon E. Girard, PhD, was in Rome where she graciously presented one of my works to Pope John Paul II on my behalf. Totus Tuus is a meditative hymn based on the original 15 Mysteries of the Rosary. Sharon and I were both pleasantly surprised when we received this token of appreciation from The Vatican!
Click the image to see the full letter.
Dear Dr. Vitz,
Thank you for sharing with me, the script and CD of the Curé of Ars Musical. I appreciate the devoted sentiments which prompted you to share such a wonderful piece. It brings me great joy to witness individuals as yourself in our diocese, using your talents to build up the Kingdom of God. This is very encouraging to my ministry.
May Jesus, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, continue to bless you and your ministry with Angelus Music. With assurance of my prayers and blessings, I am … Sincerely yours in Christ,† Michael Barber, S.J.
Included in the concert were works for both solo piano and chamber orchestra, and then after intermission the 90-voice “Chorus for Peace” and orchestra shocked the audience with the premier performance of composer John W. Vitz’ “Mass for Peace.”
The Mass is a compilation of many Latin texts of the Ordinary of the Mass, including the opening greeting “Pax Vobiscum,” the “Orate, Fratres” and the most solemn and triumphant harmonies set to the actual words of consecration.
From the very first moment the haunting melodies, interweaving chords and unique dissonance called the audience into rapt attention. There was an awesome spiritual presence in the church as the listeners were stunned by the sounds of grand chorus and orchestra, side by side with musical surprises such as the addition of bells, guitar and synthesizer.
In this beautiful work, composer John W. Vitz shared his deep spirituality and his mission to share the solemnity of the sacred music within the realm of both traditional harmony and contemporary musical style.
One immediately sensed the composer’s understanding of the sacred in liturgy – from the majesty of the “Gloria” to the imploring strains of the “Pater Noster.” Then in the final movement of this one-hour long work, the chorus and orchestra challenged the audience with the compelling urgency of the Gospel message, that we “… go out and tell the Good News.”
Audience attendees were immediately on their feet with an ovation that reflected a sense of awe and privilege, experiencing sacred music that, in the words of many present, touched their hearts with renewed spiritual meaning.
Our gratitude to John Vitz and to the chorus and orchestra for the sharing of this beautiful musical prayer” Kathleen Flemming