St. Benedict’s choir director one-of-a-kind

Ann Myers has led the St. Benedict’s adult and children’s choirs for more than two decades. A talented opera signer, Myers favors Bach and Beethoven. The choirs will perform four times for Holy Week. Photos by Guangrong Sun

Ann Myers considers the St. Benedict’s choir family. They’ve been singing and swaying together for so long. Myers has been with the choir for 28 years, and she’s a newcomer.

Margaret Colucci, of Baisley Avenue, joined the choir in 1950.

“I began singing when I was seven years old,” Colucci said. “Here I am, still singing.”

Myers is the choir’s director, motor and muse. A celebrated opera singer, she joined St. Benedict’s during her first year of college, in 1981. Myers is a warm, modest director. Her voice soars behind the choir, pressing the altos and baritones on.

“We love to sing and we love Anne,” said Gertrude Winkler, a veteran choir member. “She sings like angel. She’s patient.”

Myers grew up nowhere and everywhere, her family on the move. Riverdale. Boston. California. Texas. She’s found a home at St. Benedict’s and on Puritan Avenue.

Myers debuted in Budapest. She played Carnegie Hall. Now Myers has quit the stage; she’s a mother of two. At St. Benedict’s, she directs an adult choir and a children’s choir.

“The children – I’ve seen them grow up,” Myers said. “The adults – I’ve seen them sacrifice. We rehearse every Wednesday night. We perform every Sunday morning and every holiday.”

Myers is a stickler for lyrics.

“When you sing, you pray twice,” she reminds the choir.

Once a year, Myers takes the St. Benedict’s children’s choir to Rye Playland. Twice a year, she meets the St. Benedict’s adults for dinner at Mamma Maria’s in Morris Park.

“We pass around a microphone and sing the old Italian songs,” Myers said. “It’s incredible.”

The church’s adult choir is well known, having performed around the city and in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

“We’re the best choir in the Bronx, and Anne is the best director,” said Francine Maso, of Barkley Avenue. “We get standing ovations every Sunday from the parish.”

Myers revels in hymns arranged by the great conductors and composers – Beethoven, Bach, Robert Shaw.

“We sing difficult music,” she said. “We sing ‘high church.’”

Every spring, Myers prepares her choirs for a musical marathon – Holy Week.

“People come just for the choirs,” Father Richard Smith, of St. Benedict’s, said. “Anne is a talented director. Our choir members and parishioners love and respect her.”

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