St. Frances choir introduces new music director

Music director Bogna McGarrigle (right) leads the St. Frances de Chantal choir in a rehearsal for their upcoming concert at the church on Sunday, March 22 at 3 p.m. Photo by Victor Chu

With a new music director straight one of eastern Europe’s most prestigious musical academies, St. Frances de Chantal’s seventh season concert series promises to be even more in tune as they prepare for a Concert of Italian & Irish music at the church on Sunday, March 22.

Bogna McGarrigle, who immigrated from Poland five years ago, is the new music director and organist at the church, having taken over recently after extensive training at the Krackow Academy of Music and the Krackow Cameral Choir in Poland, as well as the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.

The choir is busy with rehearsals for a major concert featuring such well-known tunes at O Sole Mio, O Danny Boy, The Prayer, Time to Say Goodbye, and Santa Lucia – secular and religious songs that capture the heart of the Italian and Irish songbooks.

The concert will begin at 3 p.m., and is free and open to the public. It will be held at the church at 190 Hollywood Avenue.

“It is a mix of hymns like Hail Glory to St. Patrick, and some songs that are more secular,” McGarrigle said. “We are trying to fit the music into the church space. These are popular tunes people recognize and enjoy.”

McGarrigle said the concert will also feature two flute players piping Irish songs — Jack McCarrick and Christine Hurley.

“There will choral music, and also instrumentals,” McGarrigle said. “This is a way for the choir members to praise God and to improve themselves – it is a source of joy. The St. Frances de Chantal choir is special and I am really blessed to work with them.”

McGarrigle said she got involved with liturgical music at the age of 10 – substituting for her brother on the organ at a little village church in Poland. She went to a music high school at Rzeszow in Poland where she and her classmates were singing professional-quality music.

She graduated from Krackow Academy of Music with a college degree in choir conducting. While in college, she conducted her own choir in Sacred Heart Basilica – a Jesuit cathedral in Krackow. After immigrating to America, she worked with Schola Cantorum professional choir in upstate New York.

McGarrigle will also play a concert in April featuring her own solo organ music.

For scheduling updates, please see the church’s website at or call the rectory at (718) 792 –5500.

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