Once Upon a Time...


The idea of putting together a recording has been an IHM Dream for quite some time. It began to take shape in the middle of the 1980s when Sr. Amy Zychal, IHM became the first Director of Development. This specific project, however, is the result of a proposal made to the IHM Leadership Team by Sr. Trish Scalese IHM. Donations from over nine hundred IHM Benefactors have helped make this dream a reality. A Core Group of IHMs comprised of Srs. Eva Marie Zloutcha (Director of IHM Arts Ministry), Mary Jo Gallagher (Leadership Team), Trish Scalese, Joan McCusker, Cathy Luxner, and Mariam Pfeifer began meeting to organize and plan for this project in the beginning of the 21st Century.

Finally, the call went out for volunteers to be a part of the project and the first of the day long, monthly rehearsals happened. Since the participants were in different geographic locations, regional practices were held for chorus members only in the fall. With the arrival of the New Year, all members, including instrumentalists, traveled to Scranton for joint rehearsals.

After all of the practice sessions were complete, the more than sixty chorus and instrumentalists headed out to the many convent homes that would provide hospitality for the three long days of taping at the Kaufman Astoria Studio in Queens, NY.

Now, after spending the summer in the editing studio,With One Voice is just about ready for its arrival on the public stage.


Singing and Spirituality

For Scranton IHMs, song as a part of one's prayer life traces its roots all the way back to the Co-Founders of the Congregation, Mother Theresa Maxis and Fr. Louis Gillet. Fr. Gillet was a Redemptorist priest. Mother Theresa, even after his departure, made sure that the IHM Congregation continued in the Redemptorist tradition by adopting the Alphonsian Spirituality of their Founder. "O God of Loveliness," one of the selections on the CD, is one of the many hymns composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori (see St. Alphonsus Liguori on the IHM Website.)

To read more about the founding of the IHM Congregation and Mother Theresa's struggles to keep the Redemptorist tradition alive in the completing of the new IHM Congregation Rule.


Meet Our Creative Team

Sisters Trish Scalese (left) and Joan McCusker (right) have been a part of this project from its very beginning. Whether it was planning, rehearsing, composing, conducting, performing or reviewing the final editing; Trish and Joan have been a part of this project from start to finish. Find out more about these two talented IHMs.


Sr. Joan McCusker, IHM (Our Director)

Joan McCusker, IHM, is assistant professor of music education at Marywood University, where she teaches in the undergraduate and graduate music education programs and supervises student teachers. Sr. Joan holds degrees from Marywood University (BM '79), Ithaca College (MM '90), and the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D., 2001).

Sr. Trish Scalese, IHM

Trish was born and raised in Dunmore, PA. She's the daughter of Eleanor and the late Ross Scalese.She has five brothers.Trish plays the organ and the piano and is a featured vocalist on the CD. She has a Bachelors of Music Ed. from Marywood University (1992) where she was a voice major.

Trish recently completed her ministry as music teacher and Director of Religious Formation at Sacred Heart Jr./Sr. High School in Carbondale, PA. In the past, she has served as a music teacher at Holy Rosary Grade School in Scranton, a campus minister at Marywood University, and an organist at both St. Anthony of Padua Church in Dunmore and Immaculate Conception Church in Scranton.

This is not the first time that Trish has been a part of a recording project. She composed music for and sang for the Passionist Sacred Music: Every Knee Shall Bend, and By the Breath of God. She also sang and played for Kris Kearns on her recording titled: My Heart is like a Garden.

Trish's comment about being a part of this project: "It has been such an honor to be a part of the creation of this CD. I am pleased that we are able to give reverence to the sisters who have gone before us and share our love of God through this recording. It is a wonderful example of the strength of community. No one person could have succeeded in making this dream come true for our congregation. It needed the efforts of so many people to accomplish this endeavor. I truly hope that those who listen to this will come to know in a deeper way the spirit of IHM sisters and the beauty and hope that is our God"

Sr. Alphonsa Concilio, IHM (Our Vocal Coach)

Though we all loved to sing, we were far from a group of "professional singers." From our monthly practices to our daily recording sessions, we depended on the skills, training and patience of our vocal coach, Sr. Alphonsa Concilio, IHM.

Sr. M. Alphonsa Concilio, has been teaching voice at Marywood University for many years. Her educational credits include a B. A. and M.A. from Marywood and an M.A. from St. Louis University with work at many other universities. Her vocal training has included study with Sr. M. Davidica Kildea, IHM, W.V. Reed and Dr. Thomas Houser with whom she studied and collaborated in summer workshops for more than 15 years. Teaching singing is something that she loves doing and her love of the voice brings great joy to her life.

Sr. Immaculate Severino, IHM (Our Accompanist)

Whether organ or piano, Sr. Immaculate Severino, IHM, served as the accompanist for every musical selection on this recording and for all of the rehearsals. A challenging task for any musician, this accomplishment is all the more impressive when considered from the perspective that Sr. Immaculate has already been retired from her position at the Marywood University Music Department for two years and, if you look closely at her not-so-large hands, you'll find the definite signs of arthritis in both of her hands.Sr. Immaculate Severino, IHM, Associate Professor Emeritus, Marywood University, served 31 years as a faculty member of the Music Department where she taught Applied and Class Piano, Keyboard Harmony, Piano Literature and Piano Pedagogy. In addition to her teaching responsibilities she served as accompanist for the campus choir, student and faculty soloists, and campus and Congregational worship services.

She earned her Master of Music Degree from the University of Notre Dame and continued post-graduate studies at Peabody Conservatory, Boston University, Catholic University of America, Manhattan School of Music, Penn State University and Westminster Choir College.

Sister holds the rank of Master Teacher Certification in Piano from the Music Teachers' National Association.

Currently, Sister is in residence at the IHM Center, Scranton, PA, where she serves as Liturgist/Organist and has an active piano studio.

Sr. Margaret Gannon, IHM

Sr. Margaret Gannon, IHM is Professor of History at Marywood University. She teaches courses in Developing World Studies, Women's Studies, and Peace Studies and chairs the Social Science Department at Marywood.She sings at every available opportunity, especially in choral settings. She is happy to participate with her sisters in this exciting recording adventure.

Rachel Terry

Rachel Terry graduated from Marywood University with a degree in Music Education. She grew up in Millville, New Jersey in a family of six musicians. A life-long lover of music, Rachel has piano and vocal training, and her passion lies in choral singing. She has sung with the Westminster Choir College Vocal Institute, the Marywood University Campus Choir and Chamber Singers, the Robert Dale Chorale, the Pennsylvania Collegiate Choral Association Honor Choir, and most recently, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. While with the Mendelssohn Club, she had the privilege of sharing the stage with the Delaware Valley Symphony and the Grammy awardwinning Philadelphia Orchestra. Rachel is currently an elementary school music teacher in Scranton, PA and is happily entering the IHM community in the fall of 2004.

The Instrumentalists

In addition to the Sisters and Dave, three of our other friends assisted us in completing this project by serving as instrumentalists on our recording: Elizabeth Burke, Melissa Lambert, and Connie McDermott.

Besides Sr. Immaculate on the Piano/Organ, the other IHM instrumentalists include: Ann Bubser, IHM; Mary Mercy Gilbart, IHM; Myra Gilbart, IHM; Marylin Grosselfinger, IHM; Ruth Harkins, IHM; Frances Mary Rundell, IHM; Trish Scalese, IHM; Lila Sciabica, IHM; John Michele Southwick, IHM; Kieran Williams, IHM

Our Chorus

From September through June, a group of approximately fifty-five sisters gathered for day long rehearsals in preparation for this recording. Coming together from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina (and all ports in between!)

The following is a list of the Scranton IHMs who participated in the Chorus. If you recognize any of them and want to contact them personally, check out our IHM E-mail Directory:

Joan Bastress, IHM; Ann Mary Boslett, IHM; Ann Bubser, IHM; Mary Ann Cody, IHM; Alphonsa Concilio, IHM; Jean Coughlin, IHM; Joan Coyne, IHM; Mary Kay Faliskie, IHM; Maryla Farfour, IHM; Margaret Gannon, IHM; Estelle Gavel, IHM; Mary Mercy Gilbart, IHM; Myra Gilbart, IHM; Linda Ann Greenberg, IHM; Rosemarie Gregorio, IHM; Francis Xavier Grieb, IHM; Marylin Grosselfinger, IHM; Ruth Harkins, IHM; Jeremy Hornung, IHM; Daniel Mary Heisey, IHM; Eleanor Kalafut, IHM;Mary Talbot Kelleher, IHM; Mary Ann Lang, IHM; Catherine Luxner, IHM; Mary Jane Maloney, IHM; Kathleen McNulty, IHM; Angela Miller, IHM; Marie Moore, IHM; Rosemarie Mozzachio, IHM; Adele Mullen, IHM; Joan Ottman, IHM; Mariam Pfeifer, IHM; Maria Grace Quartiero, IHM; Frances Mary Rundell, IHM; Lila Sciabica, IHM; Mary Sheehan, IHM; Maria del Rey Shevlin, IHM; Jane Snyder, IHM; John Michele Southwick, IHM; Rachel Terry; Joan Thompson, IHM; Maria Goretti Timperio, IHM; Cecilia Tji, IHM; Patt Walsh, IHM; DeSales Williams, IHM; Kieran Williams, IHM; Doreen Willis, IHM; Eva Marie Zlotucha, IHM; Amy Zychal, IHM

Our Selections

Beyond the fact, as mentioned above, that IHMs in our Alphonsian tradition, love to sing; we did have particular reasons for including each of the selections found on this recording.

Several of the selections were included because we wanted to preserve some music that has long been a part of our IHM traditions and ritual celebrations. The Salve Regina is the hymn each IHM sings as she makes and renews her vows and it's the last hymn sung to her as she is laid to her eternal rest. The three-part Magnificat has traditionally been sung at special feasts of the Blessed Mother, in particular, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart is another traditional hymn but not one well known to the younger members of the chorus. This selection is a good example of one of the purposes of the project – older members of the congregation wishing to preserve music while there are enough members alive who remember singing it! O God of Loveliness is not only a favorite hymn but its inclusion pays tribute to our patron – St. Alphonsus Liguori.

One selection on the recording is a modern version of the Ave Maria that includes both the traditional Gregorian chant and a combination of the Latin, Ave Maria and the English, Hail Mary. It's become a modern-day favorite of many members of the congregation.

Cancion de Missionero is a song that has been passed on to us from our sisters who have served in ministry to the people of Peru. One of the country's folk songs, it speaks of the works of a missionary.

The rest of the selections on this recording have been composed either by Trish Scalese, IHM or Joan McCusker, IHM

The title selection – With One Voice – was originally written by Joan for the IHM Sesquicentennial in 1994. Adoration and Vespers in Late Spring are two original piano compositions written and performed by Joan on this recording.

The Richness of Our God and Spirit God are compositions by Trish where you can hear her solo voice blended in with the chorus. Trish gives a solo performance in On A Day Like This and Choose Life.

The lyrics for On A Day Like This were inspired by the poetry of a number of living and deceased IHMs. When rehearsals began in the Fall of 2003, the Chorus included two members who Returned Home to God during the year – Sr. Josepha Connolly, IHM and Sr. Thomas Aquinas Kielceski, IHM. Trish has dedicated this song to their memory.

With One Voice is intended not only to make music, but, for Scranton IHMs, it is also making memories!

Our Producers

When this project began, one of the most critical decisions that needed to be made was to select a professional producer who would guide the project through its conclusion. Core Group member, Sr. Mariam Pfeifer, IHM, had had the opportunity to play in an ensemble with Michael Fine and he had given her his business card and told her that if "she ever happened to get involved in something like this.." to look him up! What a lucky day that chance opportunity turned out to be! As it turns out, Michael Fine was not only a producer, but, he's an internationally known, award winning producer who's received eleven Grammy nominations which resulted in seven Grammy Awards to date (and most international music awards as well!). Having worked with the likes of musicians such as Leonard Bernstein or the London Symphony Orchestra working with a group of nuns was quite an interesting experience for Michael. The quality of our recording is due, in large part, to his extraordinary musical talent and his driving energy for perfection.

To find out more about Michael and his wife Tammy and their work together, check out their own website: Fine Sound Production

The Recording Studio

For most of us, this marked our first experience in a recording studio. And what a place to start! The KAS Music & Sound Studio is part of the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, NY. This building houses what is now the largest recording, film and television studio on the East Coast. Each day as we arrived for our recording session, we needed to stop and get special security badges identifying the locations in the building we were permitted to visit. On the floors above us, Steve Martin was filming a remake of The Pink Panther, and they were taping Sesame Street and Whoopi Goldberg had just finished taping her weekly comedy show as well.

We did our recording in the same studio where other artists - from Barry Manilow to Placido Domingo - had recorded their own Grammy-award winning music. What a sense of history!

Find out more about our incredible recording studio and the many other artists who have worked there: Kaufman Astoria Studios.

Send Us Your Feedback

We are anxious to know what you think about our recording. If you have listened to the clips on this website or if you have already received your copy, please send us your feedback at: ihmcd@sistersofihm.org