CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s Paulist Chorale dating back to 1904 will perform their final mass at Old Saint Mary’s Church on the Near South Side.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, the singers, now in their 70’s and 80’s, have been performing together since they were 10-years old.
The sound is really from another era, an a capella Catholic boy’s choir singing in Latin at Sunday mass.
Started in 1904, the young boys of the Paulist Choir of Chicago became national recording stars. They made an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. And the choir, based at Old Saint Mary’s Church on the South Side, even performed for Presidents and Popes.
“The press followed us. Mayor Daley would trot us out anytime there was a dignitary visiting from another country, so there was a real sense of pride at being a member of such a fine group,” said David Hoffman, Chicago.
Along with their director, Father Eugene O’Malley, they were even the inspiration for the 1944 academy award winning picture, Going My Way.
“There were a lot of rough and tough kids from tough neighborhoods that came into the choir,” Hoffman said. “There’s one fella I recall who told me many times it kept him out of jail and gangs.”
In 1967 when the church shifted to more modern music, the choir disbanded, but their alumni group continued to perform. That’s coming to an end now too, with most members facing challenges in their 70’s and 80’s.
“Struggling with getting to rehearsal and in some cases remembering there is a rehearsal,” Hoffman said.
The choir is currently rehearsing for one final official concert on Saturday.
“It is going to be bittersweet, but it’s not going to be the end,” said Kevin Connelly, Shereville, Indiana.
Because after the music fades, their friendships will endure.