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The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land Noon Mass Choir was instituted in its current form by Fr. Larry Dunham in 2018. The group has been singing at the monastery since 2013. The director of the choir is composer and conductor Jonathan Kirby, who graduated from the Catholic University of America’s School of Music. The choir premieres Mr. Kirby’s original antiphons each week, and sings motets ranging from composers like William Byrd and Thomas Tallis to Morten Lauridsen and David Willcocks. The choir is accompanied by organist Terry Manspeaker.

The Noon Mass Choir came from the Praise Program at the Monastery, founded by longtime friend of the Franciscans and Knight of Mount St. Sepulchre, the late Jerry Phillips, who worked for Washington DC’s NBC radio station. In 2013, the Youth Schola would sing on rotation at the 10am Mass once per month. The first 6-8 members were students from local Catholic high schools. Today, the current choir features 12-14 students from Catholic University and other Catholic colleges in the DMV area.

To contact the choir, please email the director, Jonathan Kirby, at jonkirby508@gmail.com.