There will be singing: New echoes awaken in Notre Dame Stadium

Author: Amanda Skofstad

On a sunny Wednesday morning, Mark Doerries, director of graduate studies and head of the graduate choral conducting program for Sacred Music at Notre Dame, sits masked in an empty choir rehearsal room of O’Neill Hall of Music and Sacred Music. He recalls the day in spring 2020 when the choral music fell silent.

“I think we all went through a grieving period,” he says of his guild, still smiling. “Not only was our vocation and career as choral musicians suspended due to the pandemic, but also it was deemed very dangerous — so millions of people who take part in creating music, creating art, socializing and having a spiritual connection with singing had to accept that choir as usual would be, for a time, unsafe.”

Now, as with so much of life during the coronavirus pandemic, Notre Dame Stadium is operating under "business as unusual" — with choir rehearsals taking place in the Leahy Gate, near the south endzone.

“Before now, the gate had been just a passageway and the only way to get from the first floor of O’Neill to other buildings,” Doerries said. “But now it holds rehearsals, classes and study space — a living incubator of music and teaching.”

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