The Music Ministry at St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Cypress presented a benefit recital by Belinda Gonzalez dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 16, 2019 at St. Irenaeus Church. The recital took place one day after the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary being taken bodily up into heaven on August 15.
Fr. William Goldin, Parochial Vicar at St. Irenaeus Church, welcomed parishioners and guests to Belinda’s recital, on behalf of St. Irenaeus’ Pastor, Rev. Binh Nguyen, and introduced Dr. Kevin St. Clair, Director of Music Ministry at St. Irenaeus. Dr. St. Clair then introduced Belinda Gonzalez as a parishioner of St. Irenaeus Church, a member of the Parish Choir, and a member of St. Irenaeus’ Music Ministry as cantor and assistant director of the Youth Choir. Belinda is currently a Master of Music student in Opera Performance at Long Beach State University. Dr. St. Clair said that the free will offerings received that night would help Belinda complete her studies for her Master’s degree in the spring of 2020.
The program began with soprano soloist Belinda singing powerful solos from memory as she stood in the middle of the sanctuary in front of the altar accompanied by pianist/organist Kevin Phan. The first set of her songs followed the format of the rosary, a devotional prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary. Just as the rosary begins with the prayer, ”Our Father,” and is followed by three “Hail Marys,” Belinda sang “The Lord’s Prayer” by Alfred Mellotte first. She then sang three “Ave Marias,” by Randall Debruyn, Franz Schubert and J.S. Bach and Charles Gounod. The three settings of the “Ave Maria” surprised the audience and showed the development of music throughout history. Belinda honored the Blessed Virgin Mary with these three “Ave Marias.”
In the third set of the recital, Belinda sang classical religious masterpieces that expressed her personal faith. She sang the “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck as a duet with Dr. Kevin St. Clair. As part of the third set, she also sang “Domine Deus” from Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, and “Pie Jesu” from Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. The audience responded and showed their approval by their applause. Belinda and Dr. St. Clair gave honor and glory to God with their singing.
After a brief intermission, Belinda sang three liturgical songs in Vietnamese. The first two songs, “Xin Vậng” and “Dậng Me,” honored the Blessed Virgin Mary, and asked for her intercession to help us follow God’s will. The third song, Cầu Cho Cha Me,” translated as “Prayer for Father and Mother,” was a prayer that thanked God for the love He has given us. The prayer also asked God to continue to bestow love on our parents and help each of us live good lives. Belinda sang these songs in Vietnamese with such intensity that one could feel the love and emotion she felt for God and her parents. Translations in English were available in the program booklet, so the audience could read the words and understand what she sang.
The final set of songs Belinda’s recital included contemporary songs that inspired her to be involved with Music Ministry and become a voice teacher. She hopes to inspire and guide young singers as a voice teacher. The Contemporary songs included “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris, “The Prayer” by David Foster, and “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. Dr. St. Clair joined Belinda in singing “The Prayer” as a wonderful duet. Belinda, Dr. St. Clair and pianist/organist Kevin Phan received a standing ovation at the end of the recital. Belinda thanked everyone for coming to her recital and for their support and encouragement.
Belinda Gonzalez and her husband, Bryan, reside in Anaheim and are members of St. Irenaeus parish. For more information about Belinda Gonzalez, contact Belinda at St. Irenaeus Church at 714-826-0760, e-mail her at [email protected], or visit www.facebook.com/BeGoSings/.
Come to St. Irenaeus Catholic Church and celebrate Mass with Dr. Kevin St. Clair, Belinda, and other Music Ministry members.
Schedules for Saturday and Sunday Masses are listed at www.sticypress.org.