Cantors

Cantors

   Agatha Cragg

I am Swiss-American, born in California to immigrant parents. My family moved back to Switzerland when I was a toddler, where I was raised in the Catholic church. After I earned my business degree, I moved to Paris where I studied at the Alliance Francaise and met my husband, of now, 33 years. After we got married I moved back to the U.S. and earned my nursing degree and then, with the help of my “better half” raised 3 children. My husband retired as a Navy Captain and started working for NASA 16 years ago.

I have traveled extensively and had the privilege to live in several countries. This encouraged me to learn several different languages. Being around people and exchanging ideas gives me much pleasure. As a lifelong learner, I recently got certified as a Yoga instructor which has greatly enriched my life. Ever since I can remember, I have always loved to sing, so I joined the St. Joan of Arc choir 5 years ago. This is my 3rd year as a cantor and I am thrilled to share my love of singing with the parishioners under the excellent leadership of our choir director, Liam Lees. Our choir members are a fun group of interesting people; I highly recommend supporters of this wonderful church join our multi-talented choir.

    Donna Hanson Prantl

The Catholic Church has been a constant source of comfort, guidance and joy all my life. I went to Hunter College in Manhattan, which is part of the City University of New York. Hunter was right in the heart of New York City. I studied voice and theatre, especially enjoying the Christmas season as there were so many churches to sing in.

I have been so fortunate to sing some of the most beautiful choral pieces, in parts ranging from Alto, & Mezzo Soprano to Soprano. I lived in New York and was the leading soloist/cantor for Our Lady Queen of Peace and Holy Rosary churches on Staten Island, NY, not only for Masses & Special Feasts but also for honorary visitors such as a cardinal, weddings & funerals until I moved to Virginia for my work in 1992.

I have had the blessings to sing under some very fine Music Directors, who have studied at Julliard and Conservatories in their home countries and to study with voice coaches in NY, Illinois and Virginia; most notably Sandra Gelb, an Operatic Contralto in Virginia Beach.

After some time in Virginia Beach, my husband and I found ourselves in Yorktown and at St. Joan’s in 1997. Singing brings me into the space between heaven and earth, where we can join with the celestial choir to praise our Lord. I hope to bring you there with me!

    Carol Romeo

I am thrilled to be a Cantor here at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. My journey as a Christian began in such a fortunate way. I am blessed to be a part of a family that provided me with a secure foundation in who I am and from where all blessings come. Singing has always been a fixture in my life. My great-uncle was a national recording artist who sang bluegrass music; daddy also composed music and loved to sing. My roots are in God’s hymns and beautiful psalms. Like the name I was given “Carol”, I am full of joy and have so much love for my savior as I join in praising him through song. Being a Cantor is a ministry and a privilege. The honor I feel in proclaiming and leading God’s word in song is truly one of the most precious gifts I have been given and I thank you for supporting me in this ministry.

    Julie Sandorfi

I have been a member of St. Joan of Arc Parish and Choir as well as a cantor since moving to Yorktown in 2008. I also sang in the Diocesan Choir for several years. At my previous parish, I led the music ensemble for a charismatic prayer group in the 1980s and sang in the parish choir from throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s. In my youth, I studied violin for 10 years and picked up guitar in high school. Music has always played an important role in my life; I can’t remember a time without it! So much of what we sing specifically as cantors is based on the psalms, including the introit and the communion antiphon. Leading the responsorial psalm is part of proclaiming the Word of God, and I love how it ties together the readings of the day. Over the years, singing and praying the psalms has taught me that there is a psalm for every need and occasion. At times, the psalmist is joyful, grateful, sorrowful, despondent, and even angry – just like I am. The words and music stay with me all week; they become part of my prayer and calm my spirit.

    Ken Shields

Born and raised in Muskegon, Michigan, music has always been an important aspect of Ken’s life. Growing up in a large Catholic and musical family, his introduction, education, and training in music began in grade school as a saxophonist and continued through high school, community college, and beyond. Military service brought Ken to the Tidewater area of Virginia in 1985. During his six years in the US Navy, and for many years afterwards, he continued with his music by playing in various groups with performances both locally and overseas while deployed. Ken and his wife Karen were married in 1992 and became parishioners at St. Joan of Arc in 2004. Ken started sharing his talents with the parish as a flautist in 2008 playing with the 8:30 am choir. With a request from the Director of Music in 2012, he began serving as a cantor and has remained a part of this liturgical ministry ever since. Ken is honored with the privilege to add his voice to the celebration of Holy Mass and is thankful for the gifts that God has given him and to be able to share them with his parish family. He continues as an instrumentalist during other opportunities such as the Passion Play, Coffee House evenings, and special events.