The Mother of God Contemporary Ensemble celebrates 50 years of music ministry on July 19. We had originally planned to celebrate this milestone with all of you at the 11:30 Mass, but the COVID-19 pandemic has dictated otherwise.

Since we can’t be together in person, we thought we would mark this occasion by sharing some fun facts about the Ensemble with you. Don’t worry. There won’t be a quiz afterward.

Did You Know …

  • The Ensemble consists of 13 musicians who sing and play a variety of instruments. They are: Betty Trenkamp, Melanie Trenkamp, Kenny Bierschenk, Robin Bierschenk, Jack Richter, Tom Hampel, Paul Sketch, Jim (Red) Penman, Lisa Duesing, Aaron Duesing, John Horan, Connie Krebs and Cindy Duesing. Our goal is to enhance the liturgy through music.
  • The Ensemble meets every Wednesday evening to read the Sunday scripture, plan the appropriate music and rehearse. This has been happening since 1970 up until mid-March of this year when the pandemic started.
  • Some of us have been with the Ensemble the entire 50 years, while our “newest” member has been with us for 9 years.
  • The group recorded a compilation of 12 songs, written by former Ensemble director Neil Blunt and Cindy Duesing, at Reel-Pro Studios in 1983. The recording was published in 1985 as a cassette tape and later as a vinyl album by Resource Publications, Inc. in San Jose, CA. The title of the album is “Spirit, Come Forth.”
  • Many members of the Ensemble have performed and recorded with other music groups in the area (May Festival Chorus, the Westside Community Band, The MudPies, Heile Contageous, IconX, Stonehaus Trail, etc.).
  • We’ve been together so long, we feel like family. But that family tie is a literal one in some cases. We have three sets of siblings: Betty and Melanie Trenkamp; Cindy Duesing and Connie Krebs; Lisa and Aaron Duesing (Lisa and Aaron are the daughter and son of Cindy). We have one husband and wife duo: Kenny and Robin Bierschenk.
  • A news article on our 40th anniversary as a group dubbed us “The Rolling Stones of Church Music.” We embrace the analogy, but we secretly wonder which of us is Keith Richards.

We’ll be sharing more information about the Ensemble over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!