Sacred Music

Sacred Music at St. Bernard

John Sittard
Director of Sacred Music
(608) 249-9256
[email protected]

St. Bernard enjoys a very active and vibrant music ministry.  All parishioners are encouraged to be a part of our music ministry program.  The singing of the Church comes ultimately out of love. It is the utter depth of love that produces the singing. "Cantare amantis est", says St. Augustine, singing is a lover's thing. In so saying, we come again to the Trinitarian interpretation of Church music. The Holy Spirit is love, and it is he who produces the singing. He is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit who draws us into love for Christ and so leads to the Father. (The Spirit of the Liturgy, p 142)     
My name is John Sittard, and it is my great joy to begin my ministry here in the Diocese of Madison.  I greatly look forward to being a resource for you as together we serve the Church through her liturgy and music.  I joined the parish and diocesan staff in September, 2022.

I come from a family of musicians and am the youngest of five children.  I grew up in the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts and began organ studies at the age of 11.  I played my first Mass that year!  I pursued organ studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where I received my Bachelor of Music degree and Performer's Certificate.  I continued with graduate studies in organ and choral music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  After my studies, I was honored to serve as Assistant Organist at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.   From there, I have gone on to serve as Director of Music for cathedrals and parishes in Massachusetts, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

At the heart of my ministry is a deep desire to serve the Church through music that is both reverent and faithful to the Church's great liturgical tradition.  The Church faces significant challenges; however, I believe strongly that sacred music can both catechize and evangelize.  I wish to work with you in any way I can!

I greatly look forward to serving the Church in Madison.  Please let me know how I can be of assistance to you!

There are many ways to become involved in our music ministry.  You don't need to be a professional musician or have extensive experience reading music.  All that's needed is a desire to glorify the Lord with the gift of your voice or musical talent!

Adult Choir
The adult choir is comprised of approximately 30 voices, and there's always room for more!  The choir is a traditional four-part choir, and is responsible for leading the assembly in song during the 10:00am Mass on Sunday mornings.  Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings from 7:00pm - 9:00pm.  The adult choir also sings one or two choral anthems during each Mass.

Cantors play an integral part in the liturgy as they serve both visual and vocal capacities in helping lead the assembly in song.  Cantors are comfortable standing before the assembly and have a strong singing voice in order to help lead the people.  New cantors are always welcome!