Rosemarie Ochoa: Let the music guide her – Arkansas Catholic

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From his baptism to singing during priestly ordinations, his voice filled the air

Posted: September 3, 2022

Bob Oken

Rosemarie Ochoa sings during the priestly ordination of Fathers Daniel Wendel and Jaime Nieto at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Little Rock on May 28.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Little Rock has echoed with the sounds of Rosemarie Ochoa’s voice for years, from cries at her baptism as an infant to chanting at priestly ordinations.

The 23-year-old Hendrix College graduate, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music and Spanish last year, has been the cathedral’s assistant organist since fall 2021. Although she grew up primarily attending the Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church in Little Rock singing in the choir, she went to the cathedral to sing.

“I think something lovely about music; you don’t necessarily have to come up with the words yourself, you can listen to create and reflect,” she said, adding that she tries to bring the meaning of an anthem to life. “If there is a storm in a verse, how can I show it or underline it with the organ (or my voice). I don’t necessarily have to find the words myself, but I go where the music takes me.

Ochoa enjoys directing the choir occasionally and participates in masses, choir programs and singing for major diocesan events such as ordinations and the Chrism Mass. In the moments after a hymn ends, there are times when Ochoa can create interludes to fill the silence.

“Improvisation can be a lot of fun. It’s a time when I can have the Holy Spirit guiding me,” she said, making it “a very contemplative and prayerful time.”

Reflecting on her college education, Ochoa said she hopes one day to be the principal musician at a large, diverse cathedral somewhere in the United States “where I can incorporate multicultural music” from lesser-known Spanish composers and collaborate with d other musicians.


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