The power to lead is the power to transform. Notre Dame is proud to celebrate women whose scholarship and leadership are leaving an indelible imprint on the global community. This is an excerpt from one of six profiles featured on womenlead.nd.edu.
College of Arts and Letters
Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy, director of the Sacred Music at Notre Dame Program, professor of musicology and ethnomusicology
Margot Fassler grew up in upstate New York before attending Cornell University, where she studied under top mentors specializing in Gregorian chant and St. Augustine. She remembers always loving music and the church.
“I was trained to the bit by my grandmother, an ardent Catholic, a Swiss, a take-no-prisoners, holy-water-at-the-door, rosaries-on-every-doorknob kind of woman,” she said. “There’s nothing as great in quality, in quantity and in its power to heal and bring people together as our great tradition of sacred music.” ...
Her central vocation since she came from Yale in 2010 has been building the Notre Dame Program in Sacred Music to world-class status. That means everything from attracting more students into the program’s vocal, organ and choral conducting studios to hiring a conductor to build a 160-strong children’s choir from scratch. Her underlying goal is to provide churches across the country with musicians who will inspire their congregations.
Fassler says women are well represented in the music field, both in choirs and as scholars. “One of the greatest things our program promotes are women who go into parishes and the academy and lead,” she says.
Her vision will get a boost in 2017 when the Department of Music and Sacred Music Program move into a new building under construction on the south side of Notre Dame Stadium. The six-story structure will include recital and rehearsal halls, a large music library and rooms for classes, tutoring and practice, plus offices and storage for both academic units.
“Notre Dame is the great Catholic university in the United States, with a powerful intellectual and research mission that is well-funded,” Fassler says. “And if you care about religion and the sacred and the life of the Church, why would you not have a great sacred music program?”
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Originally published by Office of Strategic Content at news.nd.edu on March 08, 2016.