Diocese of Brooklyn Priest Showcases Classical Training in Interactive Concert

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Bows, strings, keys and voices – each part adds to a collective sound. Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater is the sound of a mother’s unconditional love.

It’s a Christian hymn to Mary depicting her suffering at the foot of the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion.

“The Marian devotion of it makes it more relatable and to combine it with the praying of the stations of the cross will make it more meaningful I think,” said vocalist Emily Bergmann.

“Through these great geniuses who wrote this music, you’re being carried into some deeper place,” said Fr. Tom Vassalotti.

Fr. Tom is providing the deepest pitch in this orchestra on the bass. He’s the pastor of Divine Mercy Parish which includes St. Francis Paola church in Williamsburg. He’s also a classically trained musician and Juilliard graduate.

“God gives you gifts and this buy has been in my life a long time, and music has been part of my life and still is,” he said.

Fr. Tom and fellow Juilliard grad, violinist Eric Grossman put a nine-piece orchestra together. On Friday, they’ll perform the music while parishioners pray the stations of the cross.

“Everything enhances what really needs to be communicated and makes it more vivid and deeper for not only the congregation and people who are here but for us as musicians,” Eric said.

Fr. Tom’s love for music started long before he devoted his life to God, now it’s part of that devotion. Each press, pluck and note is intentional and evokes emotion.

“It’s a place where people throughout history have expressed the very best of themselves in terms of their competence and their art to give the very best and it’s a wonderful lesson for all of us, give the very best of what you have,” he said.

This is the best of who Fr. Tom is.