WINTERSVILLE – World-renowned cantor, teacher, author and recording artist Joe Simmons, who was psalmist for the 2008 Papal Mass at New York’s Yankee Stadium, is coming to the Ohio Valley for a concert and workshops for cantors and lectors  (lay readers of Scripture). Simmons currently serves as principal cantor at St.   John the Baptist Church in New York City and as associate music director for the nationally telecast program, “The Sunday Mass.” According to Msgr. Kurt Kemo, pastor of the Wintersville Parishes of Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Lourdes, Simmons will present a concert on Friday, September 23, and conduct workshops for cantors on Saturday, September 24 and for lectors on Sunday, September 25, at Blessed Sacrament Church.

“We have been given a marvelous opportunity to have an internationally known speaker here with us in Wintersville,” Msgr. Kemo said. “We invite all area residents to share in the joy of Joe Simmons’ music at the concert opening the weekend, and all area cantors and lectors to participate in the workshops,” he added.

Simmons, a former New York University faculty member, is a frequent presenter for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and serves on its Cantor Express Institute faculty. He is the author of “The Work of the Cantor” and co-author of “Cantor Basics” with James Hansen and Melanie Coddington. Further information on Simmons is available online at Simmons’ CDs, “Sudden Waves” and “Singing Out,” are used widely in healing ministries. Simmons has performed off-Broadway and at Lincoln Center in New York, as well as internationally, and presents concerts throughout North America.

The concert, with accompaniment by pianist David Jeske, will begin at 7 p.m. on September 23, at Blessed Sacrament Church, 852 Main Street in Wintersville, and will be open to the general public. Simmons will present a selection of contemporary and traditional spiritual songs. Admission will be $10 at the door.  No reservations are required for the concert.

The cantor workshop will be held Saturday, September 23, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Sargus Hall, adjacent to Blessed Sacrament Church, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Topics to be covered include: the cantor as a leader and animator of sung prayer, breathing life into chant and the cantor as proclaimer of the Word. The day will conclude with a master class.

The lector workshop will be held Sunday, September 24, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at Sargus Hall. The theme of the workshop is “The Lector: Preparation to Proclamation,” and will conclude with a master class. The cost of the cantor workshop, which includes lunch and materials, is $30. The lector workshop, which includes materials, is $15. Application forms and further information are available at the Wintersville Parishes Web site,, under the heading “Joe Simmons Workshop.” Interested cantors and lectors also may call the parishes’ rectory at 740-264-0868. Completed forms may be returned to the rectory or mailed to Proclaiming the Presence, Blessed Sacrament Church, 852 Main Street, Wintersville, OH  43953.

Pictured above are Kenzie Zamberlan and Msgr. Kurt Kemo reviewing a psalm selection for the cantor and lector workshop.