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Music lessons with Sister Regina Marie

Sister Regina Marie McIntyre, right, gives music lessons to Sister Joni Luna who is in formation with the sisters.

Sister Regina Marie McIntyre, right, gives music lessons to Sister Joni Luna who is in formation with the sisters.

Sister Joni Luna feels better about her singing voice these days. Sister Regina Marie McIntyre has a lot to do with building that voice and confidence.

As a new Sister of Providence, Sister Joni saw how important music was to her sisters. She wanted to make sure she honored the rich history of music that dates back to Saint Mother Theodore’s time.

“I wanted to be able to join in the traditional songs and capture the passion the sisters have when they sing.”

So Sister Joni spoke with her director and before she knew it she was paired up with Sister Regina Marie.

“I’d be at funerals and Mass and I could tell the sisters were really passionate about certain songs, and it bothered me that I couldn’t join them,” Sister Joni said.

That was a year ago. First were voice lessons.

“When she found her voice we started piano to give her the theory,” Sister Regina Marie said while at the piano during one of their Saturday morning practices.

Sister Regina Marie has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music and piano performance.“I’ve taught all my life,” she said. “And I was a liturgist here at the Woods for 16 years.”

She was also organist at St. Meinrad Archabbey for 12 years and continues as a substitute organist there.

Sister Regina Marie McIntyre instructs Sister Joni Luna on the piano.

Sister Regina Marie McIntyre instructs Sister Joni Luna on the piano.

“When new members have a need, the community seeks out sisters who possess that gift and asks them to share their gift with us. We are paired up with the best the community has to offer. I consider myself truly blessed for all my sisters that have shared their gifts with me this year,” Sister Joni said.

“You’re the best,” she told Sister Regina Marie.

Sister Regina Marie is also quick to compliment Sister Joni. “I can hear you singing in church now,” she said with a smile.

Getting down to basics

The music lesson begins with warming up Sister Joni’s voice. There are breathing exercises, lip rolls, vocal exercises, intense listening, singing and piano playing.

“She’s got rhythm!” Sister Regina Marie said.

“Really?” said Sister Joni in disbelief.

They discuss the similarities music has to Sister Joni’s love of playing sports.

“In athletics, bigger, stronger, faster is better, right?” Sister Joni said. “I was rushing through the music. Sister Regina would stop me and say, ‘you’re not reading all the notes.’”

They have enjoyed each other’s company.

“It gives me energy,” Sister Regina Marie said. “Joni is a lot of fun.

“We laugh a lot,” Sister Joni said. “I am thankful that Sister Regina has agreed to continue lessons with me. As long as I promise to practice.”

(Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Cheryl Casselman

Cheryl Casselman worked as a marketing manager for the Sisters of Providence for twenty years. She grew up in Camby, Indiana and now lives in Sullivan County, Indiana. She has a bachelor's degree in communications from Indiana State University and master's degree in Leadership Development from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

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