Music has long been a part of Michael Moore’s life. “My mother was always singing while she worked around the house or outside, usually Irish tunes she had learned as a girl,” he said. “My dad had been in the band in high school and enjoyed teaching me traditional American folk songs. Fortunately, I grew up on a farm so we could sing as loud as we wanted and not worry about the neighbors.” Mr. Moore, who has worked at the University of Illinois Springfield for 37 years, fondly recalls listening to classical music while recovering from measles when he was 6. “My folks would play those old 45-rpm records on my child-sized record player. I would ask them to play one specific piece over and over again — Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,’ and it was mesmerizing. It helped me get through those feverish times.”
As a child growing up in rural Illinois, Mr. Moore took piano lessons and joined bands and choirs. His participation in musical groups extended through high school and college, too. “Some of the most inspirational moments of my life have been while singing in choirs at Christmas, during Holy Week and Easter, and at diocesan ordinations.” Moore said. “In college I learned to play the organ and played at weddings and funerals in addition to weekly services at our local church.
At Christmas and Holy Week it was often a toss-up as to whether I would serve as the organist or a choir member.” As Moore planned his will, he wanted to support music education, especially for students set to become organists, choir directors, and composers and carry on the tradition of centuries of sacred music.
“It is very important that I help others experience the same excitement, joy, and spiritual fulfillment music has given me,” he said, adding that although he has never been to Catholic University or Washington, D.C., “It was also important I find a Catholic institution faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. Catholic University fits those criteria.” Moore contacted the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art in mid-June, and spoke with Dr. Tim McDonnell, Head of the Sacred Music academic area and Director of Choral Studies. After speaking to both Dr. McDonnell and Angela Rosati, Asst. Dean for Advancement, Mr. Moore made a donation through both a bequest to support undergraduate and graduate scholarships in Sacred Music and a current gift in support of scholarships and the discretionary needs of the area. “I feel the gifts to Catholic University honor my parents, who started me down the musical path,” he said. “Hopefully, they will provide others the opportunity to enjoy their participation in music as much as I have and help continue the Church’s beautiful tradition of praising and worshiping God through His gifts of song and music.”
--Mary Cecere, Business Manager, The Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art