The second “Inspire” concert will happen June 2 at St. Margaret Mary Parish. Organizers are looking for singers. (Submitted photo)

Know the difference between a fermata and a whole note? Or perhaps melisma, modulation and motif?

If these terms strike a familiar chord, St. Margaret Mary could use your voice for an upcoming concert. There is no need to have perfect pitch or even an effective falsetto. Concert organizer and Director Kurt Bardele is interested in all vocal ranges for the second parish “Inspire” concert. He welcomes singers with fond memories or dreams of performing in a choir who may not have had time to fit in a long-term commitment.

The concert will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2, at St. Margaret Mary Parish, 3970 N. 92nd St., Milwaukee. Interested singers need to be able to read music and commit to 10 evening rehearsals between April 2 and May 30. There will be no auditions and music will be available two weeks before the first rehearsal.

Last year’s inaugural concert consisted of 23 singers and five instrumentalists. One of the singers also played guitar, said Bardele, who added there was a lot of interest in participating.

“Some singers discovered their voices and skills had changed since they were in a choir last, and some weren’t able to devote the necessary time. We wound up with singers from at least 10 different Christian communities,” Bardele said. “From attendees, a lot of people were curious as the week approached. Parishes may present plays and concerts, but I believe that advertising the songs’ familiarity surprised and enticed many. I’ve found that most of us have a song or hymn we hold deeply dear, reminding us of a sweet or sad moment.”

Bardele said last year’s concert turned out surprisingly well and it was the best they had done in any previous rehearsal. They felt the Holy Spirit rise through the group, which moved them to a new place that day. The audience was much larger than expected.

“Following the 75-minute concert, we had a simple reception in the church hall. It felt like almost everyone attended (it) and loudly shared their enthusiasm for what they had just experienced. It was gratifying to meet so many from outside the parish,” Bardele said. “The student singers, families and teachers enjoyed the experience, too, but probably for different reasons. I could feel their pride in their accomplishment and hard work.”

For the June concert, Bardele is looking for a choir of around 30 singers. He has some returning, but not enough. Some of the previous singers have health and scheduling conflicts, so he is hoping for interest from the greater Milwaukee area.

Bardele is a self-employed singer, actor, coach, producer and project facilitator, and worked in Minneapolis and New York City. He decided to create the “Inspire” concert after moving back to Milwaukee and when he witnessed the dramatic decline in Mass attendance and ministerial involvement following the pandemic.

“I wanted to see if my skills could contribute to bringing some life back to my community,” he said. “I spent a lot of time thinking about what inspires us and how we inspire others.”

Additionally, Bardele met many people over the years who are disappointed that they are unable to share their voice and miss or dream of singing with a beautiful choir.

“After my parents passed away, I must have solicited similar stories of how a hymn brought a parent to tears,” he said. “Through a welcoming, supportive experience from beginning to end, I hope to inspire our volunteer musicians to confidently share their voices and spirit to inspire our audience to inspire their communities, in their own way, small or big.”

While there are no auditions, Bardele asks that each singer has a basic musical ability. Last year, he took everyone who wanted to participate, but some opted out as they were unable to manage the skill and pace of the music. Some plan to try again another time.

“I want rehearsals themselves to be as enjoyable as the concert,” he said.

Bardele is finalizing this year’s program and will be focusing on familiar and beloved Christian hymns. Last year’s concert included 18 pieces.

“Maybe half of (this year’s concert) will consist of four- and five-part harmony with the rest being solos and duets, sometimes accompanied by a simple choral sound,” he said. “Last year, we assembled an ensemble of young students from St. Margaret Mary School who performed the opening and led the adults on the final song. This year, we hope to include their new choir of older students to at least open the program.”

The first rehearsal will take place April 2, and Bardele plans to have the roster set and music distributed by March 19.

“At our first concert, Fr. Michael Joncas, composer of ‘On Eagle’s Wings,’ and more joined us via Zoom to talk about how he was inspired to write his first well-known hymns,” said Bardele. “St. Margaret Mary is always happy that the church was designed with a large parking lot, no stairs from car to pew, bathrooms and a large, covered hotel-style entry.”

To participate in St. Margaret Mary’s second “Inspire” concert, contact Marcy Stone at or Kurt Bardele at for details.