November 13, 2021 Essay: A Time of Transition

Nov 8, 2021

Upon receiving a compliment, many of us on staff remark that it’s a team effort. It may seem like a deflection, but it is true. We depend on each other daily, and we do not take our fellow team members for granted.

Likewise, everything musical that happens at St. Ignatius is a team effort. Most of the work that enables our liturgical music and concerts to function well happens out of view. Those efforts are no less heroic.

Today I would like to lift up two members of the music staff who have been active behind the scenes for many years. One of these dear people is moving on to pursue other career opportunities, and the other is shifting her role and assuming additional responsibilities.

Sara Murphy began her work at St. Ignatius in 2001 as a member of the Choir of St. Ignatius. In September 2011, she moved into the full-time position of Music Administrator and Executive Director of the concert series. Over the next several years, her guidance and vision allowed us to revamp many functions, from the look of our visual elements (logo, color scheme, fonts, etc.) to our ticketing process to the institution of a seating chart to the way we advertise our concerts. Sara’s work with the series was all-encompassing, and it became necessary to spin off the Music Administrator position, leading us to hire Danya Katok, herself a member of the Choir of St. Ignatius.

I have known Sara for over twenty years and count her as one of my closest friends. She has been a mentor and teacher not just to me but also to many of us in the music ministry. Much of what I know about being a functioning adult, I learned from her!

In the spirit of the friend-teacher-mentor mode that comes so naturally to her, Sara enrolled in the nursing program at Columbia in 2019 and has begun full-time work as a nurse in inpatient psychiatry. She recently completed her master’s degree in nursing and is continuing with the Columbia Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty. To say we will miss her at St. Ignatius is an understatement for the ages. To express the fulness of our love for and our pride in her is impossible.

Because the administrative operations of the music ministry are immense, we added Danya Katok to the team in 2016 as Music Administrator, allowing Sara to focus on concerts. Like Sara, Danya is a world-class vocalist, a soloist, and an ensemble singer. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance and is currently working on a Master of Science in Early Childhood General and Special Education.

As of October 15, Danya added Executive Director of Concerts at St. Ignatius to her title and is overseeing all administrative operations of the music ministry, concert, and liturgical. Her contribution to our efforts is key in leading us out of pandemic mode and into the new normal currently taking shape. In addition to her formidable intelligence and tenacious work ethic, I will add that she is the mother of two young boys. Her plate is full! We welcome Danya wholeheartedly into her new role and look forward to many more years of collaboration.

Finally, given that Advent is almost upon us, I would be remiss if I didn’t issue a friendly reminder that tickets for Chanticleer Christmas (December 3 at 8 pm and December 5 at 4 pm) and our own Christmas concerts, A New and Glorious Morn (December 12 and 19 at 3 pm), are on sale (click here to purchase tickets). Do you have loved ones coming to town for the holidays? Give them the gift of a quintessential “Christmas in New York” experience—bring them here! Concert tickets are a perfect gift, and they won’t get stuck in the supply chain!

– K. Scott Warren, Director of Music Ministries