Sacred Music at Notre Dame Awarded $1.6 Million Lilly Endowment Grant

Author: Matt Haines

The University of Notre Dame has received a $1.6 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the Sacred Music at Notre Dame program and its transformative work with graduate students and the community.

This is the program’s second grant from the Lilly Endowment — a private, philanthropic foundation that supports the causes of religion, education, and community development — following a $1.9 million grant in 2012 that helped launch SMND. Since then, graduate students in the Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Musical Arts programs working through SMND have expanded outreach efforts to churches across northern Indiana, including through the Notre Dame Children’s Choir.

With the first Lilly Endowment grant, the program also launched the Notre Dame Children’s Choir. Since that time, the initiative — now called the Sacred Music Academy — has grown from 20 children to more than 300 in multiple choirs, some of which tour and record their music. An album commissioned by the Notre Dame Children’s Choir debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s traditional classical albums chart in 2016.

The new funding will enable the Sacred Music Academy to reach more children as it begins a new partnership with the South Bend Community School Corp. to form a gospel choir on the city’s west side.


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