Video: Sacred music alumnus on the ‘king of instruments’ and reviving church music in rural communities

Author: Todd Boruff

“If you can be a strong organist and lead hymns from the keyboard, you can do it all as a church musician,” said Michael Emmerich, ’12 M.S.M. 

Emmerich is the associate music director for the Archdiocese of Omaha with a particular focus and mission for rural music ministry. He travels the archdiocese to bolster musical and liturgical literacy among the parishes in rural communities.

“Church music is a discipline that lives through transmission,” he said. “If we don’t shore up what people know how to do now, there won’t be people to do it tomorrow and in the next generation.”

Emmerich attributes his success to the faculty, facilities, and community of students in Notre Dame’s Master of Sacred Music program. He particularly valued his access to the theology department, where he took electives and gained insight into the liturgy outside his specialization in organ.

“In ways that are serendipitous and unpredictable, all of those things crop up out in the field, out in the work that is sacred music,” he said. 

Originally published by Todd Boruff at on April 02, 2019.