Monday, December 22, 2008

Sacred Heart School Choir - Sings Croatian & English Christmas Carols


In March of 2007, I travelled back to my old haunts in Chicago and picked up a few Christmas albums. This is one of the last ones from that trip left to be shared.

There's about 25 schools in Chicago named Sacred Heart. Considering that 1/2 of the album was sung in Croatian, my first guess was that it was recorded up somewhere in the West Town section of Chicago where Ukrainian Village is.

From some comments and consultation with my father (who grew up at 83rd & Buffalo - in the shadow of South Works), there was a Croation enclave on the south side of Chicago as well.

Sacred Heart Croatian Church is located at 96th and Escanaba Ave. on the Southeast side of Chicago.



This album is nothing fancy (a lot of my shares are usually just that). School kids singing Christmas songs. The school sold this album to parents so they could assumingly fund other programs at their school. We are talking about Chicago here - ask Gov. Rod Blagojevich!

I would love to hear from anyone on the back of the cover! And according to one of the commenters below, this album was recorded in 1961.


Sacred Heart School Choir - Sings Croatian & English Christmas Carols


Happy listening...


Capt

11 comments:

Buster said...

Thanks, Capt - I love these kind of records.

Not to nitpick, but I'd point out that the record says it is in Croation, not Ukrainian.

Anonymous said...

There once was a Croation enclave on the south side of Chicago. St. Jerome church (1700 W. Lunt) was once a popular gathering site for Croation immigrants. They have since moved away and been replaced by a latino population. It might be worth contacting them to see if they have (or had) a Sacred Heart school.

Also, never mention Gov.Blagojevich (a serb) in the same sentence with Croations...it could get you killed (or worse!).

Thanks for the wonderful share!

Anonymous said...

I was part of this choir. Sacred Heart Croation Church is located at 96th and Escanaba Ave. on the Southeast side of Chicago. This album was recorded in 1961. The above person mentions St. Jerome's Church. This Church still stands at 26th Princeton in Chicago, also known as the Bridgeport area.

CaptainOT said...

Buster - Thanks for pointing out my misteak!

Anon 8:11 - I asked my dad who grew up on the South Side and he remembers the Croatian area but couldn't pin it down.

Anon 8:29 - My father promises to point out the church next time we go through the area.

What else can you tell us about the album?


Capt

Organist said...

I was the organist on this recording and also the nun that you see pictured. However, I left a few years later and now have a family of my own. I can answer most of any questions about this recording. It was a wonderful experience and I taught those children at Sacred Heart in So. Chicago which IS located at 96th and Escanaba near Commercial Avenue. I was quite young and was blest with a wonderful group of children who loved to sing english and Croatian. Most of the children did not understand, but were raised in a Croatian environment.I was raised in a Croatian community in Cleveland, Ohio as well.

CaptainOT said...

Organist - How old or what grade were these kids?

What year was this released?

How well did the album sell?

How long were you at the school?


Capt

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. I am on this album, also. The "Organist" as I remember her was named Sr. Elaine. We have many wonderful memories connected with that time.

Organist said...

I am the organist, Sr. elaine, as I was known then. I left the convent soon after as I mentioned before. I was at Sacred Heart from 1958 - 1966. In my choir I had all students in Grs. 5-8 grades. All children expected to sing in the school choir. This was made in 1962 or 3, I think. It was during my position of organist which was during those eight years. We created about 700 recordings and sold about 550. Fr. Myron was pastor as the time and he just wanted the Croatian people to have a wonderful remembrance of the children singing. We sang harmony and they had beautiful voices. We even sang three part in some of the music. It was a wonderful time for all of us who were there.

CaptainOT said...

Anon - Please share some of those memories with us!

Organist - Thanks for filling in some of the empty holes! I'm glad you've help to reconnect several people (including yourself) with those great memories of Christmas!


Capt

Patty said...

I am pictured in this photo, and remember dearly my time with Sr. Elaine and my fellow Choir Members. Not only did most of us children sing in Croatian, we danced KOLO also. I still have my Christmas album, and I listen to it every Christmas. Kathy M. had it transferred to CD. Many thanks to her! Because of my Croatian mother and my Croatian Culture from Sacred Heart School, I travelled to Split, Croatia in 06, and look forward to returning to continue my search for my mother's cousins. Many thanks for this blog.

Anonymous said...

I was so surprised to see this Christmas album on this blog. I have a copy of my own. I am in the picture, first on the left, front row. It was such a unique experience for us to be in our old church to record this album. I was in 5th grade when this was recorded. In 1961 you didn't have the vast experience of sound and recording as we do now. It was exciting. I remember standing in the center aisle of church facing the back so we could see Sr. Elaine at the organ. She was a wonderful musician. As she commented earlier, we sang in 2 and 3 parts which was beautiful and quite and accomplishment for children. We also sang at mass on Sunday and that included English and Latin songs. I still remember many of them. This choir brings back wonderful memories. In fact, we are hoping to contact those in the picture for a 50th reunion next year. Many of them married others in the picture and many stil
visit or live in the "old neighborhood". South Chicago has been an established community for some time. My father, now 83 yrs old went to Sacred Heart, as well as parents of many in the picture.

There were 3 churches established to serve the Croatian communities. St. Jerome in Bridgeport IL on 28th and Princetome Ave. It is still in existence. Sacred Heart on 96th and Exchange was the second. These parishes were staffed by the Croatian Franciscans Priests. Their monestary is on 48th and Drexel Blvd. in Chicago. The 3rd Croatian Parish is Assumption on the North Side of Chicago. Dominican priests serve there. The Croatians from each of these parishes often attend functions at one another's church which makes for a great community spirit.
So, the 3 Croatian communities in Chicago are still in existence as well as other US states and Canada. Music and Croatian dance, the Kolo, play an important part in the lives of these people.
In addition to singing in church for many years, I also played the organ for the Croatian masses at Sacred Heart for some years.
The Christmas album may seem simple but when I listen to it, I have nothing but wonderful memories of being a part of this great choir. Many of us are friends and still keep in touch.
Where did you actually find this album? Just curious.