The Joanies
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The Joanies

Band Christian Jazz


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The Joanies

The Joanies are a group of Catholic high school students who play all genres of Christian music for Mass at St. Joan of Arc Parish as well as various other Catholic events and venues. The group first played together as 8th grade students at St. Joan of Arc School at the request of Sister Eileen McGowan, school principal. Sister Eileen had a goal to make the weekly Middle School Mass more age-appropriate, encourage greater student involvement and facilitate more prayerful participation. The group played their first Mass in September, 2004 and continued to do so monthly until their 8th grade graduation in June of the same year. Little did Sister Eileen know that her vision would become The Joanies.

After receiving the Principal’s Award at graduation from St. Joan of Arc School, The Joanies grew from a school ministry into a parish ministry even though they are now attending four different high schools. Today, the 16 and 17 year old teens continue to share their talents through their ministry of the Word of God through music at various venues and Catholic churches.

The group members, their high schools and roles in the band are:

Allison Cordaro, vocals, Bishop McDevitt High School
Catherine Deluce, vocals, Hershey High School
Emily Drobnock, vocals and violin, Hershey High School
Nikki Heckerman, keyboard, Palmyra High School
Matt Klahre, lead guitar, Bishop McDevitt High School
Maddie Lutkewitte, rhythm guitar, Hershey High School
Dominic Pavone, drums, Lebanon Catholic High School
Nick Porzucek, bass guitar, Lebanon Catholic High School

The band’s repertoire includes praise and worship songs like Your Grace is Enough, Adoration and Trading My Sorrows. The band also plays contemporary Christian cover songs including Change Me and One of Us and the world-wide number one Christian song How Great is Our God. The Joanies enjoy modifying traditional Catholic hymns into more contemporary arrangements as can be heard in their versions of The Church’s One Foundation and For You are My God. Some of the band’s favorite pieces are original psalms written for them based on psalms from the Bible. The band has also written two of their own original songs based on Psalm 98 The Lord Comes to Rule the Earth with Justice and Isaiah 61 With Delight I Rejoice in the Lord.

In October 2008, The Joanies recorded their version of Awesome God under license from Music Services, Inc. and BMG Songs, Inc. on a CD titled Awesome. All song arranging, recording, mixing and editing was done by band members.

Within the St. Joan of Arc Parish, The Joanies play for 5:30pm Mass on the third Sunday of every month. The Joanies have played for two years for St. Joan of Arc Church’s senior citizen group known as the Areba Club. The Joanies’ most recent performance was in November 2007 for the Club’s annual holiday gathering. The Joanies played for two years for the St. Joan of Arc Knights of Columbus Christmas dinner, most recently in December 2007. Because praise and worship music lends itself to involving the audience through hand motions, The Joanies taught the Knights and their guests the hand motions to Awesome God. It was the highlight of the evening! The Joanies also played for the past two years at the St. Joan of Arc Church Parish festival, an annual event to raise money for the parish. The Joanies performed for the parish Mothers’ Day Tea last May and led Christmas carols with the teen members of the church this past December at the Hershey Towers, a home for the aging. The Joanies have also led the music at St. Joan’s annual Pet Blessings (complete with dogs, cats, mice and snakes!), retreats for school students, outdoor neighborhood Christian Community Masses and a community Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Finally, the Joanies have led the music for the past three years at Christmas Eve Mass.

Outside of St. Joan of Arc Parish, The Joanies sang for the Sisters and Serans of the Harrisburg Diocese in May 2006 demonstrating their younger generation’s praise and worship style of music, played at Holy Spirit Church Parish fundraising festival, and had the crowd standing and worshipping together at Christian Rock Night in Myerstown, PA.

The Joanies had several opportunities to share their music our Bishop Kevin Rhodes, the Bishop of the Harrisburg Diocese. Several years ago, The Joanies performed at the St. Joan of Arc Church Anniversary Picnic. In April 2007, The Joanies led the music for Mass celebrated by Bishop Rhodes at Lancaster Catholic High School’s Family Festival (previously know nationally as Proud to Be Catholic), an annual event complete with Christian rock bands, speakers and prayer. Most recently, The Joanies led praise and worship music on the steps of the Harrisburg Capitol on Palm Sunday 2008 for a crowd of over 1100 teens from 47 mid-state Roman Catholic parishes across the Harrisburg Diocese. The Joanies were very honored to have been select