Notre Dame Folk Choir: A Radiant Bag Full of Puppies

Author: Emma Fleming

If you search YouTube for the Notre Dame Folk Choir promotional video, you'll hear our director, Steven Warner, describe being with the Folk Choir as “being in a bag full of puppies.” As a freshman three years ago, I walked into 329 CoMo (Coleman-Morse Center) timidly and suddenly was in that bag. I entered a room full of people hugging me and screaming introductions in my face; I knew I was home.


When I joined the University of Notre Dame Folk Choir, I did not know what to expect. Like a lot of my decisions, I am led by family input and admiration of others—following in their footsteps, dripping with admiration and hoping for a similar formation. With the Folk Choir, I was guided there by a close friend and, boy, am I thankful! This choir has become a family; it’s become an environment where I am shaped, challenged, and allowed to just be. Given the hectic lifestyle of a college student, the time with the Folk Choir is meant to be with God. This time is meant to acknowledge Him and sing for Him in communal prayer, in preparation for our 11:45 am Basilica Mass each Sunday.

This time is also meant to acknowledge the ways in which we have fallen short. God so loves us all the time, and the Folk Choir has been a force guiding me in this awareness. Each summer, we embark on a “Folk Choir Tour.” Hosted by families in the areas we visit, these tours have led me to the sunny state of Florida last year to various states on the east coast during my freshman year. Some of these families were ND alumni, but most were generous parishioners. Some did not even know where Notre Dame was! The tours opened my eyes to the ways in which we are called to be Christ-like servants to one another. People opened their homes to us, woke up early to drive us back to the churches we sang at, baked cakes and quiches, and shared their life stories. They welcomed us into their homes as strangers, and we left as family.

When I entered 329 CoMo as a freshman, I entered the Folk Choir a stranger. However, when I left that day after rehearsal, I knew I was going to leave as a member of this family. The choir reminds me to embrace each day as a gift. Amidst stress and worry, time singing with this family allows me to be radiant in my prayer life. Coming into Notre Dame, I had no idea that my faith was going to become all that it has grown to be. I knew I had wanted to continue going to Mass, possibly attend a couple retreats, but it is a weird transition when your faith is no longer given the pillars of your parents and parish to rest on.

So, although I am actually allergic to puppies and probably shouldn’t be in a bag with them ever, the Notre Dame Folk Choir has given me the foundation, the soundtrack, really, for my faith and allowed me to embrace the growth it can receive on this campus. And for that, I am forever grateful.

For more information on the Folk Choir, visit us here!