Every Sunday at 7 p.m., the Rosary Chapel fills with heavenly, liturgical music during Mass. The choir sings on cue, providing soothing melodies, and every music note is hit with success. The Mass’s music is produced with grace and precision, thanks to the new Coordinator of Liturgy and Music Ministry, Amy Omi.
Amy Omi first took on the position after Sr. Patti Gallagher retired at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Though she is new to the position, Amy’s history with music goes as far back as her childhood.
Amy was born and raised in Maywood, by a firefighter father and home-making mother and is the oldest of four children. She considered herself as the ringleader of her three younger siblings
“I think that is where I get my director role,” Omi said with a laugh.
At 5, Omi took an interest in music when her paternal grandfather, a pianist and Concordia University alumnus, gave his old stark, upright piano to the family. As soon as the piano was in the household, Amy began writing and playing music. Over time, Amy started taking piano lessons with the help of her maternal grandmother’s financial contributions towards her tuition. In order to make ends meet, her father worked extra odd jobs, such as painting houses, and her mother sang at her local church.
Omi spent her first year of college at Edgewood College in Madison and took a year off before transferring and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and a minor in communications at Dominican University.
After graduation, Omi wasn’t sure what direction to go. She originally thought about a career as a performing artist until the next few years, when she went through many hardships.
“Everything went wrong,” she said, including serious familial, relationship and health issues.
Eventually, she enrolled at Vandercook College of Music in Chicago for her master’s degree in music education giving voice lessons to young people. She discovered she was good at teaching and music. She then moved on to playing piano and performing at a variety of Catholic churches and continued giving voice and music lessons.
She has worked as a choir director at the United Methodist Church and did some occasional performances with Sr. Patti Gallagher as an accompanist. Then, in mid-June, Omi was offered the place by Sr. Patti herself. After a week of considering the option, she applied for the position and was hired on Aug 15th by Shannon Green, director of University Ministry.
“She has everything and more,” Green said. “She has the desire to deepen her skills for her music and has experience.”
Omi recalls her most memorable moment so far at DU – the Mass of the Holy Spirit.
“It was a powerful moment,” she said, “I felt the things God has taught and given me and has prepared me for this opportunity. Nurturing people in a spiritual setting by doing music, you tap yourself into a spirit very high above anyone. Music hits a chord inside of people in a purist form of prayer.”
As a coordinator of liturgy and music ministry, she works with students to help them improve and express their musical skills.
“She really gives you the confidence that says that you can sing and be a part of the Liturgy,” Megan Graves, a sophomore and choir member at Dominican, said. “She is the most creative person that I have ever met. She is able to see a space and see the people, and she creates beauty.”
Omi dedicates her time, faith and creativity to provide the Dominican community with spiritual music. She is a working mother of two children and has been happily married for four years and currently resides in Lyons.
Omi’s motto? “If you don’t use the gifts God has given you, you will suffer an ailment. When you use your gifts to the fullest potential, you will experience the perfect alignment of the soul.”
– Jenna Ramiro, Staff Reporter