Valley Parents: Lebanon 11-year-old performs music duties at Sacred Heart Church

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter at her home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. Carter started off singing in the chorus at Sacred Heart Parish, and began serving as a cantor two years ago at music director Alice Maleski’s suggestion. “I wasn’t very confident at the time,” Carter said, but singing in front of the whole parish every week has made her more self-assured. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter at her home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. Carter started off singing in the chorus at Sacred Heart Parish, and began serving as a cantor two years ago at music director Alice Maleski’s suggestion. “I wasn’t very confident at the time,” Carter said, but singing in front of the whole parish every week has made her more self-assured. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news / report for america photographs — Alex Driehaus

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter at her home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. Each week music director Alice Maleski sends a recording of that week’s music and Carter rehearses at home before leading the congregation at Sunday Mass. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter at her home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. Each week music director Alice Maleski sends a recording of that week’s music and Carter rehearses at home before leading the congregation at Sunday Mass. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Alex Driehaus

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter at her home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. Carter uses a book of sheet music that includes all of the songs for the liturgical year. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter at her home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. Carter uses a book of sheet music that includes all of the songs for the liturgical year. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter while her mother Courtney Baker watches from the doorway at their home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Carter Moote, 11, practices the responsorial psalm for the fourth Sunday of Easter while her mother Courtney Baker watches from the doorway at their home in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Valley News / Report For America - Alex Driehaus) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news / report for america photographs — Alex Driehaus

By PATRICK O’GRADY

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 05-28-2024 11:07 AM

LEBANON — Carter Moote admitted to being a bundle of nerves her first time as a cantor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Though Carter had sung at school talent shows, the congregation on that Sunday morning seated before her was much larger and she would be singing solo.

“I never sang in front of that many people before,” Carter said after a Sunday Mass in April. “It was terrifying.”

That was two years ago and now Carter sings the Responsorial Psalm just about every week with the confidence of someone much older than her 11 years.

“It is unusual for someone so young to be so enthusiastic, and she has been absolutely incredible,” said Alice Maleski, Sacred Heart’s organist and music director. “She is gifted musically. and her pitch is perfect.”

The Responsorial Psalm is sung between the first and second readings at Mass. There is a refrain, sung by the congregation, and at least three or more verses of a Psalm by the cantor.

Carter had been singing with the Sacred Heart choir when she was asked by Maleski if she would like to sing the Responsorial Psalm or the Alleluia part, which is much shorter.

“I immediately said yes to the Responsorial Psalm, but at the time I was not very confident of my singing,” Carter said.

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She remembered her thoughts standing at the lectern the first time.

“There were a lot of people and when I got up on the altar, I thought, ‘oh gosh, oh gosh,’ ” Carter said. “It was really nerve wracking.”

After the Mass that day, Carter, and her mother, Courtney Baker, said the comments from several parishioners boosted her confidence.

“A lot of people came up to me after and said ‘you did a great job.’ That was helpful,” Carter said.

Maleski said she has heard from others expressing appreciation for Carter’s singing.

“They just love her and they love the fact there is someone so young willing to do this ministry.”

When she first started as a cantor at age 9, Carter said she would practice with Maleski but now she does it at home.

“Now I send her recordings,” Maleski said. “She is very determined to sing on her own.”

Carter also sings with the chorus at Lebanon Middle School, where she is a fifth grader, and is in a group called “Singing for the Stage.” Students are assigned a song from a theater musical that they rehearse for three months and then perform at the Upper Valley Music Center’s Sing and Play Festival. She did the Lebanon-based nonprofit organization’s camp last summer. During the school year, she continued with the group through the fall, winter and this spring.

“It has been really fun,” Carter said. “I really love everyone that does that class because we all love to sing.”

After singing the Responsorial Psalm, Carter joins the church choir during the remainder of the Mass, singing in Latin, which Maleski teaches after religious education.

“She is committed to having them learn it,” Baker said.

Maleski said it has been a joy to have Carter as a cantor the last two years and she is happy to have given her the opportunity.

“Her dedication is really amazing and she just loves doing it,” Maleski said. “I can’t speak highly about her enough.”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.