Selah Praise Band of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Erie opens Music on the Hill, a concert at St. Mark
Catholic Center sponsored by Joy Ministries, a ministry for people 
with intellectual and developmental
disabilities and their loved ones. 

Tammy Niebauer has felt the power of music, has seen what it can do.

“It fills me up, and I know he loves it,” said a smiling Niebauer, whose son, Zackery Niebauer, participates in Friendship Ministries Chime Choir, a choir for people with intellectual disabilities at St. Joseph Parish/Bread of Life Community in Erie.

The Niebauers were among the roughly 60 people who attended Music on the Hill, a concert presented by Joy Ministries, a ministry of the Diocese of Erie for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Saturday concert at St. Mark Catholic Center featured the sounds of Selah Praise Band of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Erie, FlightPath Praise Band from Erie’s FlightPath Fellowship church, and the Friendship Ministries choir.

Rain moved the concert from its original planned location on the grounds of the center to indoors, but the inclement weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. After more than an hour of inspirational, upbeat music that had the audience clapping and bopping in their seats, Selah Praise Band received a standing ovation. The band has produced three CDs and collaborated on another that combine contemporary praise music and traditional liturgical music using a variety of instruments, including drums, guitar, bass and keyboard.

“I love the music,” Joyce Chrishock, a parishioner at St. Luke Catholic Church in Erie, said afterward. “Every song has a message and you can get into it.”

Debby Holmes, the band’s director and a guitarist and singer, said Selah’s goal is to take the ministry of music beyond the walls of Our Lady of Peace.

“What we always pray for is that we touch one person’s heart,” Holmes said.

Music does just that in a special, unique way, said Michele Inter, director of the diocese’s Office for Persons with Disabilities and Deaf Ministries.

Inter, who helped organize the concert, said music is a universal language.

“It brings joy to everyone. And what greater thing can you do than praise God?”

Visit the Diocese of Erie Facebook page to see a gallery of photos from the concert.