Monday, January 18, 2010

Sisters '66

In 1966, as a way of fund raising for their new monastery, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie turned to one of their strengths: their music, and formed a 50+ member choir: Sisters '66. Over the next year, these sisters traveled throughout the diocese performing and raising funds for what is today Mount Saint Benedict.

On one of these occasions a man connected to the Ed Sullivan Show caught their performance and, as one thing led to another, Sisters '66 were invited to appear on what was then the #1 nationwide Sunday night variety show.

On January 15, 1967, 52 sisters: singers, musicians and assistants, appeared on the show--along with singer Petula Clark, comedian Allan King and The Rolling Stones---yes, THE Rolling Stones.

Last Friday on the 43rd anniversary of "that fateful night," a local TV station asked to interview some of the sisters who had been part of that unique experience. At 6:00 am Friday morning a reporter and cameraman arrived at the Mount and for the next 1/2 hour interviewed five sisters who were in Sisters '66.

They were articulate, humorous, and had amazing memories of the whole experience. Only a 2-3 minute snippet of their interview made the local news that night, but it brought back wonderful memories for all.

Left to right, Sisters '66 members: Sisters Mary Daniel M, Mary Ellen C, Rose Ann K, Roberta L, and Irene S.

A three-minute YouTube video shows the most memorable piece from that night: Kum-ba-ya. Sr. Mary Ellen Cummings is the soloist.