A CREOLE MASS
composed and arranged by
Creole (kreol), n. 1. Original to or born in Louisiana.
2. Any person who claims decent from the regions earliest settlers or inhabitants.
A CREOLE MASS - The Blessing of Cultural Diversity In 1951, Wardell Quezergue was an army private stationed in Japan. His main job was to arrange for and direct the bases elite army orchestra. While in the middle of a performance at the Ernie Pyle Theater, he was told to immediately end the concert and return to the base with the band to receive new orders. The new orders were for his entire unit to report to the Korean front. The next day, Wardell along with most of the armys musicians were on their way to the Korean front line. In route to the airport, an officer who asked if Wardell Quezergue was on board stopped the truck convoy. Wardell identified himself and was told by the officer to get off the truck and report back to base. His replacement got on the bus and his unit continued on their way to the Korea. When Wardell returned to the base, his warrant officer explained that he was taken off the truck because he was the only army musician with the skills to write arrangements for and to conduct the few remaining army bands needed to perform at the varied army functions.Shortly after his unit arrived in Korea, Wardell learned that during the first week of fighting, the man who replaced him was killed in action. Upon hearing this tragic news, Wardell went to Mass on the base and promised God that he would compose a Prayer of Thanksgiving so joyous and prayerful that everyone who heard it would share in his miracle of salvation. A Creole Mass was conceived that day. Fifty years later, on September 9, 2000, his masterwork for orchestra, classical symphony chorus, Negro spiritual chorale, childrens choir, second line brass band and eight vocal soloist was completed.
The genius in Wardell composition is that, as a prerequisite to its realization, the cultural expression of an entire community is required. The love of God and the respect for Liturgy are infused in A Creole Mass. The joy and solemnity of this incomparable music truly lifts the soul and makes me proud to have grown up Catholic in Louisiana.