The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Capshaw: Sharing a joyful noise for 40 years

Published: January 21, 2012   
Fran Presley
Chrys Capshaw, organist at St. Edward Church in Texarkana, finds inspiration when she looks up and sees a stained-glass window.

Full name: Chrys Capshaw

Parish: St. Edward Church

City: Texarkana

Family: Chrys and attorney Don Capshaw were married in 1975. They have two grown children, Kyle Capshaw and Meredith Santucci, and two grandchildren.

Why you want to know Chrys Capshaw: A former public school fine arts teacher, Chrys has been one of St. Edward's organists since 1972, and for many years also served as choir director. She has been involved in many other activities at St. Edward and takes advantage of opportunities the Church offers to grow in her faith.

In her own words

Arkansas Catholic's theme this year is "Catholic Beyond Sunday." How do you remain committed as a Catholic beyond Sunday? This coming December will be my 40th year as an organist. Other activities I am a part of include Share the Word prayer and study group, Liturgy Committee, a weekly rosary prayer group and a very interesting and challenging adult education class focusing on the books published by the Little Rock Scripture Study...My intent is to become more actively involved with our outreach ministry, as well as to learn Spanish so I can do more for and with our Hispanic friends.

Have you been Catholic all your life? I was a Methodist who became Roman Catholic in December of 1972 and promptly began playing for Masses at St. Edward the very next week.

Why do you like being Catholic? The Church has provided answers, guidance, fellowship and a most loving extended family.

Tell us about your music ministry. When I started playing for Masses at St. Edward, Father Leo Riedmueller was the priest. Since then I have been blessed to work with many wonderful and holy priests. It is quite funny to look back and remember those who had excellent voices and those who simply loved to make a joyful noise. At the time they were with us, though, each priest seemed to be the best we ever had. I can only hope that former priests of St. Edward can look back and share similar sentiments about the music here.

When you play the church's organ, in front of you is a beautiful stained-glass window. How does it inspire you? The beautiful window glows with the morning sun as it faces east. The large figure filling the center of the window is St. Gregory the Great. The top left and right are King David (the Psalms) and St. Cecilia (the patron saint of ecclesiastical music). The bottom two figures are Jubal (said to be the first to play the harp and flute) and Palestrina (the greatest composer of liturgical music of all time, who is still heard at papal coronations). When Sundays come around, the immortal musicians are watching and listening, providing both a comfort and an admonishment to play accurately. What pressure! I actually thought at one time that if I ever had twins, they would be named David and Cecilia.

What is your favorite hymn? As a church musician, it seems that the subject of choosing a favorite hymn would be easy, but my favorite hymn changes often. Hymns have evolved over the years and many old favorites have held that distinction: "All That I Am," "Take Our Bread," "Hail, Holy Queen," the Latin "Adoramus Te," which is sung on Good Friday. … The fresh, new melodies and lyrics of our contemporaries provide interest, joy and life to draw parishioners both young and old closer to the worship experience. "The Servant Song," "All Are Welcome" and "The Summons" are three songs with powerful messages.

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