Musician leads worship in large New York City parish

Former Summerland resident is music director for church with 15,000 parishioners

  • Tue Jan 31st, 2012 8:00pm
  • Life

Steve Leplante

For Steven Laplante, music is not just a way of life. It is also a spiritual calling.

Laplante, who grew up in Summerland, now works as the music director for St. Athanasius Catholic Church in New York City, a church with around 15,000 parishioners.

The journey to the position at that church began in the 1990s, when Laplante was studying at McGill University in Montreal.

At that time, he was studying architecture until he decided to switch majors to pursue an area of greater interest to him.

The switch meant he had to catch up to learn the intricacies of music.

After he received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, he found work at the church.

“There is a real need for good music directors, “ he said. “It’s not something people really know anything about. It’s a very specialized field,” he said. As the music director in a large church, Laplante said he looks for a wide range of music to meet the various needs of the diverse congregation.

The styles in the church include classical music, gospel and contemporary praise songs.

“It’s all about taking the best music that’s there and enjoying it.”


Laplante has also recorded a live performance with the backing of a choir. The CD is expected to be released this fall. Money from the sale of the CD will go to a fundraiser for a new pipe organ for the church. Laplante is now working on a program to mark the 100th anniversary of the parish.