Joe Beribak

Music has been my lifelong pathway toward God.   I first marveled at music while attending Mass on Sundays.  I knew how to read the words in the hymnal, but I didn’t know how to read the dots and lines on the music staff.  Likewise, I was enthralled with the booming rumble of the organ.

My parents noticed my curiosity with music and enrolled me in piano lessons (we were also blessed to have a piano in the house!)  Eventually, my curiosity steered me toward drums and percussion. 

Attending DePaul University's school of music, I studied with some of the finest orchestral percussionists of the Midwest.  I also encountered many new ideas of musical expression and career paths.  It was a period of wide ranging musical explorations paired with intense focus on developing the skills of an orchestral percussionist.  I’m so grateful for all the teachers and peers who helped guide me during my time at DePaul.  Likewise, the guiding example that St. Vincent, himself, left us has continued to exert influence over my view of the world.  I’m lucky to count him among my many intercessors.

I received a scholarship to attend the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, where I chose to pursue an Artist's Diploma for four years.  This afforded me the time and opportunity to help found the Smoke & Mirrors Percussion Ensemble.  We recorded two albums, went on a residency, and won the Beverly Hills Competition one year.  Yet, at the end of all this I realized I was forcing my own dream on others who didn't share the same vision. 

At this crossroad, I turned to that Queen of the Angels, for whom LA has been named.  She brought me back to a fervent practice of the Catholic Faith.  Again, music was at the center of this major crossroad, as Smoke & Mirrors was performing and recording the Ave Maria from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers.  I remember receiving a gift of real tears (I so rarely experience tears!) during one of my final performances of this piece with the group.

That discernment brought me into the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago in 2018.  I began cantoring for the Divine Office and Mass once my novitiate began.  Despite my love for the liturgy and this community, I discerned not to continue to vows.  I have returned to the world with a renewed vigor for music and a trust in my calling as a musician.  I strive each day to bring people an opportunity to deepen their sense of the eternal invisible world through the gateway of music.  I hope for a bright future together with all of you!  May God bless us!

January 14th, 2021 Anno Domini