Beginning July 1, 2020, SFR Music Director Rick Knoop has also assumed the leadership of pastoral music at St. Leonard.  Rick’s formal service in pastoral music began in the fall of 1972 at St. Frances of Rome.  Sr. Carmelita Dunn, SCN, who had served as one of Rick’s second grade teachers and altar server trainer, was serving as principal at St. Frances of Rome and there was a need for an organist at the 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. liturgies.  Rick, as a junior at DeSales High School was gaining confidence as a young church organist and served the community for two years and in summers during his college years at Vanderbilt University.  Rick remembers, “Under pastors James Ryan and Richard Fowler, I received $5.00 per Mass as a stipend, which allowed me to fill the family station wagon each week. Gas was 47 cents a gallon at that time.” Working with Fr. Dick Fowler, I learned so much about the proper role of music in liturgy. That experience truly guided my faith development with a strong musical foundation. While at Vanderbilt, Rick earned double major degrees in Biology and German with double minor degrees in Chemistry and Music.  He studied organ under well respected Nashville organist Peter Fyfe at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt.  During that time, Rick served the Catholic community of Vanderbilt and from 1976-1978 served as organist and choir director at St. Ann’s Church (Nashville). Rick still has many close ties to the Diocese of Nashville.  Returning to Louisville in 1978, Rick served briefly at Epiphany before assuming the position of organist and later choir director at St. Therese Catholic Church (1978-1983).  At St. Therese, Rick oversaw the installation of a new Allen Church organ in 1983, which still serves that parish.  From 1983 to 2006 (23 years), Rick directed and broadened the music program at St. Barnabas Church (now merged with St. John Paul II), and oversaw the large installation of a new 3 manuel (keyboard) Allen organ. During the summers of 1994-2002, Rick also had the opportunity to earn a graduate degree in German in Klagenfurt, Austria.  During that time, Rick had opportunities to play many fine instruments including the organs at St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome) and St. Martin’s Cathedral (Mainz, Germany). Hoping to slow down for a while in 2006, Rick soon heard the urgent call of Fr. Jerry Eifler (imagine that!) calling him to come back to St. Frances of Rome. “Although my primary duties have been educating young men in science, German and choral music at both DeSales High School and since 1994 at St. Xavier High School, I find great joy in creating and accompanying musical prayer among the people of SFR.  I also feel a special attachment to now serving the people of St. Leonard.  As Knoop family, we were very close to St. Leonard founding pastor Father Joe Emrich and all of the Emrichs. My father, Frank was a well respected trumpeter in the Holy Name Band.  I always appreciated the talents and enthusiasm of Kelly Hamilton Cobb, the first organist at St. Leonard. She actually played my parents’ wedding at Holy Cross Church in 1955. Kelly also served the church well in encouraging many young people to share their musical talents. The St. Leonard pipe organ was donated by the Holy Name Band and Choral Club, directed by Fr. Emrich in exchange for a place to practice for many years.”   

As parishes, St. Frances of Rome and St. Leonard should take great pride in the priorities both parishes have put on the role of music in worship to foster prayer. In addition to the piano, both parishes have fine pipe organs, which have been well maintained.  Rick clearly states,  “Music in Catholic Worship remind us that the pipe organ is the official instrument of the Roman Catholic Church and is to be held in high esteem. As a pastoral musician, my first role is to encourage a pew to sing! I truly welcome any opportunity to encourage youth voices to embrace their faith more fully through music. We are blessed with great talent at both parishes and good dedicated people, who can truly enliven the Clifton, Crescent Hill, Zorn Avenue and River Road communities of Louisville. On a personal note, I also enjoy weekly worship with my youngest sister Charlotte Stengel and her family: Brad, Samantha and Max (SFR parishioners).  May we continue to make a joyful song to the Lord!”