Our Lady of Sorrows Sings On: The Sounds of Catholic Worship in Holyoke
Holyoke was originally founded as a prosperous mill town. The first Polish immigrants settled there in 1887, and in 1896 the growing Polish community established Mater Dolorosa Church in order to serve the Polish residents of the region.
Their choir today is small in comparison to its state in the mid-twentieth century, when it boasted 80 members and was renowned as a high-quality concert choir of the area. They have been featured in operas and musicals, on radio broadcasts, and have released a few CD’s over the years.
A Taste of Music in the Pioneer Valley's Puerto Rican Community
To anyone unfamiliar with the Pioneer Valley (and this includes many college students here), it might seem out of place that Puerto Rican folk music could thrive in the area. But it does, and the large Puerto Rican populations spanning from Hartford to Holyoke support many local musicians playing traditional melodies. Victor Rios, shown in our documentary below, made his living for years playing Puerto Rican music as a full-time musician in the Valley.