Rick Knoop began serving as the Director of Music at St. Leonard in July 2020. Rick began serving in pastoral music in 1972 at St. Frances of Rome when as a DeSales student he was invited to begin playing the organ at weekend liturgies. Later on at Vanderbilt, Rick earned degrees in Biology and German with minors 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 he served as organist and choir director at St. Ann’s Church in 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, 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 manual (keyboard) Allen organ. During the summers of 1994-2002, Rick earned 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 inviting 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 St. Frances of Rome. I also feel a special attachment to now serving the people of St. Leonard.”
As parishes, St. Frances of Rome and St. Leonard should take great pride in the priority they have placed 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 reminds 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.”
As Rick loves to say: “May we continue to make a joyful song to the Lord!”Rick Knoop