St. Francis Xavier 125th Anniversary Concert – Lauda Sion Premiere

St Francis Xavier Catholic Church


It has been a fantastic journey.  Looking back now it seems like a long time ago, but it was just last August that I was sitting in a condo in Fort Walton Beach, Florida when an email from Toni Diem hit my mailbox with the subject line “Commission”.

The commission was to be the final choral piece of St. Francis Xavier’s 125th Anniversary Concert.  Now that the concert is over and done I wanted to share a word of thanks to everyone who had a part in my small part of your concert.  I was honored to be with you and to be able to conduct and share my music with you.  Your performance of LAUDA SION, as well as the entire concert program, will forever be emblazoned in my memory.

Words cannot capture what is felt when I hear my own music being sung by so many people, and so I often have found myself being in the blessed state of being totally blown away by the abundance life can offer and rendered quite speechless.

Toni Diem’s vision and passion for the Church and its music ministries are unparalleled, and I am forever in her debt for the opportunity to share in the celebration.  She, Tim, and their boys (and Chesney their dog) made me feel right at home despite the bitter cold outside, and I am very thankful for their hospitality and friendship.

LAUDA SION will forever hold the inscription of being commissioned by St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Buffalo, MN and will be available for download here at for other choirs to perform.  Until we meet again…

Keep making music and God bless you all,

Joseph Gentry Stephens

One thought on “St. Francis Xavier 125th Anniversary Concert – Lauda Sion Premiere

  1. Toni Diem

    It was our pleasure having you, JGS! Thanks for making our event extra special. God bless you as you continue to write, and may many more commissions come your way with equally fantastic results!


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