The National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) is an organization for anyone who recognizes and supports the value of musical liturgy. We are choir directors, organists, guitarists, pianists, instrumentalists of all kinds, priests, cantors, and pastoral liturgists. We are members of contemporary ensembles, handbell choirs, and choral groups. Some of our members are young people in high school and college, while some are veteran directors of music ministries. We represent parishes large and small as well as seminaries, schools, religious communities, cathedral churches, and diocesan offices. Many of our members belong to interest sections for various musical ministries, for clergy, for chant or pastoral liturgy, and for musicians serving African American, Hispanic and Asian communities. Some of our members are not actively involved in a particular musical or liturgical ministry but want to support the important work of pastoral musicians.

If you are already a member of NPM, you know the importance of the Association for advancing the musical and liturgical life of the Church in the United States. If you are not currently a member or have never participated in an NPM event, we extend to you a warm invitation to join us in “fostering the art of musical liturgy.”

The National Association of Pastoral Musicians fosters the art of musical liturgy. The members of NPM serve the Catholic Church in the United States as musicians, clergy, liturgists, and other leaders of prayer.

The Rapid City Chapter of National Pastoral Musicians is located in western South Dakota, commonly referred to as West River, i.e., west of the Missouri River. The Missouri River roughly divides our state in half.

The West River area covers 43,000 square miles.

South Dakota is considered a frontier state, meaning it has a population density of six or fewer people per square mile, amounting to 882,235 people in the entire state, with most of that number living East River, i.e., east of the Missouri River.

The Diocese of Rapid City, encompassing the West River area, is the smallest Roman Catholic diocese in the contiguous United States with 30,700 Catholics in 88 parishes (12.8% of the West river population).

Rapid City is the largest city in the diocese and second-largest in the state, with a population of 76,532. The city has three parishes, a Jesuit Mission and a Newman Center within its city limits.

Most leaders of parish music ministry are not paid and have no budget.

Many parishes have a very limited number of musicians, sometimes only a keyboardist who is also the cantor and song leader.

The Rapid City Chapter communicates with its membership via quarterly newsletters, emails, website and Facebook (National Association of Pastoral Musicians Rapid City Chapter).

Routinely, the chapter submits articles to our diocesan newsletter, the West River Catholic, and to the “Chapter Happenings” section of Pastoral Music.

The Rapid City Chapter varies locations for its quarterly meetings, taking into consideration the time of year, the type of program and driving distances (as far as 210 miles one way).

For its annual St. Cecilia Fall Meeting and Awards Luncheon, the chapter features nationally recognized Catholic music leaders, such as Dr. Tom Porter and Lee Gwozdz.

Annually, the Rapid City Chapter presents these awards: St. Cecilia Award for Clergy, St. Cecilia Award for Laity, Peggy Langenfeld Award, Emerging Musician Award and Emerging Young Musician Award. The Rapid City Chapter is home to two national NPM leaders:

  • Jacqueline Schnittgrind – consultant and advisor for the National Committee for NPM Chapters, co-author of National Association of Pastoral Musicians Chapter Manual (revised 2016); former member of the Council of Chapters (1999-2009), former Co-chair and Chair of the National Committee for NPM Chapters and NPM Chapter Leader of the Year (2012, 2014).
  • Tammy Schnittgrund – current Chair of Cantor Steering Committee and former member of NPM Council (2006 – 2010, 2013 – 2018).

The Rapid City Chapter thanks Jacqueline Schnittgrund for her unflagging, inspiring leadership.