Paul Salamunovich began his role as music director at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in North Hollywood when my twin brother and I were in the eighth grade at St. Charles School —in 1949. Over these 65 years it has been a privilege to have known Paul and to experience his extraordinary music genius on so many occasions, both at the parish and in many other venues where he directed choirs.
He had so many gifts and talents as a musician, composer and director. Paul selected an extraordinary breadth of choral works — from early centuries, from periods of musical revival, and from contemporary pieces. His St. Charles Choir sang at so many Masses and liturgies over the years, and I was privileged to have his choir sing for my first Mass at St. Charles.
Paul never hesitated to introduce many audiences to sacred music from past centuries and to offer them classical choral pieces which had seldom been heard in Southern California. The rich variety of his choral offerings expanded musical experience for his choir and musicians, as well as for all of us.
As a teacher, Paul was instrumental in opening up, for many parish choirs and other choral groups, new sounds and new blending of the various parts of the choir. His influence on choral music will continue for many years to come.
Not as many people were aware of his abilities as a music composer, but his influence in composition was felt in Church music and in many ventures involving film and television.
Paul Salamunovich will go down in history in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and across the country as a brilliant maestro, artist, composer and director. His music rose to God in blessing and in praise. May he know rest in the peace and joy of God’s kingdom, and may he enjoy the heavenly choruses for all eternity.