Updated: Feb 25, 2021
Sr. Beth Dowd, OSU (1934-2020)
We are deeply saddened to share that our beloved Sr. Beth died peacefully on December 11, 2020.
Sr. Beth was an extraordinary woman, who believed that peace is possible and that every person deserved the opportunity to learn and enjoy music. After growing up in Holyoke, MA and attending the College of New Rochelle, she entered the Ursuline Community and received two Master degrees in music and education from The Catholic University of America. Sr. Beth served as a music teacher and choral director in Bethesda, MD, Springfield, MA, and Bronx, NY. She came to New Rochelle in 1976 and began teaching music at New Rochelle Catholic Elementary School (later, Blessed Sacrament Elementary School). Out of the school choir grew Choir Camp, which has continued for the last 41 years.
Upon leaving Blessed Sacrament, Sr. Beth founded Songcatchers, a nonprofit music organization dedicated to "Reaching for Peace through Music". Songcatchers continues to provide an array of choral and instrumental programs that serve children, teens, and adults in the New Rochelle and Southern Westchester communities.
Sr. Beth's presence and impact has been felt by thousands of children and adults across multiple generations. Whether it was directing the choir, hearing children in the After-School Music Program perform at recitals, or teaching Early Piano to young children, Sr. Beth loved each person dearly as if they were her own, never missed a moment to teach music, and cherished all the music-making that was going on around her. Inspired by Sr. Beth, many of her former students and Songcatchers participants have gone on to become musicians, teachers, and work in service-oriented fields.
As we mourn her loss, we ask that you remember and pray for her family, her Ursuline Community, and all who loved her. May her memory be a blessing for us all. Thank you, Sr. Beth, for believing in and seeing the good in each one of us, and for helping us to see and express the music within ourselves. "Because we've known YOU, we have been changed for good."
(Stephen Schwartz, "Wicked")
We would love to take this opportunity to share our favorite memories of Sr. Beth. She was an extraordinary woman, who touched so many with her love of music. But beyond that, it was her ability to see the potential in every child, and help that child see it in him/herself, that made her so special. Sr. Beth's impact on her family, her Ursuline Community and all who knew and loved her, will continue to be felt for years to come.
Every person who came into contact with Sister Beth and the Songcatchers organization will continue to spread her message and her mission of reaching for peace through music.
Please feel free to comment and share your favorite memories of Sister Beth with us, we would love to hear them!
2017 Spirit of Songcatchers Brunch - Thank You Video for Sister Beth