It has been a remarkable journey, both professionally and spiritually, for the musicians of Gaudeamus. Established in 1997 by Constance Cannon, Gaudeamus is a Christian faith-based ensemble of professional musicians with a passion for sharing their God-given talents through concerts and recordings, to help those in need.
Their story began in 1990 when a trio of musicians performed for a small, but enthusiastic audience at Epiphany of Our Lord Church their First Annual Candlelight Christmas Concert. The free-will collection was donated to a local needy family. The growing popularity of the concerts inspired the ensemble to release their first CD, “A Christmas Gift” in 1997. A limited release of 1,000 copies sold in two weeks, with the proceeds being directed to the international organization, Food For the Poor. The Gaudeamus donation of $25,000 helped to build three homes in Haiti as well as fund educational needs at a Haitian orphanage.
Soon, Gaudeamus expanded their concert schedule to year round performances at churches of various denominations throughout the Philadelphia area. Today, Gaudeamus performances attract audiences in excess of 5,000 guests each year. Building on their success, Gaudeamus subsequently released three more Christmas CD’s, There Is A Time, Blessed Christmas and Let Us Rejoice and expanded their community outreach to organizations such as Mercy Suburban Regional Cancer Center, The Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund, Project H.O.M.E. and many other local charities.
With the 2003 release of their first inspirational CD, A New Day, the group directed their fundraising efforts towards the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cancer Center. In 2005 Gaudeamus was awarded the Fellowship Award by the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund in recognition of their support of children with serious medical issues.
The mission of Gaudeamus also includes the support of children’s educational expenses and in 2003 they established the Monsignor James Baldrick Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of the late Pastor of Epiphany of Our Lord Church. These scholarships are awarded annually to college-aged students from the parish who best exemplify the faith, courage, humility and call to service that Monsignor Baldrick embodied. More than 25 college students have been recognized for excellence in academics and community service as well as their commitment to their Catholic faith. The scholarship fund has contributed more than $100,000 to not only college students, but also needy children at other schools.
Over the years, Gaudeamus has had the unique experience of interacting with the executive directors and boards of large, charitable organizations as well as those who operate small, grass root not-for-profits. The musicians association with Deborah Heart & Lung Foundation introduced them to children from Tanzania undergoing life- saving heart surgery, while The Wellness Place engaged them with adults and children battling cancer. Whether performing for a filled-to-capacity church or a small group of patients, the Gaudeamus mission remains steadfast…….to inspire its audiences through music and to encourage philanthropic support.
Gaudeamus is led by Constance Cannon who serves as Executive and Music Director and Pianist. An active, committed volunteer staff and an engaged, professional Board of Directors support her.
On behalf of the organization, we would like to thank each of you for your spiritual and financial support of our ministry. During the 20 years of music ministry, Gaudeamus has raised in excess of $600,000 through free-will concert donations, CD sales, foundation support and private contributions. It has been an honor to work with the many beneficiaries of our ministry and while every story is different, each is touching.
Gaudeamus has been able to make a positive difference in the lives of children primarily through the generous support of our donors who generously share their valuable time, talent and treasure. You continued support will be instrumental in helping to remain a financially stable and unique resource for children in need.
With grateful hearts, we hope that our musical performance this evening will touch your soul, lift your spirit and bring the joy and peace of this Christmas season.