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Brava! Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Jeannette Knoll and Loyola Choirs perform at Red Mass in St. Louis Cathedral

Loyola press release - October 3, 2016

At Loyola, Knoll studied voice, then political science and law

Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Jeannette Knoll drew on her undergraduate experience at Loyola University New Orleans on Monday as she performed at the annual Red Mass, held in St. Louis Cathedral. Loyola choirs have sung for the past five years at the Red Mass, which opens the Louisiana judicial year. Today, they performed alongside Knoll, who sang a solo, at the urging of fellow members of the bench.

“It was an honor and a privilege to participate in this traditional opening of court ceremony, an ecumenical celebration at St. Louis Cathedral,” Knoll said. “Indeed, the Red Mass is the time we, the members of the Bench and the Bar, set aside each year to thank God for His many blessings and to petition His help as we embark on a new judicial year. Having sung many years ago in this city and for Loyola College of Music, it is a distinct personal pleasure and blessing to be able to sing a solo in celebration of this joyous event.”

The Red Mass, held the first Monday in October, is sponsored by the Catholic Bishops of the State of Louisiana and the St. Thomas More Catholic Lawyers Association. This year, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond officiated. Loyola senior Audrey Harmon, a vocal performance major in the university’s acclaimed School of Music, served as cantor. Loyola Assistant Professor of Voice Dreux Montegut, an accomplished tenor, served as organist.

In attendance were New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and members of the Louisiana Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson, and Associate Justices Greg G. Guidry, First District; Scott J. Crichton, Second District; and John L. Weimer, Sixth District. Retired Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal Calogero and retired Associate Justice Harry Lemmon also made appearances, as did a host of members of the Louisiana Bar Association, including Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite.

On hand to see Knoll perform Panis Angelicus by Cesar Franck were also members of Knoll’s family, including Knoll’s grandson, Jerold Edward “Trey” Knoll III, and the choir from Avoyelles Parish Charter School, where he is a student. Loyola faculty, staff and students also attended the mass, in coordination with University Ministry.

“It was such an honor for the Loyola Chamber Singers to sing with Justice Knoll, who has a beautiful soprano voice,” said Dr. Meg Frazier, Rita O. Huntsinger Distinguished Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Loyola. “We always enjoy the Red Mass but having Justice Knoll, a two-time Loyola alumna who sits on the Supreme Court, perform with us was a true joy.”

Knoll studied music on a voice scholarship at Loyola University School of Music in New Orleans and was invited to be a guest soloist with the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony and the New Orleans Summer Pops. As an 18-year-old Loyola voice student in 1961, Knoll won a scholarship from the New Orleans Opera Guild and the Metropolitan Opera Association to study voice at the Mannes College of Music in Greenwich Village. She headed to New York to pursue her musical studies, then returned home to New Orleans.

A native of Marksville, La., Knoll ultimately graduated from Loyola with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1966, then headed to the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where she received a Juris Doctor in 1969. As a judge in 1996, she obtained a Master of Laws in the judicial process from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Va.

While an undergraduate at Loyola, Knoll studied under vocal studies instructor Charlie Paddock; her generous gift to Loyola completed the endowment for the scholarship that bears his name — the Charles Paddock Memorial Scholarship, which is designed to promote excellence in the field of music by offering incentives to talented voice students.

And, of course, Knoll is a celebrated alumna of the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, where she and fellow justices both sat for a portrait and heard a Louisiana Supreme Court case in September.