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Our Lady of Lourdes Church Honors its History, Composing Priest

The Les Elgart Orchestra will perform selections from Father Joseph Pierre Norman Connor's work. Connor worked for the church for 22 years.

Father Joseph Pierre Norman Connor was a prolific composer and the only Catholic priest to have a position of office with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Though he only lived to 54, he is credited with 180 compositions and potentially upward of 330 collaboration pieces. He inspired a number of notable persons such as Ed Sullivan, whose wedding he presided over, and sports legends like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Jack Dempsey.

As a priest, he served as the first New Jersey State Police Chaplain, he held a commission in the New Jersey State Guard and was a part of Our Lady of Lourdes Church.

To honor its 100th year and its first parochial vicar, Our Lady of Lourdes is hosting a concert featuring the talents of the renowned Les Elgart Orchestra Sept. 14.

“His history is truly amazing,” said Our Lady of Lourdes Pastor, Father James Ferry. “He was composing during the great swing era, and this year—our 100th anniversary-- is the right time to tell his unique story, celebrate his contributions to the parishes he served, and touch more people through his music.

Les Egart Orchestra is known for routinely playing Connor's beloved "When I Take My Sugar to Tea" and will play a number of selections from his works.

During his time as a priest and composer, Connor gave the royalties from his compositions back to the church or to help the poor. The music will serve as a tribute to his life and the beginnings of the church.

Tickets are $50 for general seating and may be purchased on the Our Lady of Lourdes website or by phone at 973-325-0110.

The church is located at One Eagle Rock Avenue. Doors for the event will open at 2:15 p.m. with the concert beginning at 3 p.m.

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