Melodies of love How Music and Worship United One Couple

Name(s): Adrian & Megan Soltys
Family (names/ages): Cecilia Claire/2 months
Pet(s) if any: Mozart/toy goldendoodle
Job Title(s):
Adrian – Director of Worship at the Parish Community of Saint Helen
Megan – Vocal Music Teacher, Choral Director, and Professional Musician

For Adrian

Adrian, tell us how you got your start as Director of Worship at St. Helen’s in Westfield?
I was working at another Catholic Church in Bergen County, but I was aware of the parish. A friend and colleague of mine was the music director at St. Helen at the time and submitted his resignation. He asked me if I might be interested in taking over. Initially, I did not have an interest, but I was amazed by the vibrancy and trailblazing spirit of the parish. I was interviewed by a search committee and by Bishop Michael (Fr. Michael at the time) and was offered the role as Director of Music. Later on, I transitioned to be responsible for all liturgy and worship a few years later.

Walk us through a regular day at St. Helen’s for you.
I typically take Mondays and Tuesdays off, but I spend the entire weekend at the church providing music for all liturgical celebrations. This includes Saturday at 5pm, Sunday at 8am, 10am, and 12pm, and baptisms at 1:30pm twice a month, followed by the 6pm mass with an hour rehearsal beforehand. Since we’re a large parish, there are sporadic weekday events that require music, along with funerals that occur on weekdays. From September to June, we have weekly choir rehearsals for both children and adults, and our band rehearses a few times a month as well. The rest of my time is usually spent preparing sheet music, recording vocal parts for the choir, attending staff meetings, or meeting with other parish members for various reasons. There’s always something to do, whether it’s maintaining instruments, preparing for funerals and weddings, or assisting people with their questions.

How has St. Helen’s evolved in the time you’ve been there?
Some in Westfield might remember our old church building. I began in February of 2018 when we still worshiped in our previous worship space. It had a stone exterior with a wooded interior motif. The church was constructed in the early 70s, during a period when many Catholic Churches were built in a ‘Frank Lloyd Wright, mid-century modern’ style following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. We then worshiped in a gym for a few years while our new church was being built. These are some of the physical evolutions of the parish, but it has also changed in other ways.
I have witnessed the church grow exponentially, particularly in outreach to younger families and young adults. We strive to provide high-quality liturgies with excellent homilies, music, and a welcoming atmosphere for our parishioners and those seeking a faith community. All of our programming is motivated by our mission statement: to Worship God, Serve Others, and Make Disciples.
We have been blessed with great leadership through Bishop Michael and now Monsignor Thomas Nydegger, who have been innovative, trailblazing pastors dedicated to serving the community and spreading the Gospel message of Jesus. I am amazed that a Catholic Church in 2024 has Sunday liturgies that are standing room only! We are doing something right and truly trying to build a special faith community here, open to all who are seeking a relationship with Jesus and others.

With my very sarcastic and dry delivery, Megan consistently stood out as the only choir member who laughed at my jokes while everyone else rolled their eyes.

Are there any upcoming events the community should know about?
Text ‘Helen’ to 908-860-8444 for updates about our parish, or visit Don’t miss out on the St. Helen Fest in fall 2024, our annual welcome back weekend! Also, mark your calendars for Vacation Bible School on June 24-28. Additionally, consider participating in service opportunities at the soup kitchen and beyond.
St. Helen’s is an integral part of your love story. Tell us about that!
I ‘inherited’ Megan’s presence in our music ministry as director. She had (and still has) a great voice and musicality, which impressed me, along with her beauty. A platonic friendship gradually evolved into something more after about a year of my starting to work at St. Helen. With my very sarcastic and dry delivery, Megan consistently stood out as the only choir member who laughed at my jokes while everyone else rolled their eyes. I must’ve been charming or cute enough for her to reciprocate feelings, and what began as some initial flirting and tequila shots eventually led to marriage and a baby 5 years later.
Megan, tell us how you got your start as a musician at St. Helen’s in Westfield?
I began at Saint Helen in January of 2017 as an alto section leader for the adult choir, Festival Chorale. The music director at the time, Fred Golz, posted about the position on the liturgical musicians’ Facebook page. I reached out, auditioned, and was offered the gig! We rehearsed on Wednesdays and sang every Sunday morning for Mass. Adrian took over as music director in January of 2018. Over the years, and particularly through the pandemic, my role expanded at Saint Helen. I began serving as a vocalist and guitarist in the worship band, and also took on the role of directing the Hummingbirds children’s choir.

Tell us about the various children’s music events you run!
I direct the Hummingbirds, the children’s choir at Saint Helen. The ensemble consists of approximately thirty children in grades three through seven. The Hummingbirds lead our congregation in song at several 8 am Sunday masses throughout the school year and also perform for our annual Christmas concert. Rehearsals are held on Wednesdays from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m.

St. Helen’s is an integral part of your love story. Tell us about that!
To add on to what Adrian said, St. Helen has become a very special place for us and our growing family. Our parish community has been nothing but supportive as our love story began to unravel, especially as we welcomed Cece into this world. We are so very blessed and excited to continue making new memories at our church home.

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