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Our Team

EXECUTIVE BOARD

PRESIDENT

Mary Ann Carr Wilson

 

Mary Ann Carr Wilson holds a B.M. and an M.M. from San Diego State University. Her post-graduate work has centered in the areas of vocal pedagogy and study with Gregorian chant masters in the United States and France.

 

Having served nine years as Music Director at St. Anne Catholic Church in San Diego, Mary Ann led adult and youth choirs that specialized in Gregorian chant and renaissance polyphony. It was there she developed the Chant Camp program, a week-long immersion in the liturgical catechesis and the study of chant, tailored to young people and adapted for Catholic schools as well.  Since the program launched in 2010, the Chant Camp has combined fun and faith formation at parishes and schools throughout the U.S.

 

Mary Ann also offers training courses for music teachers, choir directors, and Cantors to be able to lead their own camps and/or implement more sacred music into existing programs, most notably during the annual Sounds of Heaven summer conference in San Diego. She has led over fifty workshops and courses across the country with children and teens, adults, families, seminarians, and college students.

 

Believing that Gregorian chant uniquely fosters a sense of peace and joy that connects the whole person to God, Mary Ann makes it her mission to train others in this form of sung prayer so it may be brought to as many people as possible.

 

To this end, she founded the apostolate, Canticle, which received nonprofit 501(c)3 status in 2020. Mary Ann is delighted to serve on the faculty and board of the Church Musician Association of America, and as a consultant with the Benedict XVI Institute.

 

CHAIR

Ernest Pinamonte Grimm

 

Ernie Grimm serves as music director at Our Lady of the Rosary parish in San Diego. Along with fellow Canticle board member Mike Gruta, he co-leads the parish's Latin Schola, which is dedicated to restoring Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony to places of honor in the Mass. He sang tenor in the San Diego Opera chorus for 15 years. Though music is his true calling, Grimm has worked as a newspaper editor, a television news writer, and currently a construction project manager. He, his organist wife Mary, and their children reside in La Mesa, California.

 

VICE PRESIDENT 

Christopher Sawaya

 

Chris is a native San Diegan, and grew up at St. Patrick’s parish in North Park with his seven siblings and extended family. He has worked in the roofing industry for over 30 years, and is a San Diegan business owner. Chris is also active in several roofing trade associations.

Chris is married to Cecilia, with whom he shares eight children. For the past eight years, Chris and Cecilia have homeschooled their children, and it was during this time they were introduced to sacred music in the form of Gregorian chant and renaissance polyphony. Sacred music has become a large part of their family life, and a major influence on their children’s faith formation. Several of Chris’ children have been involved in the Canticle choirs, as both members and teachers.

Chris and his family are passionate about the dignity of the human person, and involved in pro-life activities, such as 40 Days for Life.


 

TREASURER

Edward Karrithi

 

Edward Karîithi currently works at the Autonomous Systems division of Northrop Grumman. Previously, Edward co-founded Global Coffee Trading and Njoga Coffee Inc. The companies import trade in coffee and coffee futures as well as regular coffee products with the finest pure Arabica coffee, some of which comes directly from his family’s farms in Kenya. 

Previously, Edward held Controller and CFO positions at LibertyStreet financial group, Nightingale Health Services, Inc., and Unified Financial Group. He has provided consulting services to various companies in the areas of auditing and financial processes. He has worked as an accountant at various levels in companies including CBIZ (CBZ) and Infosonics (IFON). 

He serves on the Board of Directors of Children of the Immaculate Heart, an anti-trafficking non-profit based in San Diego. He also serves on the Finance Council of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in San Diego. He is a former board member of the Goretti Group, a San Diego-based movement which promotes youth spirituality.

Edward was born and raised in Kenya, and moved to the United States to attend University. After he met his wife, he decided to stay in the U.S. He and his wife are blessed with five children, and live in San Marcos, CA.


 

SECRETARY

Kathleen Wilson

 

Kathleen is the Case Manager and Research Director at Interisk Limited, an Insurance Litigation Consulting firm, and has been with the company since 1992.

Kathleen grew up in Orange County, California with her six siblings. A graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree (Liberal Arts) in 1995.

Kathleen has volunteered in the past as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). As a CASA worker, she mentored a child in the group home system, attended bi-annual hearings at family court in order to advocate for her child’s interests, attended meetings with social workers, therapists and teachers, and submitted reports of recommendations to the court with respect to the child twice yearly.

A lifelong Catholic, Kathleen loves her Faith, and seeks to serve Christ by serving those around her.


 

MEMBER AT LARGE

Michael Gruta

 

Mike’s interest in sacred music began at St. Augustine High School San Diego in a schola cantorum — where he got his first glimpse into Gregorian chant from Fr. Harry Neely, OSA (RIP). He continued singing sacred polyphony and other choral works at Villanova University through his college years. After moving back to California, his spiritual life received a much-needed jumpstart serving as sacristan at his childhood parish apprenticing under his late father, and then in 2007 singing in the Latin choir at Our Lady of the Rosary Church under then-director Mary Ann Carr Wilson. Mike has since continued to serve as the choir’s program director. Alongside his wife and five children, Mike enjoys sharing his love of Jesus Christ and his Church through her thesaurus musicae sacrae; an effort nurtured by and aligned to the mission of Canticle.


 

MEMBER AT LARGE

Cassandra DeBellis

 

Ms. DeBellis is a professional cantor and an experienced church musician. For the past 30 years she has been actively participating in various church choirs, community choirs as well as singing as a cantor for many Catholic weddings and funerals. Ms. DeBellis also taught music at Saint Joseph Academy, in San Marcos, CA. There she developed a comprehensive TK-12th grade music curriculum based on the Classical teaching model. She established middle school choirs and greatly expanded the high school choir repertoire.  She incorporated sacred music and chant as a core standard within the curriculum, teaching music literacy and artistry based on the Canticle model. Ms. DeBellis is a wife and mother of five children. She is very excited and blessed to be part of the Canticle family and to share her deep love and passion for our sacred music traditions.

Advisory Board

Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone | Archbishop of San Francisco

 

Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka, DMA | Associate Professor of Music/Director of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University

 

Thomas McKenna | Founder and President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family

 

Pia de Solenni, SThD | Founder of MoralTheologian.com

 

William Mahrt, Ph.D. | Associate Professor of Music at Stanford University

 

Paula Brock | Chief Financial Officer of San Diego Zoo Global (Retired)

 

Anthony DeBellis | President/Owner of DeBellis Financial Services, Inc

 

Paul M. Jona. J.D. | Partner with LiMandri & Jona, LLP

 

Jean Cantu | Cantor, Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church in Tampa, FL

 

Alex Begin | Founder, Extraordinary Faith

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Learn more about Canticle's programs.

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