WEST FRANKFORT - Students of St. John's School, their parents and other members of the parish rocked the night away last weekend at the Knights of Columbus Hall as a part of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week.

The occasion was the last in an annual national weeklong series of events kicked off locally with a children's Mass followed by a parish brunch on the last Sunday in January. Throughout the week, students broke up the ordinary school day routine with crazy hat and crazy hair day, and gathered with parents and siblings on Wednesday night for Family Reading Night.

Friday ended the school week with visits from motivational speakers and Friday night's party provided by the Parents Group, where the parish was entertained by their very own Father Trevor Murry and his band.

The band, Father Trevor and the Little Flowers, was a huge treat for the students who got the opportunity to see their parish priest in a different light and reacted as they might toward a celebrated rock star.

Most of the band members had traveled to the performance from Belleville, where Murry, a native of Pinckneyville, served as assistant before being named pastor at St.

John's. His current duties also include serving as priest at Sacred Heart in Zeigler and St. Aloysius in Royalton.

"All the members of the band are parishioners at St. Teresa's Parish in Belleville, which is named for St. Teresa of the Little Flower," Murry said, explaining the unusual name for a band made up of adult men and women. "We started almost accidentally. We used to get together and practice music to be performed at church, and after practice, we'd stay around and start playing a lot of classic rock. We began playing at parish events like the parish picnic, and eventually we started playing at a jazz club once a month."

The 11 members of the group double on various instruments and are so versatile that they end up with three keyboard players, three guitarists, one drummer, one bass guitarist and five or six vocalists, and one saxophonist added for the evening.

Murry himself plays guitar, keyboard and mandolin and sings lead vocals. Although it's not unusual for them to please their audience by belting out classics, such as "I Will Survive," and "Proud Mary," Murry was caught off guard by the reception he and the band received from St. John's student body.

Students from the tiniest pre-school kids to the sophisticated eighth graders gathered on the perimeter of the dance floor to scream and cheer for their parish priest. Several held up signs that read, "We love you Father Trevor." On nearly every break, they swarmed around Murray, asking for autographs. Laughing, he obliged. "They never prepared me for this in the seminary," he joked at Mass on Sunday.

But in a more serious tone, he talked about why he felt the performance and the whole evening was such a hit. "This is what we wanted the band to be, just playing free events like this, so the parish could get together and have fun," Murry said. "I am pretty close to those kids. I teach seventh and eighth graders religion. I get to know them and joke around with them when they serve Mass through the week. I try to go to all their sporting events. I've gotten to be pretty good friends with all of them."

"The evening went really well," he added. "We couldn't believe how people danced. We've never had people dance when we played before," he laughed. "I've had some people say they haven't had fun like that in a long time. We were just tickled to death that they enjoyed it."

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