About the Director

Thomas DeFrancesco, director of music and liturgy, is a New York City-based music director, arranger, and pianist, who has performed in several Broadway, Off-Broadway, and local projects. He has enjoyed working with and arranging music for the cast of Sesame Street and their annual outreach program with Project Sunshine. Thomas holds a BA from Wagner College and serves on the music staff at The Third Street Music School Settlement.

About the Associate Director


Normand Gouin has served the Church as a pastoral musician and liturgist for over 24 years and has worked in parishes and other Catholic institutions throughout the country.  As an active and accomplished composer, he has been commissioned to write works for cathedrals, churches, and religious communities throughout the country. In 2015, his hymn “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom” written in collaboration with Rev. Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem, was selected as the official hymn of the World Meeting of Families, an event that marked Pope Francis’s first official visit to the United States.  Norm’s publishers include GIA Publications and MorningStar Music Publishers. He has been a contributing writer for the liturgy and music journal, the GIA Quarterly, as well as a workshop presenter for the National Pastoral Musicians Association. He has served on several diocesan liturgical commissions and has led workshops on liturgy and pastoral music throughout the country.  He holds degrees from The Catholic University of America and the University of Notre Dame.

About the Cantors

Robert Gordon-Brown

Joe Simmons is a nationally recognized leader in the cantor ministry as a clinician, convention speaker, and author. In addition to his ministry at Holy Cross-Saint John the Baptist, he serves as director of music and cantor for The Sunday Mass, a national broadcast of the Passionist Community on Freeform TV (formerly ABC Family) and In 2008, he was honored to serve as psalmist for the papal Mass in Yankee Stadium during Pope Benedict XVI’s pastoral visit to the United States. His recordings of inspirational music, Sudden Waves and Singing Out, are widely used in healing ministries. Website:

Kathryn Zimmer, soprano, is music director for the contemporary music Mass at Saint John the Baptist (Sunday, 5:15 p.m.). A native of rural Nebraska, Kathryn holds a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a BFA in Music Performance from the University of Nebraska. A versatile performer, she lends classical music in performing and organizing the annual concert to benefit the parish food pantries, as well as folk and popular music in recording and performing live with her band.  She has released five collections of her own compositions in this folk/pop style, which can be found on her website.