NEW YORK CITY -- It is an opportunity of a lifetime! A Waukesha native is an organist at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, and on Thursday and Friday, September 24th and 25th, he'll be playing the organ during papal services!
Michael Hey tells FOX6 News he's spent months preparing -- and he looks forward to the opportunity to share his passion with Pope Francis, as the pontiff continues his first official visit to the United States.
Hey is just 25 years old, but he's performed for dignitaries and alongside distinguished musicians.
However, his performances at the end of this week may mark his greatest accomplishments yet.
"I wouldn't say nervous is the word. Very excited. Definitely anxious," Hey said.
Hey will play the organ alongside an orchestra and choir as Pope Francis celebrates a vespers service on Thursday evening at St. Patrick's Cathedral. He'll play at Madison Square Garden on Friday evening, as Pope Francis celebrates Mass there.
FOX6 News spoke with Hey via Skype ahead of the big performances.
"Definitely in good spirits. Really excited for the events to come. Just really happy all around," Hey said.
Hey was raised in Waukesha, and honed his craft in Milwaukee. He attended Julliard in New York, and in January, landed his dream job at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
"It`s a labor of love. I do it because I love it and every day I wake up and I`m excited to go to work," Hey said.
Hey says he found out months ago he'd be performing for the pontiff.
"I just turned 25...and no pun intended, it was always just a far off pipe dream," Hey said.
Now, he has the chance to share his passion with millions across the country and world -- watching Pope Francis' visit to the United States.
"To partake in this event where he`s coming to America to speak to us -- whether or not you`re Catholic, it`s still a huge undertaking and I`m really happy to be part of this moment," Hey said.
Hey's mother traveled to New York City to be with her son during this exciting time.
He says he's not sure whether he'll have a chance to actually meet Pope Francis, but he's really proud the pontiff will be able to hear him play.