Twins share their passion for music, faith with parish communities
By Jeff Miller
Special to The Texas Catholic
When the identical St. Romain twins first came home from the hospital in Baton Rouge, La., in September 1984, their father immediately set up to play instrumental music in their bedroom 24/7. David St. Romain was certain that little Darnell and Darrell (that’s Dar-NELL and Duh-RELL) would benefit from the constant melodies.
To say the boys took to music is an understatement. On a foot-long toy piano given to them by their grandmother for their second birthday, they soon were playing what they heard on the radio. They were taking piano lessons as preschoolers and later added organ instruction. As high schoolers, they combined their love of music with a passion for their Catholic faith and played at churches across the area.
When Darnell was planning to study computer science in college and Darrell computer engineering, was David ever surprised when his boys both decided to instead pursue a degree in music and organ performance.
“Really? David asked. “Y’all are going to starve.”
Today, the 36-year-olds are doing well. Darnell has been the associate director of liturgical music at Prince of Peace parish in Plano since 2013. Darrell has been the director of music at Mary Immaculate parish in Farmers Branch since April 2017. They followed graduation from LSU in 2006 by earning multiple music-related master’s degrees from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and Meadows School of the Arts. They’re now candidates for doctorates of pastoral music from Perkins.
Darrell explained why music became a vocation: “It’s not that I actively chose it; it never left. It never stopped being an interest.”
“My vision was just to have this as enrichment because I know good things come out of playing music,” said David. He’s a retired petrochemical plant inspector still living in Baton Rouge with wife Darlene, a retired director of medical records. “In the same sense, when we started them in catechism, they were so into that, we couldn’t miss a Sunday. They brought me closer to the church.”
As Black men, the twins are also passionate about social justice. They participated last summer in a series of video “Conversations on Race” conducted by St. Michael United Methodist Church in Mesquite. Darnell noted that Prince of Peace’s pastor, Father Tom Cloherty, held a service of racial reconciliation.
“Race was not an issue in our congregation until George Floyd,” Darnell said. “All of a sudden, I had these questions from parishioners like, ‘Are you OK?’ ‘Yes, I’m OK because I’ve been Black all my life. You’re not OK because you saw what you saw on TV.’ ”
The brothers share an apartment in Richardson, where they remain competitive in a good way. When necessary, Darnell reminds Darrell that he’s the older twin by two minutes.
“The competition has just fueled us to always work hard at the craft,” Darnell said.
“It’s never been to outdo one another,” Darrell said. “It’s always to be the best person you can be.”