Dr. Mary Jane Ballou – “Sacred Music in the Secular Sphere: Can Beauty Lead to the Good and the True?”
In 2014, a Pew Center survey identified 22.8% of Americans as religiously “unaffiliated.” Another survey determined that ten percent of Americans are former Roman Catholics. This presentation will examines the extent to which presentations of the Church’s tradition of sacred music might awaken or in the case of former Catholics reawaken, interest in the message of the Christian faith and the Roman Catholic Church.
Gregorian Chant has periodic surges of popularity on the classical music charts. Is there a way in which non-Catholics can find their way from an emotional and aesthetic appreciation to inquiry about its history and the environment that gave it birth?
For nearly ten years, Mary Jane Ballou has produced and hosted a weekly radio program on a college station that mixes Gregorian, Russian, and Anglican chant into programming of Renaissance song and dance music. The music of Gorecki, Part, MacMillan, and other contemporary composers is also included. Specific works are prefaced by a brief introduction of their text and compositional context.
In addition to a review of this specific format, Dr. Ballou will offer suggestions for options that will take our musical treasures outside the confines of the church building from flash mobs to internet and broadcast media. Courage, perseverance, and imagination can help us find ways to present our living heritage in a style of non-coercive invitation and evangelization. The presentation will also touch on the issue of historical beauty and present realities in church music.
Dr. Francis Brancaleone – “Georgia Stevens, R.S.C.J., Indefatigable Educator and the Pius X School of Liturgical Music”
This lecture offers a study of the life, personality and influence of Mother Georgia Stevens, R.S.C.J., in the development of music teacher education at the college and primary levels. Stevens and Justine Ward founded the Pius X School in 1916 but their relationship dissolved in 1931. During the early years, the “Ward Method” was the primary teaching tool. Under Stevens’ 30 year’s direction, the School, as part of Manhattanville College, grew into an internationally recognized department as she developed her own method.
Thousands of clergy were trained in Liturgical Music at Manhattanville and in its extension programs and spread its influence as they went out to teach. We find Stevens’ mission in the Teacher’s Manuals for Books I-III and IV-VI of her “Tone and Rhythm Series.” “The entire work is dedicated to children. If it opens their souls to the joy of music and if it prepares them for active participation in the Liturgy, we shall rejoice . . . .” And “The books are written to teach the teacher as much as the pupil.” Youngsters were given basic education in sight-singing, ear training, improvisation, composition, vocal technique and Gregorian Chant.
At the College, Stevens developed a program of foundational musical skills in which students gained proficiency in Liturgical and Secular Music through courses in Gregorian chant, polyphony, theory, sight-reading, harmony, composition, counterpoint and pedagogy. The general level of Catholic church musicians’ skills was greatly improved through this training. Mother Stevens’ influence was felt in American Catholic musical education up to and beyond Vatican II.
Heitor Caballero – “Sacred Music in Latin America, Rediscovering a Treasure”
It was perhaps in Cuzco, Peru, in the early part of the 17th century that the Franciscan Friar Juan Perez Bocanegra composed the first known polyphonic work in the Americas, a hymn to the Virgin Mary today known as the “Hanac Pachap”
The “Hanac Pachap” was not an anomaly, but rather the norm. Several original compositions, Gregorian Chant treatises, and works by the European and Latin American masters of polyphony have been, and are still found, in the cathedral archives in Latin America.
This fact is the result of an evangelization where the culture is transformed by catholicism while keeping its unique identity. From this time forward both catholicism and a strong cultural identity have mutually enriched each other. Liturgical music and traditional devotional music have been a fundamental part of this process.
Pius XII’s remarks about this type of evangelization is described best when he says “when the Catholic Church sent preachers of the Gospel into lands not yet illumined by the light of faith, it took care to bring into those countries, along with the sacred liturgical rites, musical compositions, among which were the Gregorian melodies. It did this so that the people who were to be converted might be more easily led to accept the truths of the Christian religion by the attractiveness of these melodies.”
This lecture intends to explore some of the recently re-discovered historical treasures of liturgical music in Latin America. They are at the heart of a beautiful enrichment of Catholic identity that has come to define the new world.
Mary Ann Carr Wilson – “Chant Camp for Parishes”
A fun and formative way to develop and maintain a youth choir, this presentation discusses how a week-long summer youth program which focuses on Gregorian chant can provide liturgical catechesis, foster Catholic identity, assist in music literacy, and assist in developing a sacred music program, particularly amongst the youth of a parish. A comparative review of three parish camps over a period of five years will be offered. Musical instruction, repertoire adaptability, and possible progression of such a program will be covered, as will challenges of administrative tasks and volunteer management. I will discuss demonstrable areas of benefit to each parish following the chant camps in the areas of: building sacred music programs, including but not limited to youth choirs; engaging Catholic youth through participation in authentic, timeless, and universal sacred music; moving towards a deeper restoration of sung liturgy and fulfillment of the goals of the Second Vatican Council with regard to sacred music.
Fr. Richard Cipolla – “The Pastoral Care of Musicians”
Not much has ever been written or talked concerning the need for pastoral care of the parish director of music and other parish musicians. Probably this is the case because most pastors take the attitude that the parish musicians are just part of the paid assistants in the parish who have a certain expertise, and therefore it is assumed that their duties will be carried out without any need for pastoral care per se. Another part of the problem is that most Catholic pastors have little or no knowledge of music in general and specifically of Church music, with the result that there is a reluctance to speak about things to parish musicians of which the pastor has no first-hand knowledge. And yet, the role of the parish musician goes far beyond just supplying adequate music for the Mass and other liturgical celebrations. The documents of the Second Vatican Council make clear that music is not something added onto to the Mass; church music is an integral part of the spiritual life of the parish.
Just as the pastor is responsible for the pastoral care of his fellow priests in the rectory, and of his parishioners—the cure of their souls—so is he responsible for the spiritual well-being of the parish musician. In order to do so, the pastor must be conversant with and knowledgeable about both what the musician does and how he does it, and also knowledgeable about the peculiar areas of stress and difficulties that pertain to the vocation of a parish musician. To do this, the pastor must have a clear vision of the goals and purpose of the parish music program. He must see the music program as fulfilling a significant part of the spiritual needs of the parish. He must then be able to be a real support to the parish musician, especially at those critical times when there is conflict within the parish.
Dr. Jennifer Donelson – “Sacred Music Renewal Fifty Years after Musicam Sacram”
The Instruction on music in the liturgy, Musicam Sacram, was issued fifty years ago on March 5, 1967. Pope Francis recently addressed a gathering of church musicians at a conference commemorating this anniversary, highlighting a number of ways in which the document speaks to sacred music in our time. Drawing on a few of the points highlighted by the pope, this presentation will discuss musical roles in the sacred liturgy and the notion of musical excellence, relating the words of the Holy Father to the interaction between sacred music, pastoral ministry, and religious education.
Fr. David Friel – “Is Beauty Subjective? Identifying the Criteria of Beauty”
It is commonly held that beauty exists in the eye of the beholder and is therefore a subjective quality. True beauty, however, is a transcendental property, touching upon the eternal and reflecting aesthetic criteria. Through an approach that is both philosophical and theological, these criteria will be established and shown to be a necessary part of human experience.
This study will rely on the thought of Jacques Maritain, Dietrich Von Hildebrand, and St. John Paul II. Attention will further be given to identifying the “lost center” lamented by Hans Sedlmayr. The aesthetics of beauty will then be applied to Gregorian chant as sacred music par excellence.
Raymond Henderson – “Pastoral Implications of Vernacular Chant: The Word of God Alive in Song”
In 2004, Pierre Dupont, Abbot of Solesmes, in an address given in Rome exhorts us: “Today, we measure the thirst of our communities for a liturgical music deserving of its name. Why not ask Gregorian chant to reveal its secret in the languages and in the cultures of our time?”
For many centuries, Gregorian chant has suffered under the misnomer “plain song.”
The large body of Gregorian repertoire (especially the antiphons of the Mass and Divine Office) could possibly be the most expressive vocal music ever composed. Corruptions over the last millennia (e.g., ascetic monastic simplifications, the tragic loss of the oral tradition, the development of musical notation and harmony, etc.) have reduced our understanding of Gregorian chant to a mere shadow of its early beginnings. The revival of Latin chant has been in the process of slow re-discovery over the last century and a half. New ground is finally now being broken (50 years after Vatican II’s directive) in the creation of legitimate vernacular chant adaptations.
I will endeavor to outline the process of adapting Latin chant into contemporary English as taught and practiced by Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB (St. Meinrad Archabbey):
- Comparing the inherent meter of the Latin text and its English counterpart (anacrusis/crusis/metacrusis)
- Reducing the original melody in a Schenkerian-like analysis delineating structure pitches from melodic ornaments (while retaining the original modality with regard to structure pitches)
- Adapting the English phrases into natural rhetorical “thought units”
- Adapting both the melodic ornamentation as closely as possible to the correct words as well as the English tonic word endings of phrases and sentences which rarely occur in Latin.
- Observing that a melodic ascent implies textual accentuation
- Maintaining the melodic “arch”
I will then employ a series of musical examples of various English antiphon adaptations of Fr. Columba in order to demonstrate the extraordinary expressiveness in the “mechanics or tools” of Gregorian composition (I will use as many as time will permit, including the following):
- Oportet te (the power and expressiveness of the rhetorical delay)
- Passer invenit, Dixit Dominus (melodic/ programmatic word painting)
- Haec dies (ornament as textual anticipation and accent, the exuberant “jubilus”)
- Comedite pinguia (Modality as visceral mood creator)
- Christus factus est (employing all of the above devices)
The unique “marriage” of Gregorian melody to its text is expressive of much more than Catholic liturgical or cultural identity. This patrimony will reach its fullest power in the comprehension of the (vernacular)text by the faithful, expressing the deepest meaning of its scriptural sources made ever more succinct by a myriad of composers over many centuries of contemplation.
Dr. Aaron James – “Sacred Music in Crisis: The École Niedermeyer and the Roots of Modern Chant Accompaniment”
Parisian church musicians around 1830 faced a phalanx of related problems that are uncomfortably familiar to contemporary American Catholics: limited resources for music programs, low standards of musical training and performance in many parishes, disagreements over whether chant and polyphony or contemporary popular music should be heard at Mass, and ongoing tensions between Church and state. For many contemporary critics, the state of the Church’s worship constituted a full-fledged musical and liturgical crisis, and cause for despair over the future of French church music. It was in this context that the Swiss composer Louis Niedermeyer founded his “École de musique religieuse classique,” dedicated to the revival of the treasury of historic sacred music in Paris.
This presentation traces the early history of the École Niedermeyer and the musical revival that it launched, with special emphasis on Niedermeyer’s most famous innovation: a new system of chant accompaniment whose basic principles continue to be used by modern organists. Niedermeyer and his circle succeeded not only in reviving a stagnant local tradition of church music, but also in shaping the development of the Church’s broader musical tradition. This episode in history can thus provide a valuable model for contemporary Catholics seeking a renewal of their own musical traditions.
Fr. Bryan W. Jerabek, J.C.L.– “Responding to Aparecida’s Call for Cultural Enrichment: A Pastor’s Reflection on Hispanic Liturgical Ministry”
The Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of the Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) met at Aparecida, Brazil in 2007, and produced a lengthy “concluding document”. This document is now being used by many of the bishops in Spanish-speaking Latin American dioceses and bishops’ conferences and has been held in very high esteem even by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Although its focus on liturgy is rather minimal (in proportion to the entire document), and deals mostly with questions of inculturation, it does contain one particularly invaluable (and likely overlooked) indication:
“It is crucial that liturgical celebrations incorporate into their expressions artistic elements that can transform and prepare the assembly for the encounter with Christ. Appreciating the spaces of the existing culture, including the church buildings themselves, is an essential task for evangelizing culture. Along these lines, the creation of Catholic cultural centers should be encouraged. They are especially needed in the poorest areas, where access to culture and augmenting respect for the human is all the more urgent.” (Para. 500)
This paper will consider ways to respond to Aparecida’s call within the context of common Hispanic ministry environments in the United States, with all of their diversity—and often, lack of resources.
Fr. Robert Johansen – “Chant as Sung Theology: Pius X, Pop Culture, and Realized Participation”
Pius X famously called for partecipazione attiva on the part of the Christian faithful, and he also called for the restoration of Gregorian Chant. The juxtaposition of these two prescriptions is not a coincidence. Pius X saw the restoration of Chant as a necessary precondition for the full participation of the faithful in the Church’s liturgy. Was Pius X’s call for the restoration of Chant only a historically or culturally conditioned initiative? No, this was not a merely functional, but a theological prescription: grounded in theological principles and having theological implications. When we sing at the liturgy, or sing the liturgy, we are giving sung voice to our theology. Thus, what we sing matters. Not any music of the moment, but Chant and the forms developed from it, will most fully realize our liturgical participation. The musicians that took up Pius X’s call in the Liturgical Movement understood this, both implicitly and explicitly. They developed not only practical, but theological foundations for the work that continues today. Musicians and clergy today need a fuller appreciation and appropriation of the Pian theological principles and their subsequent development. Such appropriation and continued development will ground our own thought and praxis today, and will provide the tools we need to break free of the constraints of our own dominant culture, and fully realize the object of liturgical participation: the extension of the salvific work of Christ into the world.
Lisa Knutson – “The Parish Youth Orchestra and Conservatory For a Diverse Neighborhood”
This presentation will provide a look at our Buela Youth Orchestra, Hispanic Ministry in Minnesota, and other examples. We will explore how to reach diverse communities within the parish boundaries with invitations to study music, especially those without transportation or income for private study.
Alexis Kutarna – “The Song of Heaven: Mystagogical Catechesis and Sacred Music”
How does sacred music make present and anticipate the song of heaven? Through perceptible signs, we are able to catch a glimpse of the glory of God, and in particular, the sacramental sign of liturgical music points towards heaven making present the song of the Trinity and the choirs of angels. Our work as musicians when we sing the liturgy is to image and “audiate” heaven. In this musical offering, in uniting ourselves with the offering of Christ, we allow our very selves to be transformed by these holy mysteries.
How do we invite the faithful to enter into a deeper understanding of the very act in which they are participating? Mystagogical catechesis is a process of formation that leads to a deeper understanding of the mysteries being celebrated by proceeding from the sign to the thing signified, from the visible to the invisible, or, in the case of sacred music, the audible to the inaudible.
This presentation began as a series of talks exploring the nature of music as a sacramental sign. It will focus on music and heaven, and provide practical suggestions to lead choir members and all of the faithful to a deeper understand of the sacramental significance of music in the Liturgy.
Frs. Robin Kwan and Kevin Mann, SJC – “Communicating the Spirit of Gregorian Chant”
This presentation will aim to illustrate the role of Gregorian chant in the liturgical life of the Church as well as the practical considerations involved in introducing and developing its use in different communities of worship, ie: parish, grammar school, seminary, and religious house. We will give a general outline of the intellectual, technical, and spiritual formation for the clergy, chant schola, and the congregation in the body and spirit of Gregorian chant. Then, drawing from our personal experience of liturgical formation as religious of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, we will describe the liturgical environment at St. John Cantius Parish, its impact on the religious and the lay faithful, and how we have set about sharing this liturgical experience, of which Gregorian Chant is a significant element. Common challenges in communicating the spirit of Gregorian chant will also be addressed.
Dr. Ann Labounsky – “Sacred Music at Boys Town”
Beginning with a short history of Boys Town, this presentation will focus on the work of Fr. Francis Schmitt and the development of the choir, noting especially how sacred music changed the lives of the boys and shaped the life of the community at Boys Town. We will also discuss the famous summer music programs held at Boys Town and the eventual downfall of the sacred music program, leading to the collection of sacred music being housed at Duquesne University.
Mark Langley – “Building a School of Singers: The Schola Cantorum as an Integral Part of the Catholic School”
Instruction of students in sacred music is a task that uniquely belongs to the Catholic school. It is not only consistent with the intellectual mission of the school but is also an integral part of the formation of the Catholic student, which instruction is ultimately ordered to the fitting worship of God. Drawing on over twenty-five years of experience in Catholic education as a headmaster, dean, teacher, organist, and choral conductor, the presenter will argue that such instruction is not only consistent with the intellectual mission of the Catholic school but is a necessary step in the restoration of sacred music.
Nicholas Lemme – “A Practical Perspective in Starting an After school Children’s Choir Program”
First attempts at worthy projects rarely contain all of the elements for success. This rings true when it comes to beginning a healthy children’s choir program. Practical reflections of a nascent program may prove helpful in shortening the learning curve for any of those who feel called to begin a program at the parish or even diocesan level.
Beginning with a weeklong sacred music camp which then transitions into weekly classes throughout the school year has proven to be a successful model. Yet there are other things to consider. One should have a clear objective of educating the whole child through the medium of music. Additionally, one should foster a formation in the liturgy that gives glory to God, sanctifying and edifying the faithful through sacred, beautiful, and universal music. One also cannot overlook the significance of pastors and parents who share in the same educative goals.
Finally, pedagogical approaches, such as the Ward Method, along with an emphasis on vocal tone, artistry, music literacy, and truly sacred and artful repertoire are of great import.
Catechesis teaches the truths of our faith. Let our choral programs be vessels of our children’s formation where they learn to express the beauty of the faith. Our children are our choirs of tomorrow, the voices that will carry on the rich tradition and great “inestimable” treasure that is the Church’s sacred music for ages to come.
Mary Catherine Levri – “A Labor of Love and the Holy Spirit – Sacred Music at the University of Notre Dame”
The University of Notre Dame looms large in the history of Catholicism in the United States. Most frequently associated with its historic football program, and later, its reputation for controversy in its relationship with the Magisterium, Notre Dame has only recently—in the past thirteen years—established and developed an official academic department of sacred music that forms organists, vocalists, and choral conductors for professional work in the Church. This official department, however, has only finally put a title on a project that has been going on for a number of decades at the University.
This presentation will give an account of the quieter history of sacred music at the University of Notre Dame. It will focus on a number of great teachers and musicians who developed small but excellent programs of sacred music in both the music department and at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus. Special attention will be given to the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, a choral group of little renown but of very special importance to the campus liturgical life. This account will conclude with a report of the current state of sacred music at Notre Dame and a reflection on the work done by the rising leaders on campus who have been formed by the Second Vatican Council and the efforts of the reform of the reform.
Dr. William Mahrt – “Dynamic Parallelism in Gregorian Chant”
The poetry of the psalms has neither rhyme nor meter; rather its poetry consists of parallelismus membrorum, in which each line of the psalm is constituted by two parallel statements, usually grammatically complete and complementary in one way or another. These have usually been considered as equal statements. However, Robert Alter, in The Art of Biblical Poetry, has challenged this equality, showing rather, that there is a dynamic relation between the two members of the psalm verse. Often the second exceeds the first with greater force.
Parallelism has often been pointed out in Gregorian chant, particularly in the verses of the psalms chanted in the Divine Office. These are chanted to “psalm tones,” formulaic melodies that set each line to the same formula. But when the discrete melodies of the chant are considered, the dynamic parallelism can be seen as the foundation for an even more dynamic relation between the two parts of the verse. Several examples of such melodies will be sung, showing the various ways that the “parallel” statements purposefuly differ. This can be accomplished by distinctions of pitch, melodic contour, or melismatic elaboration. Notation will be provided for the pieces, but very little musical preparation will be required to observe the dynamism of the melodies.
Dr. Crista Miller – Recital: “Prophetic Voice: Gregorian Chant as Cry in Our Time” and Lecture: “Prophetic Voice: Gregorian Chant in Contexto Historico”
This recital is a companion to the lecture “Prophetic Voice: Gregorian Chant in Contexto Historico.” While the lecture focuses on chant use and Hispanic liturgy at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, this program is the prophet’s contemporary cry via art music. Gregorian chant makes motivic statements of cultural identity, postnational melding, and resistance to oppression. Houstonian Daniel Knaggs, an emerging composer and church musician, and Lebanese-Parisian Naji Hakim both turn to Gregorian chant as faith statements in early compositions. Arizona composer Pamela Decker melds Latin influences with the familiar. Petr Eben famously inserts Salve Regina in a “secular” work to secretly protest religious oppression. This is the siren call for our time.
The Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is a multi-lingual parish in a rapidly-growing metropolitan area in the Southwestern United States. For more than a decade, Gregorian chant and polyphony have been established as a parish tradition via various strategies. Gregorian chant ordinaries and Latin are unifiers between three language communities (English, Spanish, Vietnamese). For children, music instruction is included in CCE. A formal children’s choir is Latin chant-based. All parishioners share in the heritage of sacred music.
Spanish-language liturgies are growing nationwide. Music for first, second, and third generation Spanish-speakers is seen as a challenge. The USCCB’s 1986 Prophetic Voices: Document on the Process of the III Encuentro Nacional Hispano de Pastoral called for leadership and education. Specific methods to accomplish these goals musically are left to the derivation of the reader in the 1987 National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry.
In the coming years, how will educators and pastoral musicians use sacred music from abroad and from this continent in Spanish liturgies? In 2016, some polyphony of the Americas is known, and some Propers have been translated. More commonly, Spanish liturgies employ translations of “English” hymns, and use newly-composed “traditional” folk music. But what did Spanish-speaking Catholics sing and play in Houston historically? Unlike the Mission Churches of New Mexico, California, and San Antonio, Houston’s liturgies grew organically: Twentieth-century immigration patterns created several Mexican National Churches, most located within a few miles of the Co-Cathedral.
James Monti – “A Sense of “Solemnity” in the Sacred Liturgy as a means of Catechesis and Evangelization”
One of the key elements of “the sense of the sacred” is a spirit of “solemnity”, a sense of seriousness, awe and reverence in the presence of God and in our worship of Him. The intent of this presentation will be to show first of all why solemnity is essential to the sacred liturgy. Turning then to the question of how a sense of solemnity is achieved, the role of the senses will be explained, and in particular, the necessity that what the eyes see at the altar and what the ears hear from the choir must convey a common message that what is taking place, and what we are doing, is serious and deserving of the utmost reverence. Examples of liturgical solemnity drawn from the Middle Ages and the Baroque Era will be cited, with their ongoing relevance explained. The presentation will then turn to the efficacy of solemnity as a “teaching tool,” an all-engaging “audiovisual” means of communicating to the faithful a deeper understanding of the sacred liturgy and in the realm of evangelization a powerful invitation to those not yet of our faith, appealing to their God-given sense of beauty. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of why Gregorian chant is so supremely fitted to the task of imparting a spirit of solemnity to the sacred liturgy, and thus an effective means of catechesis and evangelization.
Joel Morehouse – “Musical Literacy and Liturgy”
What is musical literacy, and to what extent does the Sacred Liturgy require it? In what way did liturgical reforms from Pope Pius X to the Second Vatican Council envision a more musically literate liturgical future? How is the ability to read, sing, and understand music correlated to growth in parish music programs? What musical goals are accessible with musical literacy as it currently stands? What steps can a parish or diocese take to improve musical and liturgical literacy? Using definitions of literacy based in current research journals to define musical literacy, quotes from ecclesiastical documents on liturgy, and surveys/interviews of parish music directors, the author demonstrates that musical literacy is essential for growth in parish music programs and ultimately for the fulfillment of the liturgical norms as understood in ecclesiastical documents. The author then offers a curriculum-based approach—which is also a Gregorian-Chant-based approach—and a variety of solutions to promote musical literacy at the parish, school, and diocesan level.
Dr. Jared Ostermann – “A Necessary or Integral Choir: Moving Parish Ensembles from Peripheral to Essential Liturgical Roles”
Catholic music directors and pastors often find inspiration and encouragement in the Second Vatican Council’s pronouncement that sacred music is “a treasure of inestimable value.” Unfortunately, this famous declaration from Sacrosanctum Concilium often overshadows the document’s very next sentence: “The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.” This second statement provides the crucial reminder that sacred music is valuable chiefly because of its liturgical context and role. Thus, sacred musicians must consider not only aesthetic standards; but the integration of music with liturgical texts and actions as well. The Catholic choir, with its repertoire of technically-advanced texted music, stands at the forefront of this ritual-musical interaction. When musical judgments are not balanced by liturgical considerations, even highly-skilled ensembles can be relegated to the liturgical periphery; whether in non-liturgical singing (concerts, and, technically speaking, preludes and postludes), token statements (e.g. short antiphons before or after a hymn), or—most commonly—a weekly selection of “other appropriate songs” unrelated to the Proper texts. At times, aesthetic triumph can disguise a lack of authentic improvement in liturgical music. This presentation, in an attempt to provide healthier models for parish musical renewal, will examine ways in which the choir can begin playing a more essential, fully-integrated liturgical role. Practical examples will be drawn from the unique challenges and opportunities encountered by the three primary ensembles at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Sioux Falls, SD.
Dr. Kurt Poterack – “Gregorian Chant, the Liturgy, and American Catholic Culture”
The promotion of Gregorian chant, both for schola and congregation will be viewed through the presenter’s experiences in parishes and at a college chapel. The lights and shadows, successes and failures will be enumerated with helpful tips and advice for those trying to implement the music of the Roman Rite into a parish’s music program.
In particular the “low Mass culture” of American Catholicism, its roots in the Middle Ages, the Irish-American experience, and consumer culture will be explored. The way that American Catholics view the Mass, their participation in it, and their relationship with culture and music will be explicated as underpinnings for understanding what is possible, what is not, and how to make the best of a situation.
Dr. Ronald Prowse – “The Palestrina Institute, Past Glory and Future Hope”
In 1940 Archbishop Mooney, in response to the Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini of Pope St. Pius X, gave his full support to the establishment of the Palestrina Foundation, which, in turn, opened a school of sacred music for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Thus, in 1943 the Palestrina Institute of Ecclesiastical Music was founded to teach sacred music for liturgy according to the mind of the Church.
The Palestrina Institute accepted Junior High School students and High School Students into their curriculum. The Grammar School Class studied piano, voice, music appreciation, chant and ceremonies. The Advanced High School Class studied organ, advanced harmony, voice, Gregorian Chant, and Liturgy. Tuition was $50.00 per year in 1943, $25 at the beginning of each semester. In 1943 Classes were held at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Seminary on Monday after 4:00 p.m. and Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
The Palestrina Institute was active from 1943 until it closed it’s doors in 1969. Since that time, the Archdiocese of Detroit has had nothing comparable for the instruction of our youth in sacred music. Recently, however, the Academy of Sacred Music, established by Archbishop Allen Vigneron, has been working hard to develop ideas to help parishes in the Diocese and reinvigorate an appreciation for sacred music according to the mind of the Church. A special interest of the Academy, concerning the formation of our youth in the area of sacred music, looks promising and hopes are high that the efforts of the Academy will bear fruit for the future of The Archdiocese of Detroit.
Laurence Rosania – “The Role of Beauty and Chant in Spiritual Formation”
The experience of beauty nourishes our spiritual life and helps it expand beyond self-centered perspective: profound spiritual realization can be accomplished in encounters with the beautiful. The presentation will consider the art and beauty of chant as a unique pathway to our own spiritual formation and that of our community.
This presentation will draw on my study with Dom D. Saulnier of Solesmes, as well as my thesis from Fordham GSRRE—“On the Role of Beauty in the Spiritual Life.” Chant affords us a unique opportunity because it is an art completely at the service of the sacred liturgy. In Reflections of the Spirituality of Gregorian Chant, Dom J. Hourlier writes, “Chant is a particularly effective instrument for touching the ‘ear of our heart ’. . . a most excellent means for attaining God.”
The presentation will reflect on the value not only of hearing chant, but singing it, wherein we find the virtue of careful listening to melody, text, silence, and to our neighbors singing. This careful listening is the first step to spiritual progress. Pope John Paul II, in Letter to Artists, writes “true beauty . . . as a glimmer of the spirit of God, will transform matter, opening the human soul to the sense of the eternal . . . . Humanity looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny.”
The beauty of chant can open the soul of Catholic and non-Catholic alike: together we will explore this transformative experience of beauty for ourselves and our Church.
Jonathan Ryan – “Training Choristers according to the English Cathedral Tradition and Royal School of Church Music”
My workshop will present and discuss the key elements that make training children’s voices successful in the English cathedral tradition and according to the closely associated Royal School of Church Music (RSCM). Although much of this tradition is within the Anglican Communion, a practical application of how this proven method can benefit Catholic churches will be emphasized. Areas discussed will include: overall structure, ways older choristers serve as a model to younger choristers, vocal development, benefits in rehearsal, involvement of parents, human and religious formation, and resources.
Deacon Edward Schaefer – “The Dollars and Sense of Catholic Education”
Catholic higher education has struggled in recent decades. First, it is built on a financial model that is unsustainable. Second, in order to keep this unsustainable model afloat, Catholic institutions have dramatically increased enrollments and tuition, and to keep the enrollments high, they have softened, if not completely jettisoned, their Catholic identity and mission.
This session will look at an alternative financing model that is being implemented to start a new college that will open in 2019 in order to serve traditional Catholics. It will be “Faithful, Affordable, and Traditional,” and chant and the musical treasury of the Church will be an integral part of its daily routine.
The session will examine the topic from the perspective of higher education, but the principles will be applicable to all levels or to anyone, such as music directors, with the responsibilities of running a program that remains faithful to its Catholic identity and financially viable.
Dr. Samuel A. Schmitt – “Beautiful and Universal: Gregorian Chant as a Unifying Force in Multiethnic Parishes”
Pastors of multiethnic parishes face a daunting challenge: to keep various groups in the parish united despite the inevitable differences in language and culture. This task is particularly important with regard to the liturgy. The common “tiered” model of worship, with each group having mass and other services in their own languages and singing their own music, may serve each group individually, but fails to unify the parish. This, in turn, undermines the parishioners’ sense of their unity with the universal church. Differences in the style and repertoire of music used at these liturgies only exacerbate this problem.
A powerful tool to bring about unity is the music that makes the Roman Rite Roman, and what the Church has long recommended to all of her children in the praise of God: Gregorian chant sung by choir, clergy, and congregation. A common repertoire of chant can serve as a potent sign that the Church’s liturgy and the beauty proper to it does not belong to any particular ethnic or language group but to the entire Church. This is especially tangible when the whole parish worships together using a common language during the sacred Triduum and other special liturgies.
Drawing upon the author’s work in a parish with significant populations of Spanish, Haitian, and Vietnamese in addition to English speakers, this paper will discuss both the rationale for the extensive use of Gregorian chant in such parishes and how chant has been successful in bringing various language groups together. It will also offer practical guidelines on repertoire and ways in which the parish can be led to appreciate the beauty and value of chant as prayer in the context of the liturgy.
Fr. Christopher Smith – “Liturgical Formation in Catholic Schools”
Father Smith will examine the possibilities and challenges for liturgical formation in Catholic schools and religious education programs. We will look at a suggested program for implementation of liturgical and musical catechesis.
Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P. – “Dominican Chant in Pastoral Ministry”
The Order of Preachers possess a noble patrimony of chants and liturgical rites that originated in the 13th century. Although the semi-monastic character of the Dominican liturgy is sometimes perceived as being in tension with the parochial apostolate that Dominicans have engaged in since the beginning of the 19th century, this paper proposes that the Dominican chant tradition is an important font for Dominican friars to draw on in their pastoral ministry. I will first give a brief account of the link between the liturgy of Dominican friars and their preaching ministry from the middle ages through the modern period. I will then articulate ways in which elements of the Dominican chant tradition can be incorporated into the contemporary Roman rite in parochial settings. As a concrete example, I will describe the program that I am helping to develop at the Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena in Manhattan. Beginning this year, we have begun to incorporate Dominican chant in both the original Latin and in vernacular adaptations at Mass and Vespers. I will describe the practical and technical aspects of the approach we are developing, as well as the pastoral and educational program we have put in place to help the parishioners understand and participate more deeply in our parish liturgy. Although my paper focuses on the Dominican chant tradition, the overall approach may be helpful for those who wish to draw on the broader Gregorian chant tradition in the contemporary liturgy.
Dr. Jay Swain – “Gregorian Chant in a Small Rural Parish”
This workshop describes the various usages of plainchant in the rural parish of St. Malachy’s in Sherburne, New York. The parish has two weekend liturgies, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, with an average total attendance of about 275. The presentation part of the workshop will give participants a chance to hear the congregation at St. Malachy’s and describe the following usages of plainchant: plainchant ordinaries: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei; some plainchant propers, sung by the celebrant; the weekly responsorial psalm; hymns and other congregational plainchants. In addition the presenter will introduce the following topics: roles of congregation and choir; the liturgical year; Latin or English?; what succeeds best and why; advantages of plainchant in a rural parish; goals for the future.
Fr. Jon Tveit – “A Pastoral Plan for Parochial Music”
Our last two popes have spoken of the importance of the via pulchritudinis in our Church today. In a time when few can be rationally argued into faith, the beauty of liturgical music can lead to conversion. My own faith is proof positive of this. Beautiful sacred music is, therefore, a necessary part of the New Evangelization.
As a life-long church musician, I have been involved with a number of parish choirs. My talk will detail my experiences in three of them. The first, a fairly typical American parish choir. The second, a long-standing choir with an impressive repertoire of polyphony. The third, a recently-formed schola of total beginners with success in chant and some polyphony.
Based upon these experiences, my talk will detail a program for the future of a typical American parish choir. I hope to show what kind of success can be reasonably expected from a parish choir with no prior experience of chant or sacred polyphony. All this, naturally, from a priest’s perspective rather than that of a professional musician. What I present is the type of program I would encourage my music director to introduce gradually.
Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth – “Forthcoming English Translations of Hymnody of the Liturgy of the Hours”
In preparation for the revised edition of the Liturgy of the Hours envisaged by the USCCB, ICEL has undertaken the translation of the full corpus of hymnody found in the Liturgia Horarum. In addition to the preparation of the English translation of the hymns, ICEL is also proposing musical settings of the original chant melodies as found in the Solesmes edition of the Liber Hymnarius, with an additional suggestion of a standard metric hymn melody as an alternative in each case.
In my paper, I shall present the criteria that have informed the production of the hymn translations and illustrate their chant settings with musical examples. I shall explain why careful attention to the meter and patterns of accentuation within both the Latin texts and the chant melodies has exerted a considerable influence on this elaboration of these translations and the process of their appraisal. I hope also to make some reference to the demands of rendering the fullest content of the meaning of the original Latin texts while facing the very considerable challenges presented by singing Gregorian chant in English.
Nicholas J. Will – Recital: “Accessible Organ Literature Based on Chant”
Alleluia by Théodore Dubois (1837–1924); Puer Natus Est by Everett Titcomb (1884–1968); La Fête-Dieu by Dubois; Variations on O Filii et Filiae by Jean-François Dandrieu (1684–1740); Saluto Angelico by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877–1933); Pentecost by Titcomb; Twelve Chorale Preludes on Gregorian Chant Themes by Jeanne Demessieux (1921–1968) VI. Hosanna Filio David and X. In Manus Tuas; Toccata on O Filii et Filiae by Lynnwood Farnam (1885–1930)
Amy Zuberbueler and Colleen Crafton – “The Ward Method of Music Instruction: a Practical Pedagogical Method for Catholic Schools and Parishes”
The Ward Method of Music Instruction for Catholic Schools is a progressive method of teaching music to elementary school children, though vocal instruction, theory, composition and conducting. The repertoire consists of European and American folk music, as well as Western classical and sacred music, including Gregorian chant. This method is available in English, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, and Dutch.
The pedagogy of the Ward Method is based on an understanding of the developmental stages of the child and the importance of creativity and practical experience in the learning process. Participants will receive a brief history of the method pedagogy. Students from various class levels at The Atonement Academy and the St. Anthony Mary Claret parish choir program will demonstrate the various aspects of a Ward lesson and show the progression of the Method from Books I and II. Mrs. Zuberbueler’s presentation will conclude with examples of how to apply this method in Catholic schools and in after-school parish choir settings.
The Ward Method is the only complete music education method that incorporates both the study of church music and traditional music education concepts such as vocal exercises, intonation and rhythm exercises, aural training, conducting, composing, improvising, reading notation, and sight singing. Mrs. Crafton will show how the Ward Method can meet and exceed national and state music education standards through live examples from the Schola of the Ward Centre of Richmond. The Schola will also demonstrate how the Ward Method can build excellence in Gregorian chant and sacred music performance.