Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Office Hymn to the Holy Spirit

Auctor perennis gloriae

O Source of glory without end,
Who with Your sev’n-fold graces send
Your Spirit to those who confess,
Defend us all in gentleness.

Expel the ills that bodies bind;
Remove all hindrances of mind;
Let sin’s strong powers vanquished be
And inner tears forever flee.

O keep our minds in quiet rest,
Perfect our work in righteousness.
Accept, O Lord, the prayers we give,
That we eternally may live.

The years, their seven days have run,
The age of time is nearly done,
For lo, the eighth and final nears,
When judgment day at last appears.

Redeemer, hear us, Lord, we pray.
Forget your anger on that day,
And let us not at your left stand,
But station us at your right hand.

So when in mercy you receive
The prayers of those, Lord, who believe,
Then may your glory ever new
Blest Trinity, return to you.

Trans. Kathleen Pluth

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Celebrate May with a Dance

In some parts of the world, May seems like a long time coming. Here's an amusing performance of Praetorious' Philou. Enjoy it as a pleasant reminder of the secular that ran alongside the sacred, which we sometimes forget. And a celebration of multi-tracking, if that's your pleasure.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Aurora lucis rutilat

An Easter hymn by St. Ambrose
The light of dawn is reddening,
The heavens' morning praises spring,
The earth exults: “The morning! Hail!”
While hell’s sad dwellers groan and wail.

Our King, the victor in the strife,
When death was smashed apart by life,
Has trampled hell triumphantly
And captive led captivity.

The Lord, whose barricade of stone
The soldiers kept sharp eyes upon
In vict’ry conquers through that gate
And rises forth in pomp and state.

 “The Lord is risen from the dead!”
The splendid angel loudly said.
And hell is evermore left free
To grumble in its misery.

Be this our thought through all life’s days,
Our Easter joy, our Paschal praise:
The grace in which we are reborn
Was won in triumph on that morn.

Jesus, to You let glory rise,
Who vanquished death and won the prize;
With Father and the Spirit blest,
Be endless ages’ praise addressed.

Trans. c. 2013 Kathleen Pluth

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Courses at Catholic University of America this summer

I was asked to remind readers of the courses being offered under the auspices of the Ward Centre at Catholic University of America.

So here's the information and where to go to learn more:

Online registration for 2017 Ward Method courses and Gregorian Chant Practicum now available!

Online registration for the 2017 Ward Method courses and Gregorian Chant Practicum at the International Centre for Ward Method Studies located at The Catholic University of America is now available. 
Online registration can be found here: http://summer.cua.edu/admissions/index.cfm
For more information on the Ward Centre, please visit: http://music.cua.edu/ward-method.cfm   To request a tuition scholarship, please email skeris@cua.edu.  

Between the CMAA and CUA, it's Ward abounding! I'm sure Justine would be delighted.

The Charms and Perils of Beauty

I'm not a great reader of sermons. (Actually, not a great listener either.)  However, Fr. Cipolla of St. Mary's, Norwalk, Connecticut provides a lovely meditation on the risks and rewards of beauty in the search of truth and goodness.

It's over at Rorate Caeli and is definitely worth a read by those who love fine liturgy and music.

Many thanks to Fr. Cipolla, a man who always knows what he's talking about.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Servant leadership

Friday, May 5, 2017

New FSSP Recording

This is from the Catholic News Agency.
Tucked away in the low, rolling hills of eastern Nebraska is Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary, the international school for English-speaking seminarians of the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), a Roman Catholic group of priests dedicated to celebrating the traditional Latin Mass....
For their first album, the priests and seminarians chose to record the chants of the Requiem Mass, Latin for ‘rest’ - the funeral Mass in the Latin rite.The album Requiem, produced in collaboration with De Montfort Music and Sony Classical, will be available May 12 on Amazon. De Monfort Music specializes in chant, polyphony and all areas of sacred music with a concentration on singing orders and communities well trained in this repertoire.
I'm not certain this -
Although most people know the Requiem via the celebrated version by Mozart, the composer was himself inspired by Gregorian chant, explained Fr. Zachary Akers, music director of The Fraternity and a singer on Requiem, in a press release.
 is accurate.
(Woeful numbers of people hear Sarah Brightman in their heads at the mere mention of the word, requiem.)
Fr. Garrick Huang, co-music director of The Fraternity and a singer on Requiem, noted that Gregorian chant is thought to have roots both in the ancient Western and Eastern cultures, creating a sounds that is a cross-section of many cultures....
While the music, and the black vestments of the priests during a Requiem Mass, inspire natural feelings of sadness and mourning, there is also present an element of hope.
“It’s not a morbid sadness because we have hope that God is merciful and that he will bring this soul to heaven,” Fr. Akers said. “The calmness of the chant reveals a spirit of rest or repose, which is what the very word requiem means."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

CMAA Courses on the Ward Method in June, 2017

Have you wondered about the Ward Method?
Thought it might change the way you teach music with children? For the better?
Did you do the basic course and you want to take it further?

The Church Music Association of America (CMAA) is offering you a chance to find out about Ward and take your practice deeper this summer at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, June 26-30, 2017.

There will be two courses offered.

Ward Method I - That All May Sing will be taught by Scott Turkington. Participants will learn the basic principles and the practice of this method developed by Justine Ward in the early 20th century and how it can be used with our 21st century children. Its fundamental principle is that all children can learn to sing, not just those with natural gifts.

Ward Method II - Intermediate moves beyond the first year. Wilko Brouwers will share his expertise and experience with the method to pass on more advanced techniques. It will expand on the training in Ward Method I.

Both Scott Turkington and Wilko Brouwers are experienced and gifted teachers, not only of children, but of teachers as well.

The CMAA is convinced that this method has great value for developing future generations of singers, both those in the choirs and those in the pews. You can be part of that project.

You can learn more details about the courses and register at musica.sacra.com by following this link:
CMAA Summer Courses.

Help the past and the present build our musical future!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wish you could play the organ as well as the piano? The answer may be here!

There is now available FREE OF CHARGE 30 video lessons designed to help the intermediate-level pianist learn the basics of organ service playing.

There are organs all over the country (maybe the world) that are silent for a lack of hands (and feet).

Some churches that just had a piano suddenly got a designated organ bequest.
Sometimes the pastor likes organ music and is thoroughly sick of the clavinova.

Could those hands (and feet) belong to you or someone you know?

Check it out at this link; https://proorgano.com/video-instruction/
And remember - it's free!

PS: Organs are very cool because they can be very loud. Well, that's one reason I like them!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Musica Sacra Florida Chant Conference, May 19-20, 2017

Are you suffering from post-Paschal malaise? Would you like a little chant break that you're not in charge of?


From Friday afternoon, May 19th through Saturday, May 20th, you can sing, learn, pray, and enjoy the company of like-minded friends new and old. We'll be at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in Tampa.

The faculty will include Dr. Susan Treacy, Dr. Edward Schaefer, and Dr. Mary Jane Ballou (yes, that's me!).

There will be an Extraordinary Form Mass on Friday evening, Lauds on Saturday morning, and an Ordinary Form Mass on Saturday afternoon with music provided by the conference participants.

Friday evening's music will be sung by the Schola of the Epiphany of Our Lord Church in Tampa.

There will be a keynote address, two workshops, and three scholae - beginning/intermediate, advanced men, and advanced women.

You can learn all the details, see a preliminary schedule, marvel at the low cost, and nearby deal at the Holiday Inn Express by visiting http://musicasacra.com/category/events/ 

Of course, you'll be able to register there as well!  And we look forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just a Little More Easter (Actually, A Lot More) From Georgia

The Easter Vigil (Resurrection Matins and Divine Liturgy) is a marathon that makes the Roman Catholic vigil resemble a walk in the park.

The link below comes from Georgia (the country, not the state), where John Graham, a historical musicologist, lives and leads cultural tours.  Click on different bits on the videos from this monastic celebration. It's really rough, "guy music," at its Caucasian best. Enjoy it!

Christ is Risen!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Newness of Life

On the 90th anniversary of Pope Emeritus Benedict's birth and baptism, as on every Easter, I find myself remembering his words about the mystery of the "new life" that is Christianity.

From among the many sublime quotations from his Easter public addresses that could be quoted:
 Baptism is something quite different from an act of ecclesial socialization, from a slightly old-fashioned and complicated rite for receiving people into the Church. It is also more than a simple washing, more than a kind of purification and beautification of the soul. It is truly death and resurrection, rebirth, transformation to a new life. 
How can we understand this? I think that what happens in Baptism can be more easily explained for us if we consider the final part of the short spiritual autobiography that Saint Paul gave us in his Letter to the Galatians. Its concluding words contain the heart of this biography: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20). I live, but I am no longer I. The "I", the essential identity of man - of this man, Paul - has been changed. He still exists, and he no longer exists. He has passed through a "not" and he now finds himself continually in this "not": I, but no longer I. 
With these words, Paul is not describing some mystical experience which could perhaps have been granted him, and could be of interest to us from a historical point of view, if at all. No, this phrase is an expression of what happened at Baptism. My "I" is taken away from me and is incorporated into a new and greater subject. This means that my "I" is back again, but now transformed, broken up, opened through incorporation into the other, in whom it acquires its new breadth of existence. Paul explains the same thing to us once again from another angle when, in Chapter Three of the Letter to the Galatians, he speaks of the "promise", saying that it was given to an individual - to one person: to Christ. He alone carries within himself the whole "promise". But what then happens with us? Paul answers: You have become one in Christ (cf. Gal 3:28). Not just one thing, but one, one only, one single new subject. This liberation of our "I" from its isolation, this finding oneself in a new subject means finding oneself within the vastness of God and being drawn into a life which has now moved out of the context of "dying and becoming". The great explosion of the Resurrection has seized us in Baptism so as to draw us on. Thus we are associated with a new dimension of life into which, amid the tribulations of our day, we are already in some way introduced. To live one’s own life as a continual entry into this open space: this is the meaning of being baptized, of being Christian. This is the joy of the Easter Vigil. The Resurrection is not a thing of the past, the Resurrection has reached us and seized us. We grasp hold of it, we grasp hold of the risen Lord, and we know that he holds us firmly even when our hands grow weak. We grasp hold of his hand, and thus we also hold on to one another’s hands, and we become one single subject, not just one thing. I, but no longer I: this is the formula of Christian life rooted in Baptism, the formula of the Resurrection within time. I, but no longer I: if we live in this way, we transform the world. It is a formula contrary to all ideologies of violence, it is a programme opposed to corruption and to the desire for power and possession. 
"I live and you will live also", says Jesus in Saint John’s Gospel (14:19) to his disciples, that is, to us. We will live through our existential communion with him, through being taken up into him who is life itself. Eternal life, blessed immortality, we have not by ourselves or in ourselves, but through a relation - through existential communion with him who is Truth and Love and is therefore eternal: God himself. Simple indestructibility of the soul by itself could not give meaning to eternal life, it could not make it a true life. Life comes to us from being loved by him who is Life; it comes to us from living-with and loving-with him. I, but no longer I: this is the way of the Cross, the way that "crosses over" a life simply closed in on the I, thereby opening up the road towards true and lasting joy. 
Thus we can sing full of joy, together with the Church, in the words of the Exsultet: "Sing, choirs of angels . . . rejoice, O earth!" The Resurrection is a cosmic event, which includes heaven and earth and links them together. In the words of the Exsultet once again, we can proclaim: "Christ . . . who came back from the dead and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever". Amen!