Faculty Profile: Edward Schaefer

So many materials are online these days that it is easy to get the impression that the chant movement was born anew some five years ago. But you know how things actually work: there is no real new birth of an artistic/liturgical movement. Nothing comes into being out of nothing. These things grows slowly over time, from infancy to maturity, and this involves countless unnamed people plus a handful and heroes and heroines.

Edward Schaefer is one of those heroes. He has been running his own workshops since the 1980s. Even more strikingly, his work foreshadowed the forthcoming Missal. He wrote out an entire Missal in the ordinary form in English with the sung text, and got it approved for liturgical use. For all these year, it has been the only printed resource for the sung Mass in English! He did all of this pretty much working alone, and solely because as a musician and a Catholic he had a passion for the sung liturgy. Now, others have caught up to him and this is about to become the norm in our liturgical materials. But it took Schaefer to lead the way.

As a long-time professor at Gonzaga and now Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, University of Florida College of Fine Arts, he is obviously a chant expert (having studied directly under Dom Cardine) also a legendary conductor of polyphony. Those who have sung under his leadership praise his leadership and musicianship. He is also a tremendously intelligent person with an obvious fire for the faith. He is also a pleasure to work with. His enthusiasm is palpable and he is deeply grateful for an opportunity to spread the word.

It’s fun to be with him at the Sacred Music Colloquium because of his excitement over being there, which is obvious from his broad smile and light step. He has so much to teach, and I’m pleased report that this year, he will have his own polyphony choir that will sing the mighty Byrd Mass for Four Voices, and also teach a long series on semiology – coursework that even faculty members are looking forward to.

I should add that he is also the author of Catholic Music Through the Ages, which is on my reading list and probably should be on yours. We are all tremendously honored that such a scholar and gentlemen will be joining us this year.

6 Replies to “Faculty Profile: Edward Schaefer”

  1. For all of those new to the Cafe, and new, perhaps to the Colloquium, I would like to repeat and add to what Jeffrey has to say, above.

    All of the years in the trenches, and all application of intellect, artistry, and service can sometimes leave a person feeling drained and unappreciated. And this is seen in the world of liturgical music especially. The work is grueling, and not always appreciated.

    What comes across with Ed Schaefer – in is his undying devotion to the Church (Deacon Schaefer), the chant, and the "right thing" – is his ongoing curiosity, humility, and willingness to serve.

    We are very fortunate to have him among the faculty of the Sacred Music Colloquium again this year.

  2. I am so proud to have been one of his students at Gonzaga. I can hardly express how glad I am to see more recognition of the amazing work that he has done.

  3. Colleen, were you in the GU schola that sang at a national ACDA "worship music event" in Los Angeles? Best music I heard all week.
    Ed Schaefer is a pre-eminent chant advocate. It was a privilege to sit next to him and listen to his mind (figuratively speaking) at the NOLA chant intensive.

  4. Charles, yes, I was at ACDA in LA. Thank you for the compliment. Ed's direction was an especial blessing to us when we had to sing in that acoustically awful space. I really think he made the best of it. I've sung in that cathedral several times since then, but never to such good effect.

  5. I, with Colleen, also was blessed to study with Dr. Ed and sing at ACDA in LA, across several churches in France, and throughout the pacific northwest. Since then I've worked with many notable conductors along the west coast and in New York and I can say that my most dramatic growth as a chorister was definitely during my studies under Dr. Ed. Not only a remarkable musician, but a remarkable man.

Comments are closed.