Voice and Singing Lessons in Pennsylvania, with a liturgical focus

The Schola Cantorum of Holy Family Church, Latrobe, PA, a choir of young women and girls, age 14 to 24, sings for the weekly celebration of the Eucharist in the Extraordinary Form. Since the 1st Sunday of Lent, 2013 the girls Schola has sung the Mass in both Gregorian Chant and polyphony. The director of the Schola is Fr. Stephen Concordia, O.S.B. who has advanced degrees in music from the New England Conservatory, Boston, and from the Pontifical Institute of Music in Rome. Most of the girls and young women also sing in the Saint Vincent Camerata or Camerata Scholars, other choirs dedicated to Sacred Music and directed by Fr. Stephen.

To insure that the Schola continue its ministry to Holy Family, and to offer opportunities to other talented and interested girls in our Diocese, we are planning to provide voice lessons and general music instruction to all its singers. The teachers will be two members of the Schola, Grettelyn Nypaver and Erin Nypaver. Grettelyn is a graduate of St. Vincent College with extensive training and experience in voice and in Latin. Erin is a graduate of Seton Hill University with a degree in Sacred Music. Fr. Concordia, assistant professor of music at Saint Vincent College, will supervise the curriculum and training, the focus of which will be vocal training, music literacy, and Catholic musical culture. Those interested in contributing financially or with other resources are kindly asked to contact Fr. Stephen at stephen.concordia@stvincent.edu.
Fr. Stephen Concordia, O.S.B.

2 Replies to “Voice and Singing Lessons in Pennsylvania, with a liturgical focus”

  1. Why just girls? Are there no young men in the parish who can be persuaded to sing?

  2. I have some issues with this kind of thing myself, though I understand how some musicians prefer "equal voices" as a kind of a pure musical ideal. While I agree that all-girl (or all-boy) choral numbers are beautiful in a kind of unearthly, ethereal way, the classic SATB arrangement is to my mind far more satisfying and represents at least to me the harmonious collaboration of all of God's people.

    From a social viewpoint as well, I know of instances where such exclusivity can be hurtful and harmful and it unnecessarily sets up a dynamic where "girls only need apply" to sing in the schola, so males young and old begin to regard sacred music and singing in church as a "girl thing."

    On the other hand, I know of some excellent women cantors who are not allowed to sing the propers in their all-male parish schola whereas these ladies can sing circles around most of the men, and are heartbroken to be excluded from chanting the propers.

    In a specialized convent/seminary setting equal-voice groups are marvelous, but in the typical parish setting I think that paradigm could be needlessly divisive and problematic—unless there is already a mixed-voice group in existence that anyone is free to join.

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