In a post below I mentioned that there are many signs of hope that the movement to recover Gregorian chant among the present and future young generations is continuing to flourish.
One outstanding sign is the Chant Camp established and growing in San Diego under the leadership of Mary Ann Carr-Wilson, Director of Music at St. Anne’s Parish. At this FSSP parish, which celebrates the sacraments exclusively in the Extraordinary Form, dozens of children gather every summer to learn to sing Gregorian chant. This year 110 children have already registered!
I met one of the veterans of Mary Ann’s program here in Virginia not long ago. All of 8 years old, he is ready to learn and sing anything in the Graduale. It is hard not to feel almost a sense of envy, and loss, at the possibilities denied to several generations in a row, who have been raised on much lesser music.
As we at Chant Cafe have mentioned many, many times before, Gregorian chant is ideally suited for children. As a single line of music, it is not conceptually complex in the way that harmonized music is, and thus is suited for young minds. Further, young children have not been molded into an exclusively metrical way of thinking about music, and are more receptive to the fluid lines of chant than are those of us who have become inculturated by modern music.
Filled with the beauty of the chant, young children have the potential to become freer moral agents, able to choose the good because of how aptly the good moral act suits the beauty of the acquired form of the music. For those of us who did not have the benefit of this particular training, it is easy to imagine that this might have made it easier to enter into a happier and more productive adolescence.
So for the sake of the children, and for the good of the entire Church, it’s fantastic to see efforts like this succeeding in such a truly beautiful way!