Friday, September 12, 2014

The Saint Benet Schola

I'm sort of amazed at the rapid development of a fantastic new initiative I'm delighted to be involved with, the Saint Benet Schola, named in honor of our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict.

This group of 12 (and growing) women sang the proper chants in English for the opening Mass of the Ordinariate parish of St. Luke's in its new location, in the heart of downtown Washington DC. There are actually 2 choirs, and the other group is singing wonderful polyphonic motets and ordinaries while we take care of the propers.

Here is the plan for this Sunday's feast day, Sunday September 14:


After last Sunday's Mass I ran into Skip West, who runs the Suspicious Cheese Lords:
Me: So, how did the schola sound?
Skip: You sounded like nuns!
Me: Um, what kind of nuns?
Skip: Benedictines! French Benedictine nuns!
It felt pretty good too, the way music is supposed to feel when a singing group is doing well. The church that hosts the Ordinariate parish is a large and beautiful church called Immaculate Conception, and takes a certain amount of vocal power to fill it.

This is what the National Catholic Register had to say:
The St. Benet Schola, named in honor of the Benedictine tradition with a nod to Pope Emeritus Benedict, is composed of women and specializes in plainchant.

“Alongside our polyphonic choir, who sang a Mass by Hans Leo Hassler and a motet by Victoria during Holy Communion, the schola sang the Propers,” said Father James Bradley, an ordinariate priest from England, who has been involved in establishing the schola, referring to the parts of the Sept. 7 liturgy that were specific to that day’s Mass. Father Bradley added, “The Propers are integral parts of the liturgy, and we are using the ancient chants of the Roman Gradual as set to English by the sisters of Wantage, who are now part of the Ordinariate in England. The result is music that is at once Catholic in origin and Anglican in flavor; [it is] universal and particular.”
The rest of the article is here, and if you are in the DC area, the Mass is sung each Sunday morning at 8:30 am. Immaculate Conception is just 2 blocks north of the Mount Vernon Square metro stop at 1315 8th Street NW.