What Are The Numbers Telling Us?

Here are some statistics to keep you entertained on a Tuesday afternoon. As of today, May 8, the percentages of Colloquium registrations from each state in the U.S. looks like this (just some highlights): Utah, our host state, comes in at 6%; New York comes in at 3% (Come on folks, everyone else is making the trip west…); Florida comes in at 9% (Lots of Floridians!); California comes in at a whopping 22%; Nevada comes in at 8%; Illinois stands at 15%, and Texas comes in at 11%. Number of clergy registered (as of today): 12; Number of religious sisters: 4; Number of people named Jeffrey: 3; Number of people from outside the contiguous U.S.: 7; If you haven’t registered yet, consider taking your place in the pie chart! Registration for the Sacred Music Colloquium in Salt Lake City is open for twelve more days.

Heretical Hymns, World Music, and Keeping Your Job?

Below is a sneak peak at some of the morning breakouts we have to look forward to at this year’s Sacred Music Colloquium in Salt Lake City. Remember that if you register during the Octave of Easter a copy of Dr. William Mahrt’s The Musical Shape of the Liturgy will be on its way to you in the mail.

Sister Marie Agatha Ozah, HHCJ, Ph.D.:

Gregorian Chant and World Music: Tensions and Solutions for the Liturgy

Chants are some of the oldest religious music genres of the world, and their centrality in Buddhist, Hindu, Judaic, Christian and Islamic worship cannot be over emphasized. In the Christian Church alone, one can name Byzantine, Ethiopian, Anglican, and Gregorian chants, for example, as indispensable vehicles of religious worship. This lecture explores the significance and uses of chants in some world religions. It will focus specifically on Gregorian Chant in the Roman Catholic liturgy.

The traditionalism and canonicity that Gregorian Chant enjoyed for centuries was disputed by the Second Vatican Council, which encouraged the use of other forms of world music as backdrop in the liturgy. The introduction and use of world music in the liturgy has fostered the continuous decline of the use of Gregorian Chant, an issue that has become a cause of concern among sacred music scholars. The dilemma of whether or not the Roman Catholic liturgy is a common ground where tensions can be resolved persists today.

Kathleen Pluth:

Vernacular Hymns: The Good, the Bad, and the Heretical

Although sung Propers are always the best choice for the Mass, parish musicians are still often called upon to select hymns for Mass, devotions, and the Liturgy of the Hours. Choosing among the various options can be a daunting task. This lecture begins with an examination of the importance of hymns in the Church from apostolic times, preceding the Reformation by many centuries. Then, individual hymns will be sung and analysed for their usefulness in teaching and evangelization, focusing primarily upon textual and theological considerations.

Matthew J. Meloche:

Maintain and Strengthen Your Position and Program

This practical course will show you how to maintain and strengthen your current position and program, whether you are music director of a large parish or direct a small choir. Special emphasis will be given to changing the direction of a program, with positive advice for how to do so while keeping your leadership role secure.

See the complete list.

Winter Chant Intensive: Plea for Scholarship Donations

CMAA Houston, sponsor of the Winter Chant Intensive, coming up on January 4-6, 2012, has been besieged with scholarship requests. At present five or six gifts of $50 or $100 would assist in getting people the education in chant they are looking for – not only for themselves, but for their parishes, and the future of sacred music in this country.

If you are in the position to help, please consider making a donation – in time for someone to benefit from your gift this coming January. Write to CMAA Houston for specifics on how to go about making a difference.

Need to recommend a hymnal?

Here is a quick list of ten great things about the Vatican II Hymnal. In no particular order:

Contains the Order of Mass for both the EF and OF.

Contains all the readings for ALL THREE YEARS in the OF. No need for Missalettes.

Is over 700 pages long but is still the size of a normal book.

Includes numerous settings of Alleluias and Gospel Acclamations.

Includes the text of the sequences in Latin AND English.

Includes solid, singable hymns.

For each hymn the editor has included a suggested occasion for deployment.

Includes Offertory verses! Yes, they exist!

Includes the ICEL setting of the new translation of the Mass; and further settings by Rice, Weber,and more.

Includes great graphics that you could copy (I think photocopying one page for personal use is allowed) and give to your children with a pack of colored pencils (after Mass).

Gregorian Chant and More Workshop

St. Benedict Church in Richmond, Virginia, will be sponsoring The Gregorian Chant and More Workshop on Nov.11-12, 2011.

The workshop will feature Fr. Robert A. Skeris, Director, Centre for Ward Method Studies at The Catholic University of America. Sessions will alternate singing Gregorian Chant with lectures on Sacred Music. All are welcome, from novices to experienced singers. The workshop will conclude with a Missa Cantata. All sessions will be held in Saint Anselm Hall at St. Benedict Parochial School. The workshop is free for St. Benedict Church members, however you must register. Registration includes lunch on Saturday as well as a copy of the Liber Cantualis, the book used for the workshop. For non-St. Benedict Church members, the fee is a modest $5 to cover lunch expenses. The Liber Cantualis will be available for purchase at the workshop. To register, or for more information, please email your contact information to jdorn@saintbenedictparish.org or ccrafton@saintbenedictschool.org. You may also mail your contact information and payment to St. Benedict Church Office, attn: Chant Workshop 206 North Belmont Avenue Richmond, Virginia 23221.

More information here.

Zwingli! on Music

For reasons unknown to me I found myself reading the Wikipedia article on Huldrych Zwingli (Swiss Reformer). Maybe it was because conversation over brunch today centered on my son’s freshman history class and his professor’s well balanced look at the influences and events of the time. Might also be because I was in Zurich three weeks ago, where all things “church” are all Zwingli, all the time.

Cut to the chase: I about fell off my chair when I read the paragraph on Zwingli’s view toward liturgical music, below. As Willa Cather said, “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”

Zwingli criticised the practice of priestly chanting and monastic choirs. The criticism dates from 1523 when he attacked certain worship practices. He associated music with images and vestments, all of which he felt diverted people’s attention from true spiritual worship. It is not known what he thought of the musical practices in early Lutheran churches. Zwingli, however eliminated music from worship in the church, stating that God had not commanded musical worship. The organist of the People’s Church in Zurich is recorded as weeping upon seeing the great organ broken up. Although Zwingli did not express an opinion on congregational singing, he made no effort to encourage it. Nevertheless, scholars have found that Zwingli was supportive of a role for music in the church. Gottfried W. Locher writes, “The old assertion ‘Zwingli was against church singing’ holds good no longer…. Zwingli’s polemic is concerned exclusively with the medieval Latin choral and priestly chanting and not with the hymns of evangelical congregations or choirs”. Locher goes on to say that “Zwingli freely allowed vernacular psalm or choral singing. In addition, he even seems to have striven for lively, antiphonal, unison recitative”. Locher then summaries his comments on Zwingli’s view of church music as follows: “The chief thought in his conception of worship was always ‘conscious attendance and understanding’ — ‘devotion’, yet with the lively participation of all concerned”.

California, Here It Comes!

Gregorian Chant Workshop in Southern California with Kathy Reinheimer

Saturday, October 8, 8:30am-5:00pm

Sponsored by Una Voce, Los Angeles

St. Victor’s Catholic Church
8634 Holloway Drive,
West Hollywood, CA 90069

$25 fee includes Parish Book of Chant, all materials, lunch, and refreshments.

Please see the workshop webpage for schedule and registration details.