About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

Brave Schola Director Posts “Live” Recording • Part 2
published 27 April 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

871 Altar Cards Traditional Latin Mass ITHOUT QUESTION, the hardest thing about singing in a choir is also the most beneficial thing. Sooner or later, you must place a recording device near the Altar and find out how your choir actually sounds.

Most people think singing is easy. On paper, it seems easy. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult. Moreover, the first time you record a “live” Mass, you will probably be very discouraged. It’s like having a bucket of cold water thrown in your face. Yet, as I said, there’s nothing more beneficial.

I’ve mentioned in the past that many on the internet love to criticize and pontificate; but these same people are too afraid to post “live” recordings of their choirs (if they even direct a choir). They realize that if they do, people will rip them to shreds. As I said, singing is very difficult. It’s much easier to hide on the internet, disparaging the efforts of others.

Below is a “live” recording of our choir singing at yesterday’s Mass. Coming from immediately after the Consecration, it begins with chant and then launches into Palestrina: 1

    * *  Mp3 Download • “Live” Recording From Last Night

It was recorded by a tiny microphone near the Altar, behind a marble pillar. As you can hear, there are some balance issues, but these can be corrected as time goes on. Our 100% volunteer choir began singing in Advent. Since that time, we’ve never had the same exact group of singers show up two Sundays in a row. This makes it more challenging to correct balance issues, but I’m sure we’ll get there eventually. Our Masses currently happen Sunday evening, and not everyone can attend; but this will change whenever we obtain a Church of our own—we are the newest parish in Los Angeles.

I need to hurry up and continue making progress, because my time as director is limited; eventually the choir will notice I don’t know what I’m doing!


1   The score can be downloaded as a PDF by going to this website; look for the SANCTUS.