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 resides with his wife and children.
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“It is most important that when the faithful assist at the sacred ceremonies … they should sing alternately with the clergy or the choir, as it is prescribed.”
— Pope Pius XI, "Divini Cultus" (20 Dec 1928) §9

FSSP.la Choir Communiqué • 20 February 2015
published 20 February 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

Number 1

As soon as possible, I will post the music for Sunday (22 February 2015, 1st Sunday of Lent). Obviously, the Propers are already posted—at the website I’ve asked you all to bookmark—for men who desire to practice the INTROIT and women who desire to practice the COMMUNION.

UPDATE: Music for this Sunday is HERE.

Number 2

We had a very good practice last night. I enjoy working with the Engagé singers. During a two-hour rehearsal for twelve people, if I spend 1/2 the time training individual singers, that’s only 5 minutes per singer! Pretty crazy, huh? Do you see why I enjoy the opportunity to work with a smaller group? Next week, we’ll return to our Wednesday practice. It will be Wednesday (7:00pm) at my home, since we are not currently allowed to go to San Felipe Chapel.

Number 3

We worked hard on Palestrina’s “Arbor Decora” on Thursday night. It’s true that we only practiced the Solfège, but adding the text is usually not a huge obstacle. Of course, I’m not infallible. Of course, I’m not omniscient. But that’s usually how things work. Therefore, I believe we can sing the “Arbor Decora” this Sunday.

Arbor Decora   •   Score & Practice videos:

Video (Sopr)   •   Mp3 (Sopr)
Video (Alto)   •   Mp3 (Alto)
Video (Tenr)   •   Mp3 (Tenr)
Video (Bass)   •   Mp3 (Bass)

PDF Download • Palestrina “Arbor Decora” (Polyphony Score)

Equal voice recordings:

Equal Audio   •   Equal video

Number 4

I need to make something absolutely clear.

For us to sing “Arbor Decora” on Sunday, each Singer needs to follow the instructions in Number 5. The secret password is for you to tell me briefly, in your own words, what is described in Number 5. Don’t just copy/paste what I wrote. Tell me in your own words.

When I say “tell me using your own words,” I mean something like this.

Number 5

1e. Print out the score, unless you prefer to follow the videos with your eyes.

2e. Learn your part with the Solfège really well. Then, sing your part against the “equal voices” video. Then, pick some other part and see if you can still sing your part.

3e. After you’ve done that, start looking at the words using Jeff’s Super Awesome Guide To Happiness which gives you the pronunciation. Can you believe it? There’s a total of 9 words!

4e. On Sunday, both groups will come together at 6:30pm. (The Donné Group has a separate rehearsal at 5:45pm.) When we rehearse this piece, it needs to go very well, or we can’t sing it yet. Only you can make this happen!

5e. Moreover, a physical issue must be dealt with. Parts of this song will be sung by soloists. Other parts will be sung by Donné Group only. Other parts will be sung by BOTH GROUPS. We need to physically practice where we will stand, to make sure the piece comes out beautifully.

6e. When it comes to the physical issue, please scrupulously do whatever Jeff asks you. Stand where he wants you to stand, and only sing the parts he asks you to sing. Jeff might assign the chant verses to a soloist—that doesn’t mean the soloist is the only person who will ever sing those verses. So follow along as the soloist sings … in your mind only!

Number 6

During Lent, we will do what the Church prescribes. Organ is forbidden during Lent. It is very austere. We will not use organ, because the Church forbids it.

Jeff loves the organ. Giving it up during Lent is very hard & very austere. Do you understand the reasons why the Church says no organ during Lent? It’s the same reason why no organ is allowed during a Requiem Mass.