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“Our Christian people regard with great joy everything that contributes to the splendor of the ceremonies. Jesus—who was poor in His private life—received ointment on His feet. See Thomas Aquinas (Prima Secundae, q. 102, art. 5, ad 10) and the holy Curé of Ars. The Church has always loved beautiful churches, and so forth. We must preserve our sacred patrimony and make sure sacred objects do not become secular possessions.”
— Abbot & Council Father denouncing “noble simplicity” during Vatican II

More Testimonials From The Symposium
published 11 June 2016 by Corpus Christi Watershed

We posted a whole bunch of testimonials at the bottom of this article, but here are several more:

From a young lady (16 years old):

Thank you so much. I had a wonderful time at the symposium. I’m so grateful to Mr. Ostrowski, Dr. Calabrese, Dr. Buchholz, Fr. Fryar, and all involved in arranging this extraordinary event. I have never participated in such a tremendous event with such great singers and conductors.

The talks and practices were so helpful. I certainly learned a lot from all the teachers about phrasing, dynamics, and understanding what you’re singing. We were not just reading the translation of the Latin words, but also feeling them and letting their meaning be reflected in how we sang the music. It really has made a difference. Even though I’m not a schola/choir director myself, I picked up a lot of helpful advice and will be eternally grateful for everything I was taught there.

Words cannot even describe what I felt at the Masses on Sunday and Tuesday. Being in the beautiful church, surrounded by fellow Catholics, singers, Traditional Latin Mass goers of all ages, hearing the organ ringing in my ears, and singing the beautiful plainchant and polyphony pieces was nothing less than a Heavenly experience. I loved hearing the men sing the propers and also the 4 and 5 part harmonies, which were amazing. To be a part of something so Heavenly gave me a wonderful image of what Heaven must be like. For me, I was not only singing, keeping time, and taking breaths, I was praying the Mass more completely than I’ve ever done before.

Once again, this was a fun and Heavenly experience that our entire group enjoyed. It was definitely worth the 5 hour drive! Thank you again so much and special thanks to Fr. Saguto and Archbishop Gomez for their time and support. May God reward you all and bless you abundantly! I hope to be able to come again next year, God willing!

From Prescott, Arizona:

The symposium was enlightening, reverent and spiritually uplifting. Did I mention “Exhausting” …but what a good tired feeling. As symposium participants, we were privileged to participate in two incredibly beautiful masses plus a Confirmation. Having only worked at parishes that celebrate in the Ordinary Form, I was touched by the reverence and respect by each person who worships in the Extraordinary form: from the people’s demeanor and respectful choice of clothing to the unwavering attention to details that enhanced each moment of the liturgy.

Our spirits were joyfully lifted up to the heavens during the prelude, postlude and many improvisations that were played on the beautiful pipe organ by Dr. Bucholtz and the choir’s own organist Meaghan.

Jeff brought together a wonderful team. The clinicians were outstanding. Dr Calabrese gave us great insight into conducting chant and most importantly inspired us to sing chant as our prayer with true grace. He understands the challeges facing parish music directors and he is willing to share his experiences and counsel. Dr. Bucholtz taught and directed masterfully. He is larger than life and all eyes of the chorus were riveted on him. These two men worked beautifully together during rehearsal, they laughed, prayed and shared stories. Both have true love for Christ and sacred liturgy and it was an honor to sing under both batons.

Taking the techniques that were taught and using Jeff’s wonderful polyphonic refrains from CC Watershed can bring your parish music program up to the next level. I plan to teach my choirs the “Ave Maris Stella” next month. I know that I will once again hear the beautiful choral sound of us all singing in St Victor’s whenever I bring out these pieces.

The real work is ahead as we are sent out to use this knowledge. It can be done. It is our duty and our privilege as Catholic musicians to bring this sacred art to the forefront of Catholic worship, to reach deep into the time honored tradition of music in our Church, and to cultivate this gift of reverence in our own parishes.

From Denver, Colorado:

I came home expectedly mentally exhausted from the intense concentration required to participate fully in the symposium but spiritually and musically enriched. It was such privilege to have musicians such as Jeff Ostrowski, Horst Buchholz and Alfred Calabrese share their expertise and their wealth of musical knowledge and experience, never losing sight of the all important liturgy.

I am charged with the responsibility of trying to attend both the CC watershed symposium and the CMAA symposium next year.

I cannot wait to share the relevant information with others involved in sacred music, such as other choirmasters, directors of sacred music etc. I am anticipating having a meeting with each of them in the near future to discuss many things, including what I gleaned from the symposium. I hope also to share the information with other choir members and parishioners who are struggling with the change in our church from what I call “Happy Clappy” music to more liturgical and reverent music. What a great experience this was!

This year’s Symposium has ended—but we’re already planning next year’s!

Julia Garcia contributed to this blog post.