HE FOURTH DAY of the Sacred Music Colloquium was just a day full of beauty! We were blessed to be able to have our Liturgies at St. Paul Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic cathedral with a huge pipe organ, in Pittsburgh today. It is definitely one of the best space for Mass and to sing in.
Mass was celebrated in Latin in the Novus Ordo by Fr. Eric Anderson today. The Mass was chanted for the most part and Palestrina’s Missa Lauda Sion was sung. After dinner, we had a Solemn Vespers in the Vetus Ordo for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The organist for the Liturgies today was Dr. Paul Weber and everyone were impressed by his improvisation on the antiphons and the Magnificat. I also had a chance to sing Dufay’s Ave Maris Stella under Charles Cole’s direction.
WENT TO the “Choir school panel discussion” for the breakout session today. On the panel were Charles Cole from the London Oratory, John Robinson from St. Paul’s Choir School and Michael Olbash from Pueri Cantores. I am no expert in the area of “Children’s Choir” and I am sure that Dr. Lucas Tappan can tell you more about that. But here is what I learned from the session.
The panelists point out that it is very important the children’s singing be tided to their spiritual life and the Liturgy of the Church. It is important that they understand what they are singing and their special roles in the Liturgy. The panelists suggested that children’s choir should sing at Mass or other liturgies as often as possible, or at least regularly. Michael Olbash also suggested that the choristers be vested during the Liturgy because their important role and function.
Regarding how to build a good choral culture, Cole and Robinson both agreed that the results are the key. Once the regular “performance” is established, we need to pick some beautiful repertoire, that are suitable for the Liturgy, and have the choristers to perform them to the highest artistic level. Children can always appreciate true beauty and we should never underestimate them. Choristers, their parents and other potential chorister are attracted and encouraged when they see the beauty in the results (performances). When other children are interested in joining and are being auditioned, directors need to focus more on the potential of the child instead of his or her current skill level, because children can learn quickly. That is how we can build a good and healthy choral culture.
Finally, here is a video from yesterday taken by Ben Yanke.
O Passio Magna by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski
O great Passion!
O profound wounds!
O immeasurable sorrow!
O most copious shedding of blood!
O most abundant outpouring of tears!
O surpasing sweetness!
O death suffered in every bitterness!
Give me eternal life.