AST WEEK was one of the best weeks in my life! The Sacred Music Colloquium was a heavenly experience. I can totally see the Liturgy, along with the Sacred Music, as the foretaste of the heavenly banquette. I apologize for not being able to post this last update sooner due to my travel schedule. Here are some highlights from the last two days of the conference.
On the last day of the Colloquium, an Ordinary Form closing Mass was celebrated in Latin at the Duquesne Chapel. The Missa ad Majorem Dei Gloria by André Campra was sung under the direction of Maestro Wilko Brouwers and all the participants chanted the Te Deum at the end of the Mass to celebrate the conclusion of the twenty-fifth Sacred Music Colloquium. Fr. Robert Pasley asked us to offer up our works as a prayer and pray for all the church musicians everyday.
Dr. William Mahrt gave a short address at the closing brunch. He thank us for our support to the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) and ask us to continue to show our support to the organization. He said it is not easy to be church musicians and our jobs are full of challenge and sacrifice. He encouraged us not to give up when trials come and continue to take Sacred Music to the highest level. He then “send us forth” to the world to bring beautiful music to our parishes.
OW, let’s go back and take a look at the peak of the whole week: the Solem High Requiem Mass on Friday. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Robert Pasley, Chaplain of the CMAA, for all the deceased members. The Mass setting was written by French composer, Gabriel Fauré. The choir sang under the direction of Dr. Horst Buchholz, Vice President of CMAA, and was accompanied by organist, Bruce Ludwig. After four days of intense rehearsals, the choir brought the beautiful melodies to the Gothic cathedral and really expressed all the emotions in the music. Recordings of this Mass and other liturgies can be found here.
Fr. Pasley gave a sermon after the Mass and he explained the differences between a Requiem Mass and a normal Vetus Ordo Mass. The Mass for the dead in the Extraordinary Form always put the focus on the deceased which is why actions toward the congregation, like the sermon and the final blessing, are omitted. During the Mass, the priest, united with the faithfuls, pray for the deceased and ask God to show His mercy. During the Mass, the Church commemorates the death instead of the resurrection. Black vestments are used to express the sorrow and to remind us of death, which is the result of sinning. The gold/silver/white trims and patterns on the vestments represent our hope. The sequence Dies irae is sung or recited to remind us of the last judgement which we will all have to face.
In the 19th-20th Century French tradition, the Pie Jesu is sung in place of the Benedictus after the consecration at the Requiem Mass. In Fauré’s setting, the Pie Jesu is sung by a soprano soloist. Here is a video I took from the choir loft after the words of consecration. Dr. Cecilia Nam singing the beautiful Pie Jesu accompanied by Bruce Ludwick. And Dr. Horst Buchholz was the conductor.
HIS POST will conclude my report on the Colloquium 2015. The Sacred Music Colloquium XXVI will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, next year. It will be from June 20 to June 25. The venues will include the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and the Shrine of St. Joseph. I am already looking forward for the next gathering of church musicians!