O MANY OPINIONS, so many choices; how does one format a Liturgy with so much music available? Well, in Littleton, Colorado, we have a pre-set format when it comes to chant—the Liber Usualis—and the rest is determined by a simple formula. That being said, Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s website/choir page is not a blog, but a place where soon all copyright-free music scores that the church offers (and we can edit for electronic transfer) will be available for musicians to download and use. I wanted to make sure word got out, and thanks to CCW that’s going to happen.
Before I go any further, here’s a brief sample of what Sacred music is like at our Colorado parish. As a bonus, you get a wonderful Palestrina score for SOPRANO-ALTO-BARITONE that might come in handy!
I’m so very appreciative of the plethora of great traditional blogs that are online now. Some are quite radical, but many are helpful and show a great spirit of unification (real charity) in the church regarding not only in the EF but also in the post-conciliar Masses. I’d like also to offer my thanks to CCW for the great articles and blogs offered there. Many churches now resound with music due to the dedication of bloggers and musicians, all helping the faithful to raise their souls to God and Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Now, what that means is being faithful to rules regarding music for the Liturgy and there is where disagreement seems to begin.
There are lots of ideas online regarding what it takes to restore sacred music and I’ve found a great deal of those opinions helpful in planning any given Sunday. Our Lady of Mount Carmel decided to go with a very simple focus. Under the patient and holy direction of Fr. James Jackson we decided that a percentage focus on Chant/Polyphony/Hymns was necessary. Since the processional and recessional was sufficient to cover the hymns portion of the liturgy, we usually leave the hymnody to that place. Our Schola Cantorum sings the Gregorian Propers every Sunday unless there are polyphonic Propers that are part of the Mass of the day. Our Parish is supported by the wonderful priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter which means we get to have the EF Mass all the time and use the Liber Usualis for our calendar. During Holy Week we have full Gregorian Tenebrae in addition to the liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday Vigil. Soon, we’ll be adding the Matins of Christmas. Recently we’ve acquired the rare and beautiful chants for that ceremony, and will soon post those for anyone to use. The treasures of the church are to be shared—we at OLMC firmly believe that—and so all our music editings are completely copyright-free, with only a Creative Commons request at the bottom. We have even had polyphony written for us in the late Renaissance style, and a CD of the live recording will be ready soon.
Here’s the choir of Our Lady of Mount Carmel singing an Ave Maria setting by Parsons:
So, chant 70% of the time, polyphony 20-25% of the time, and hymns at the ends and possibly 5% of the time during Mass. As the Second Vatican Council has asked…. chant (primacy of place) then/polyphony/hymns as commanded by Pope Pius XII and many other popes.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is located at:
5612 S. Hickory Street
Littleton, CO 80120
We hope you enjoyed this guest article by Rick Wheeler.