HE LORD IS RISEN! Alleluia! I hope everyone had a blessed Holy Week. I had a very prayerful Sacred Triduum. All the liturgies at my parish went very smoothly. Some of you might already know, the parish I am assigned to for my pastoral year does not have a regular choir. We have a pretty developed cantor program, but our choir only sings twice per year, once for Christmas and once for the Triduum. I guess we don’t really have a choral culture here.
This Holy Week, I started a new Schola for the parish. It was very successful and we had many compliments from the parishioners and the clergy. There were seven singers in the schola and we learnt two pieces for the liturgies. I would like to share the two live recordings of our singing, even though they are not professional recordings. For a group that sang together in front of people the first time and only having half-hour-rehearsals for four times, I thought we did pretty well.
Nothing is impossible with God! It is possible to introduce a good choral culture to a parish that is not familiar with any choir. The key is to be hopeful and communicate with others, especially with the singers and the pastor. It is important to begin a choir with a small group of core members singing a simpler repertoire. As the music program develops, it will attract more people to join and the choir can work on some more complex pieces.
NOTHER WAY to promote a good choral culture at a parish is to invite guest artists to perform. Thanks to Msgr. Kurt Kemo, my pastor, Mark Dougherty, our church organist, and Prof. Nicholas Will, the director of the Franciscan University Schola, we are able to have the university’s schola to sing the 4:30pm Mass next Saturday. The Schola Cantorum Franciscana will be singing at the Ordinary Form Mass for the Third Sunday of Easter followed by a concert. The repertoire will include Gregorian Chant, Renaissance Polyphony and a few organ pieces played by the organ students. Inviting guest artists for special Masses or concerts is an excellent way to promote the choral culture. It increases the interest of the singers and help the faithful to appreciate in choral music. If you live around the Steubenville area, please join us for the 4:30 Sung Mass followed by a concert on April 9 at Blessed Sacrament Church, Wintersville, OH.