HEN the organizers of the Sacred Music Symposium started the conference five years ago, no one could have imagined how consequential it would become, or how far-reaching its influence would be. We have witnessed a ripple effect work its way outward from every single Symposium thus far—even the one that, this year, never took place due to Covid-19.
The Symposium committee had no idea this lovely surprise (see below) was in the works, but I think I can speak for us all when I say: this group has done amazing work. In a particular way, I was thrilled to notice several of the singers whom I had the honor to train (for our Schola Cantorum in Las Vegas). Our conference is all about teaching and inspiring people to spread the use of sacred music in their own circles, especially in service to the sacred liturgy. The people you will see in this video come from very diverse backgrounds. But thanks to the FSSP Sacred Music Symposium, they have formed bonds of friendship that span time and distance. Bravo!
Their first video received more than 1,200 views on YouTube in a single day:
I suppose somebody could xerox copy the score from the Symposium booklet, but we hope you won’t do that. Instead, please support this wonderful composer by purchasing his musical scores:
* Purchase Score • Three Motets (Kevin Allen)
—“Ave Maria” (SATB); “Prayer to St. Michael” (SATB); “Salve Mater” (SATB).
The Story of the Brébeuf Virtual Choir
By Miss Sarah Halas
ORPUS Christi Watershed’s annual Sacred Music Symposium in Los Angeles, California, is an event many Catholic choristers and music directors have looked forward to each year for the last 4 years. It has been a place for them to meet and form lasting friendships with fellow like-minded Catholic musicians of all ages from around the world. Many of the participants from the last 4 years have kept in touch over an instant messaging chat. Most unfortunately, this year’s Symposium was canceled due to restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. When this announcement was made, the whole chat group was saddened but not discouraged in their music-making. These same musicians are all stuck at home away from their choirs and parish families so they have a lot of free time on their hands. So one day, one of the chat members, Miss Sarah Decker, suggested putting together a virtual choir recording. Almost all of the members delightedly jumped on the idea and in just over a week, put together an inspiring polyphonic motet video.
They chose Kevin Allen’s Ave Maria, which was composed for and debuted at Fr. Luc Poirier’s First Mass during the Sacred Music Symposium 2019. The members of the virtual choir thought it very fitting to honor our blessed mother Mary in the month of May. They hope that this piece will lift souls towards Heaven and aid in Marian devotion. Most of the project participants had learned and performed Allen’s Ave Maria under the direction of Mæstro Richard J. Clark at last year’s Symposium. Some, however, did not attend last year, but in years prior. Consequently, they didn’t know the piece. Nevertheless, these talented singers arose to the occasion, learning and recording their parts in a matter of days. Miss Phoebe Wing graciously created MIDI files for the singers so they could all keep together. Dr. Henrique Coe, assisted by Mr. John Rigney, edited and compiled the audio and video. All of the members worked wonderfully together to make this project a success.
During the process, Mr. Christian Ryan decided the virtual choir group needed a name. Ideas were thrown around, but the members did not take long in deciding on the name “Brébeuf Virtual Choir” under the patronage of St. John de Brébeuf. A logo was zealously drafted by Mr. Francisco Elias Duran and Miss Bernadette Rigney. The Latin quote on their logo comes from the first line of the Introit for the feast of St. Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf and Companions; “These are they who are come out of great tribulation…” This line also seems fitting since this music has come out of great tribulation amid the current pandemic. The mission of the Brébeuf Virtual Choir is to promote Sacred Music especially during this time when many are deprived of it. All the members have been blessed to work together and record this beautiful piece of sacred music. They hope it blesses those who hear it just as much! The Brébeuf Virtual Choir plans on recording and releasing more videos so please stay tuned!
The members of the Brébeuf Virtual Choir would like to thank all the faculty and staff of the annual Sacred Music Symposium for their hard work, dedication, and inspiration. Without this event, the members of the virtual choir may never have met! Even though the event had to be canceled this year, they look forward to next year’s Symposium!