ATRICK WILLIAMS maintains the cantatorium website and serves as organist and choirmaster at Mater Misericordiae Parish and Saint Edward the Confessor Catholic Church. These are churches of the diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, served by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) with exclusive use of the pre-conciliar rites in Latin. Previous positions include the Cathedral of Saint Paul, EWTN, and the Cathedral of Saint John Berchmans (Shreveport, Louisiana). Born in Savannah, Georgia, he began choral singing at an early age and converted to Catholicism during his senior year of high school. Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His teachers have included Suzanne Woodrum, Jim Cook, Warren Hutton, Larry Smith, John Ray, Rachel Mathes, and Claudia Kennedy. In addition to interests in chant, polyphony, choral, vocal, and keyboard works, and other classical music, he enjoys “fasola” singing in the traditional American style. His article about the chant recordings of Father Roman Bannwart was published in Sacred Music, and he has a number of free choral editions available at CPDL.
“My first exposure to Gregorian chant live on a regular basis was at the age of 17, and I took to it like a duck to water. It was much different from the church music I grew up with, which was a mixture of traditional English hymnody (Watts, Wesley, etc.), anthems, and seasonal cantatas or major works, with some gospel and a bit of more contemporary Christian music, along with organ and other instrumental music. Like many of my traditional Latin Mass colleagues, I now sing and direct a style of music that I neither grew up with nor sang liturgically on a regular basis under another director, at least not for long. Of course we sang some Renaissance polyphony in my church and school choirs, but it was far from our core repertory. I hope that the young people of my parish are getting some of the experience I wish I had gotten myself. Apart from about nine months as associate organist under the late Calvert Shenk and six weeks as a postulant with the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius in Chicago, I have been largely self-taught as far as chant is concerned. I think it’s safe to say that neither I nor my professors would have predicted that I would immerse myself in historical musicology to this extent. My position at a church where Gregorian chant is the backbone of the musical repertory and my work with professional singers from outside the parish have given me an ideal vantage point to perceive many of the flaws in the Solesmes method and theory as well as mainstream Gregorian semiology and accentualist (“rhetorical”) approaches to chant.”
Mr. Williams may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org