HAVE NOT studied music for long, but I never knew a time without music in my life. Whether it was through dancing, playing piano, or listening to music at leisure, music was a deeply absorbing fascination. A basic, amateurish music education coupled with an unquenchable curiosity led me to start pursuing a Music degree with an emphasis in Composition.
Beyond My Imagination • The Sacred Music Symposium more than satisfied my craving for knowledge, taught me what is considered Sacred Music, improved my singing, stressed to me the important role of the choir during the Holy Mass, gave me insights into the composition of Sacred Music, and provided me with more resources to access it. It went beyond anything I ever thought of or expected from a five-day event, and it opened my mind to the world of Sacred Music—a world I was wholly unaware of before this summer.
Impressive & Invaluable • At the symposium, I learned from incredible, experienced musicians who are genuinely passionate about sacred music. The sheer amount of work that was put into the symposium booklets and each presentation, along with the knowledge they’ve acquired over years of directing, was impressive and invaluable. It was very stimulating to learn from Jeff Ostrowski and watch his zeal for music, to witness Dr. Alfred Calabrese’s stirring conducting and concentrated instruction, to see Richard Clark and Charles Weaver work with such gusto, and a privilege to sing Kevin Allen’s transcendent pieces. The entire thing was put together by Andrea Leal—and it went off without a hitch—with the assistance of the church’s magnificent organist William Fritz, a thoughtful and gentle person.
Extraordinary Form “Newbie” • From someone relatively new to the Traditional Latin Mass and singing in Latin, it was wonderful and inspiring to see so many well-seasoned musicians, choir directors, and volunteers from different parishes across the country and beyond so passionate about sacred music. When I joined a choir at a parish a little over a month before the symposium, I was exposed to singing chant and hymns. I had experience with choir at the university, but had never sung Gregorian chant. It was a blessing to have joined—and it helped me to engage more with the information I gathered at the symposium (owing to a basic familiarity). I found that even with my limited knowledge of sacred music, I was able to improve greatly. I hope to come back next year with more experience and friends from the university who are interested in sacred music and want to learn how to praise God more reverently and wholeheartedly.
My Personal Testimony • I had come to the symposium to learn more about sacred music, but came back with so much more: inspiration, a sense of community, fire for sharing this special kind of music, a deeper admiration for God and all His gifts, and an experience that I will never forget. The week of the Sacred Music Symposium was one of the most enjoyable, intense, and spiritually fulfilling experiences of my life.