RUTH, BEAUTY, AND GOODNESS: the Transcendentals. The underpinnings of any faithful Catholic music program. Some parishes are blessed to have long-established sacred music programs with Gregorian Chant scholas, polyphonic choirs, professional organists, and well credentialed directors. For these lucky few, the support and resources are there to make building on the Transcendentals second nature. But what about the ordinary parish musician? The budding accompanist who desires to develop his/her skills? The cantor who wants to be more prayerful when chanting? The parish priest who desires beautiful sacred music at his church? The seminarian who wants to understand what the Church expects of sacred music programs? They all want a faithful and quality sacred music program. But how do they learn about the Transcendentals? The Church’s instruction and legislation on sacred music? The practical application of these ideas? How do they learn to chant? To encourage congregational participation? A wonderful opportunity to learn will be offered in Colorado with the 2023 Colorado Sacred Music Conference, a first in what will hopefully become an annual event.
Conference Overview • On August 9th & 10th, Diana Corliss, in conjunction pastor Fr. Greg Bierbaum, will host the 2023 Colorado Sacred Music Conference at St. Mark Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch, CO. The intensive, two-day conferencewill immerse attendees in the foundations of building up a parish music program. The conference offers something for church musicians and clergy of all backgrounds, whether your music program currently sings Gregorian Chant or contemporary music, or any combination in between. The primary aim is to introduce directors, musicians, accompanists, singers, clergy, and seminarians to Catholic sacred traditions and relevant practical musical knowledge, and provide a fantastic networking opportunity with fellow Catholic musicians. Programming will include:
- Understanding the powerful role of beauty in our spirituality and what the Church teaches about sacred music in the Mass.o How to build a sacred music repertoire based on the Three Transcendentals of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
- Learning basic voice pedagogy, including: Improving the sound of your choir through a theological and holistic approach to vocal technique, and helping your choir to grow in skills like sight-reading, key familiarization, and tuning.
- The fundamentals of Gregorian chant.
- Basic and advanced accompaniment techniques.
- The opportunity to sing a variety of sacred music for Mass and Vespers.
- Breakout sessions for clergy and seminarians on the integral role of music in the Mass and how to become more confident singing particular Mass parts.
- Conversations about the joys, challenges, and questions that arise in music ministry.
Conference Faculty • Our conference faculty includes keynote instructor: Dr. Jennifer Donnelson-Nowicka, Associate Professor and Director of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, CA; Diana Corliss, Director of Sacred Music and Liturgy Coordinator at St. Mark Catholic Church in Highlands Ranch, CO; Richard Wheeler, Director of Music at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Littleton, CO; and Patrick Torsell, Associate Organist at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Littleton, and Staff Substitute Organist at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver, CO. VIP speakers and Mass Celebrants include Bishop James Golka of Colorado Springs and Fr. Greg Bierbaum of St. Mark, Highlands Ranch.
For the full schedule and registration details, visit:
Author’s Note • While my professional life has brought me back to a full-time role in the ski resort industry in Colorado, I’m thrilled to remain active in the world of sacred music, and honored to be a part of this conference! Since moving back to CO in 2020, I’ve returned to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (FSSP) in Littleton, CO as an associate organist, and fill in as a substitute director as needed. I’ve also joined the staff at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, CO as a substitute organist where I have the joy & privilege of playing the magnificent and mighty French-style Kimball-Morel organ in a stellar acoustic. I also sing tenor (and occasional countertenor) for Gaudium Verum, a Denver-based professional liturgical choir.