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We Love You! • What keeps us going? Receiving messages from good people like you! We love hearing from you and try our best to respond.
Messages We Receive
Examples of emails sent to us recently.
Quitman, TX • I really enjoyed your response to Mike H’s letter and agree that he raised some interesting questions. It does seem strange to use a hymn tune as a setting for several different texts, but I can see this being a useful tool when some of those texts are specific to more than one time of the church year. Our small choir has learned quite a few new hymn tunes during these first two months of getting acquainted with the Brébeuf Hymnal. I look forward to revisiting these now mostly familiar tunes with new texts. G.S.
Netherlands • I am only a member of a schola cantorum in a little parish in the Netherlands. Our director gave us the advise on your site to listen to the singing of the gregorian chant of the time of the year. We have so little time to rehearse, that it helps just to listen and read the notes. Thank you for your care. Mrs Veronica V.V.
Wedding of W.P. • Good evening. First of all, blessed Advent and thank you for all that you do to support and spread the patrimony of the Church. My fiancée and I are using the Mass in Honor of Noël Chabanel for our wedding Mass. We love the Mass and have many ordinary/extraordinary friends celebrating with us and singing in our choir. Thank you for offering something in the vernacular that is not only singable but importantly, beautiful. We would like to acknowledge CCWatershed in the program and are wondering if you have a standard format. Thank you. Pax, W.P.
Musicology Ph.D. • Very happy to discover you took time to scan and upload the rare Münster Hymnal. I began my career at a German Catholic parish (now closed and converted into housing) in Philadelphia. Beautiful singing by your choir, provided by the examples in your article. Congratulations. So many of the pieces are also familiar from my Lutheran years. The Kyrie is part of the Deutsche Messe of Martin Luther. The Münster editors just took it over, as they did many other Gesänge. The Kyrie-Christe-Kyrie settings of the Clavierübung III are based on this (and there are many other German settings as well). Several melodies of the Singmessen are familiar, too. Was this hymnal just an organist’s book? The congregation would have had text-only books with all the verses (not uncommon in Sweden, I believe). “Tag des Zornes” is just a translation of Dies irae. P.S. I believe one of my college theology teachers studied in Münster. He mentioned a bishop who would ride around in a carriage. The Nazis were furious, but it was his right as a member of the nobility. Alas, Kardinal Graf von Galen died only a few weeks after receiving the cardinal’s red hat from Pius XII.
Indiana Choir Director • I thought I’d take the time to say this: This Christmas time, I’ve had the chance to sit down and play through the hymns in the Brébeuf Catholic Hymnal. Now, I’m by no means a great organist, and most of the Catholic hymnals I’ve played through have arrangements that are clunky and non-intuitive. The one happy exception was the New Saint Basil Hymnal. However, having sat down and played through the hymns as in the Brébeuf Hymnal, I can happily say that it has the best arrangement of hymns since the New Saint Basil Hymnal. They are both beautiful and accessible. You have gathered the best from Catholic Hymnals throughout the world, and it has done wonders promoting congregational singing in our church since we have adopted it. Thank you for all the hard work and dedication that went into making the hymnal, as well as making it so easy to use for both singer and pew-sitter. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Daniel K. • Mr. Ostrowski, your article on musical diversity was superb. I really love seeing the teacher side of you. Where does one find those Gregory Murray organ interludes? That Tota Pulchra Es was stunningly gorgeous…
Standing for Hellriegel • Thanks for all your efforts at Corpus Christi Watershed. I frequently refer new church musicians to your website for all the wonderful resources you provide for us. I particularly enjoyed your article with the original lyrics for Fr. Hellriegel’s “To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King.” I grew up in St. Louis in the 1960s and 1970s, I recall my father bringing me to Mass at Msgr. Hellriegel’s parish on the other side of the city in a very German section. When Msgr. walked into the church the whole congregation stood up. When he got to the sacristy they sat back down. This was a sign of respect paid to a priest that I had never seen before. I don’t know if that was a German custom or if it stemmed from their love of their pastor. My understanding is that Msgr. Hellriegel was a part of the New Liturgical Movement in the early years. He was leading his parish in developing a dialog style Mass. Eventually he saw that the movement was being taken over by a faction that had a very different view of the Mass and he dissociated himself from the movement.
From a Young Lady • Thank you for all you. Without you we wouldn’t be a good choir. Thank you for all you do for Holy Mother the Church. We are indebted to you. Prayers for your work continuously,
Rhonda R. • Thank you for the article by Mæstro Jerome Cole! We need to hear more success like this; they are very encouraging.
From a Catholic Priest • The videos recorded by the actress posted here are good. The one on the Hymnal’s two sections is quite the cliff hanger though. Definitely leaves me wanting to hear and see some examples from both parts. There are a couple of times where the delivery of the lines has a tinge of superiority to it that would be easily ignored by trads looking for trad music options, but might not win over somebody on the fence. I believe this is even acknowledged as a nod to having been perceived as “nasty”/mean towards other authors in the past. As a former pastor wanting to implement the traditional, it has to be sold well. Mainly because people don’t like change and perceive change as an attack. It’s a nice touch to include audio snippets at the end of the videos. Pax!
F. Herrera • I loved the guest article by Jerome Cole! Thank you!
Priest Praising • I just had to write back… There are lots more good people and great priests out there than the bad ones! My pastor, Fr Charles Pawlowski is one of them: One has to remember it’s the negative news that is published cause it sells! The good ones don’t get published enough if at all! But then I would say they’ll have their reward in heaven for all the wonderful things they do! We as church musicians need to thank God for these dedicated men and all that they do … oftentimes unseen! P.S. Love love love reading all your articles! A bright spot on my day! If you can believe it, we are still trying to complete our organ expansion and rebuild! Covid and the slowness of economic issues have lengthened the progress: on November 2nd, it will be 1 year that we have been without an organ!
Another Ph.D. in Musicology • Many congrats on your new child! Additionally a big thank you for the draft and news of your new Couture Chant undertaking. A friend and I—who have followed your debates over the EDITIO VATICANA and Mocquereau Method with enthusiasm, believing it to be the most important scholarly discussion in the field right now—are very happy to see a practical implementation of your work. I hope a publication may follow someday.
From a Young Musician • The work you and your team do is quite possibly the most valuable resource I have come across as a younger Sacred music director and organist. The Brébeuf Catholic Hymnal is my most used and referenced resource. Although my church has not adopted it yet (I will continue to work on that), it is my most prized liturgical resource … truly a work of sacred art and beauty! I have spent the last year consuming articles and purchasing some of the printed resources you put out. Any help for a young music director is fully and warmly welcomed. I believe that building young choirs and inspiring the youth toward sacred music might just be one of the most important tasks set before us. I know you might not have the time to respond but any and all resources for success in this area would be a God send! I wanted to see if there are any articles or plans for articles that list possible routes to take kids from simple monophonic singing (young beginners simple chant and unison hymn melody) to beginning harmony and polyphony (early intermediate 5-8th grade) and progressively harder works (high school and inexperienced adult choirs). There are of course lists of choral repertoire available in the secular or non-Catholic offerings. It would however be immensely useful to have a framework list of Catholic works that a newer choral director could use to build singers from the ground up and as a starting point to judge whether a certain level of choir is ready to tackle a piece. Sort of a “Catholic Choral Method” or “Catholic Choral Pedagogy.” I’m sure many of the great seasoned directors have this intuitively in their heads but surely someone has sat down to plan a logical sequence of learning through sacred music starting with year 1 to adult choir and beyond. Pax et bonum.
College Seminary • We received this message from a leader at Saint John Vianney College Seminary: “I watched the short videos posted here, and they look great! Very informative, to the point, and edifying. Thank you for sharing!”