Posted tagged ‘colloquium’

Vespers, SS. Peter and Paul, and the Holy Cross (Colloquium Post)

June 29, 2008

A forewarning – these are loosely connected thoughts…

At the Sacred Music Colloquium, I chose to be in the the polyphonic choir directed by Dr. William Mahrt. While I would like to say that the decision was reached with the knowledge of which music I wanted to sing, and the understanding that he was a brilliant director, it was based mostly on the thoughts that our main performance wasn’t until Friday and that music for Vespers had to be easier to sing than the ordinary of the mass written by Victoria, Morales or Monteverdi. Basically, it was a gut decision based on fear, although with a true desire to learn more about singing the divine office.  

For those who have never been to the Sacred Music Colloquium, attendees get to choose a Gregorian Chant choir (or schola) to be in, and a polyphonic choir. The former is based on your experience with chant, so I chose the fundamentals of chant, or the beginning level. For polyphony, you basically choose which main performance you want to sing (one of the polyphonic masses, or the Vesper service). As I mentioned before, I’ve never really sung sacred polyphony before, and have never really sung in a choir since the sixth grade. I’m what you call a musical enthusiast; I’ve had much more training on instruments than on voice.

But as is want to happen when the Holy Spirit is involved, my hurried choice ended up a blessing. Dr. Mahrt is a kind, gentle soul whose love and passion for the liturgy and sacred music shine forth even as he would walk down the halls of the Mundelein Center, where we rehearsed. From the permanent smile etched on his countenance, you could tell he was, as the Colloquium advertised, in musical heaven. But he is a brilliant mind as well, and while we rehearsed, he not only assisted us in our singing, but stopped at various points to explain the finer points of how the words and music we sang fit precisely to the form and function of the various points in the liturgy. For an example, I recommend seeing his article on “Bontà delle forme”, or how the form of the various chants of the mass suit the liturgical function, and yet also express uniformity.

So it was my pleasure and to my spiritual benefit to sing in his group. I also met some wonderful fellow tenors in my group, or should I say baritones attempting to be tenors. We sang with full heart and voice (any Fr. Rocca fans out there?) for Vespers of the Holy Cross from the old breviary. I also saw this as providential, since I am a product of a Congregation of the Holy Cross education. O Crux ave, spes unica! You can check out sound files here

So how am I connecting this to SS. Peter and Paul? Well, you may have noticed a successor of Peter, and that of Andrew, celebrating Vespers together yesterday (First Vespers for the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul). The Divine Office is a beautiful treasure of the Church, and I urge everyone out there to be familiar with it, learn how to say it, but also how to sing/chant it! We are entering the Pauline year, so there’s no better time to start.



Plenty more where that came from…

June 25, 2008

More sound files are available from the Colloquium at the Musica Sacra forums here.

Hat tip again to Aristotle at The Recovering Choir Director and a big thanks to him for recording many of these.

I have a couple very short videos to come…if I can convert them okay. Hopefully more posts tomorrow. I’m still recovering -more from the shock of going back to work – we’re pretty busy.

Art deco chapels at Loyola University – Chicago

June 25, 2008

My wife is an architect; I have been well trained. If ever I go somewhere by myself, my chief responsibility is to take a ridiculous amount of photos of the churches I visit.

So for your enjoyment, some nice examples of art deco sacred architecture (mixed with some gothic elements). The main chapel at Loyola, Madonna Della Strada, speaks for itself. The smaller chapel is the Stella Maris Chapel, which is inside an approximately fourteen story art deco building that used to be a women’s college. (Click the picture to see all the photos). 

Madonna Della Strada, Loyola University Chicago

One final note – while I have been trained to take photos, I haven’t been trained to take them well necessarily, at least, not as well as my wife.

Post-Colloquium – brevis

June 24, 2008

I have returned from the Colloquium, and I have a lot to write – although all my thoughts are still coalescing at the moment (and I’m trying to survive going back to work). But Aristotle (who by chance happened to be my roommate) at the The Recovering Choir Director has an .mp3 recording of a version of Tu Es Petrus by Palestrina. It was sung at one of the masses at the Colloquium. Check it out here!