Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chant Intensive or Colloquium

Since the announcement of the upcoming 'Chant Intensive' (June 9-13, 2008) course, to be directed by Scott Turkington (pictured), I have been thinking about my desire to learn more about the direction and interpretation of chant and this wonderful opportunity to really dig into it. I have been registered for the CMAA Colloquium, which follows the Chant Intensive course in Chicago (June 16-22, 2008), since it was first announced some time ago. Knowing full well that I cannot possibly be away from my family for two entire weeks in the middle of the summer, I have had to make a decision about whether I should attend the Colloquium or the Chant Intensive course.

Month by month, week by week, my understanding and comfort with the music of the chant increases as I learn more, sing more, direct more. But still, after only a year or so under my belt, I am such a novice. Although I can now easily sight-read chant pieces (navigating the 1/2 and whole steps fairly easily) and understand the various neumes pretty well -- even if I can't always come up with the proper name for them immediately -- I have yet to really dig into the chironomy lesson that is offered at the front of the Liber Usualis. My understanding of the proper methods of directing with the arsis and thesis concepts in mind still needs work.

So... I've decided that I still need a bit more self-study before attending the Chant Intensive course. I am thinking I'll save that for next summer (betting and hoping that there will be another such course next year). I'll continue my own study and try to increase my home book library on chant books. With another year of schola directing under my belt by next year, I should be better able to get maximum benefit from the course.

I'll be among the 500 or so attendees at the Chicago Colloquium this year then... having attended the Colloquium in Washington, D.C. last year, when the 140+ attendees rocked the CMAA world, I am very curious to see how this dramatic increase (again) will work logistically.

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