After hearing amazing stories from various chanters, I supposed I should write something to report the chant activity at N.
Right after the chant intensive workshop, I went to Quebec city for the International Eucharistic Congress. There was a 3-mile long Corpus Christi procession in downtown Quebec city. A friend of mine in the schola and myself started singing Gregorian chants during the procession. We sang Salve Regina, Tantum ergo, Pange Lingua, Missa de Angelis, Credo III. Gradually, some people around us (mostly young people and seminarians in their twenties like myself) started joining us. Later on, we found older people (over 60) joined us singing. It's very interesting so see that young people like us can connect with older Catholics in such a unique, and CATHOLIC way. After we were done singing Tantum ergo, a Canadian gentleman chanted the first part of the versicle: Panem de caelis praestitisti eis, and then an African nun 5 feet away responded him by chanting the second part of the versicle: Omne delectamentum in se habentem. I was deeply impressed by that scene. An African nun, a Canadian man, and myself (who was born and raised in Hong Kong) had no problem communicating our faith at all because we sing the same chants everywhere in the world. I was like...wow...that's REALLY CATHOLIC. Having people sing the Credo in Latin in international gathering of Catholics exemplifies the universality of the Catholic Church much better than having 10 different languages sung in the same Creed. And I'm glad that we did sing the Credo in Latin at the big Mass in the Eucharistic Congress. They actually used a lot more chants than I expected. The Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Orbis Factor were used almost daily during the Congress. Pater Noster and all the responses before the Gospel and Preface were sung in every Mass.
About the schola at my parish:Our first schola was formed last Oct to prepare for a EF Pontifical High Mass last Dec. After that Pontifical Mass, we have been singing at Mass once a month because most of the members couldn't read music and it took us a whole month to get a whole set of Propers (for 1 Mass) learned. We do sing the complete Gregorian Ordinary and Proper though, although we only have 6 people (3 men and 3 women). I don't know what has happened in these past few months (must be the Holy Spirit)....but now we found ourselves learning a new set of Gregorian Propers (not psalm tones) every week. We have always sung a capella since we never have an organist (i am usually responsible for keeping the pitch because of my background in playing violin). Now I look back and I'm still amazed at how far we have come from. When we started, we had an ex-Benedictine monk to teach us. But then he left last May for personal reasons and I had to take over the schola. I'm still very thankful for Scott for whatever he has taught us. I think I have gained a much deep appreciation of chants from the workshop. Right now, we are preparing for a Pontifical High Mass (Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross) next month. We'll be singing full Gregorian Ordinary and Proper, together with Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, Pange Lingua, Jesu dulcis memoria, Adora te devote, and CHRISTUS VINCIT as the recessional. We may even sing the Te Deum if we can find a relic of the True Cross for Procession.
Thanks be to God!I Just thought that this would be an encouragement for any starting schola. We went through the whole process of starting one and now we are seeing the fruits coming out of it. It's beautiful.Have a blessed day!
Ad Jesum per Mariam
Here is another recent message from a fellow attendee:
The Chant Intensive and Colloquium were life changing events for me! For the last year and a half or so we've been singing proper introits, offertorios, and communios at N. We sing these in English to simple psalm tones -- based on the Anglican Use Gradual but with the approved RC translation of scripture (cross-checked in the Graduale Romanum to ensure we have the right text for the day). For the introit the cantor sings the antiphon then congregation repeats, cantor sings verse and Gloria Patri, then all repeat antiphon. Offertorio is cantor solo. Communio is presented in the manner of a responsorial psalm. After our two weeks at Loyola things changed a bit! Now the English offertorio and communio are preceded by yours truly chanting the proper from the Graduale Roman. So far this has been well received, and I think my accuracy is improving week by week. I am really enjoying preparing those chants each week -- I find that even more intellectually rewarding than crossword puzzles! I'll be teaching the Kyrie from the Missa Orbis Factor to the choir when we resume rehearsals next month, and we are still celebrating the Extraordinary Rite first Sundays at 5 p.m. My pastor is planning to attend the Colloquium next year!
Things are looking up here as well... as more develops, I'll post an update. This week, our fourth rehearsal for A-2 (Anonymous Two), we continued our work on the ordinaries for the Mass. This included:
- Kyrie Orbis Factor
- Gloria VIII
- Pater noster
- Mysterium Fidei
- Sanctus XVI
- Agnus Dei XVI
We even had time to do a quick run-through of the Ave Maria. That was our only new chant for the week. Our plan now is to get very solid on all the ordinaries of the Mass (leaving the Credo for later). Then, we'll start working on some seasonal Communion chants and chant hymns. After we have a bit of a repertoire, we'll do more work on propers. We had a very good discussion about the 'other appropriate song' option that can be done instead of propers at a NO Mass and the fact that singing for a Novus Ordo Mass when you are a new schola does give us some needed flexibility.