Monday, September 8, 2008

Fort Worth Schola Gregoriana Update

As of this evening, our group can no longer be called the Anonymous Two. At our first rehearsal at the new location, we had a total of seven of us there this evening. Several have some experience in singing the Jubilate Deo chants for Mass, and all seemed very enthusiastic. I thought it was a great beginning...

We started out with some basic solfege and warm-ups, followed by the Kyrie XI, taught without music first. After we had the basic melody down pretty well, we sat down and looked over the notation. I was able to give a short lesson in neume-reading and square-note theory. We also went over the Sanctus XVIII and Agnus Dei XVIII, which were at least somewhat familiar to all.

Much discussion about the plans for the group and possibilities for the future took place along the way. Members of the growing schola are all thinking of others they want to invite to join us... we may end up with a larger group yet before long. I had brought along several copies of the Parish Book of Chant -- four of them wanted to buy their own copies this evening... I hope I run completely out and need to order another ten!

We talked about how our little group differs from what else is already out there... I think we have a niche here that we can help to fill in the diocese. Currently, at the cathedral, they do a pretty nice job of singing the same Sanctus and Agnus Dei from setting XVIII. They have also (from what I have heard) done other chant pieces from time to time with the regular choir. The local EF Mass schola does a lovely job of singing for the high Mass every 2nd and 4th Sunday here. The members seem to be very experienced and have a really nice sound.

The thing that I think is different about our little group is our focus on bringing chant to a Novus Ordo Mass. Also, the focus of our group is going to be more toward an ever-expanding role of chant in the liturgy, rather than the mixture of music types that is typically found with a traditional choir. With any luck, I'll have a few members who run with this and work to learn the notation well enough to be future Chant Intensive attendees... things are looking up in Ft. Worth.

I also have a meeting with another pastor, and a couple of the music directors for that parish this week... I hope to get permission to place my advertising flyers in the parish for our little schola and also to open the door for the possibility of singing there with our little group later on as our skills progress.

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