Friday, July 16, 2010

Change coming...

We will soon be on the move again. We are being transferred again out of state, so will be finding out how things stand in our new place -- near Macon, GA.

In the time that I have left, I'll be working with the FW Schola Gregoriana to try to make arrangements for them to continue singing after our departure... also will be working with a new group trying to get things kicked off for a new schola up in Plano, TX.

There is so much to do in the time still left here. I'm working on a project with a friend to try to help spread the word about Sacred Music in a new way. Updates will be forthcoming when the project is ready to roll out.

This Sunday will be the last weekend we sing at Mass at San Mateo before Fr. Bob goes on vacation (and the schola, too, will be taking a needed break).

I posted a new link to a Vimeo production put out about 3 months ago by Corpus Christi Watershed... I really enjoyed it and think it has some great information for people out there. Take a look at it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Corpus Christi

The Ft. Worth Schola Gregoriana was asked to sing for at Immaculate Conception Parish in Denton for today on the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 6. Fr. Alfredo Barba called and invited the schola to sing for the first Mass of a newly ordained priest's (Fr. Amado Vallejo Garcia) first Mass there. The parish is much larger than San Mateo, with approximately 1200 parishioners at the 1:15 p.m. Mass.

We thought we would have to be splitting our forces because of the distance between the parishes and the Mass times. However, our wonderful, generous priest at San Mateo urged us to all sing for the Mass in Denton. The music plan:

Introit: Cibavit eos
Kyrie/Gloria: Mass VIII
Responsorial Psalm: Simple chanted Spanish (Mode 8)
Sequence (shortened version -- Ecce panis)
Alleluia: Caro mea (Chants Abreges)
Offertory: O Victima de salvacion (O Salutaris Hostia) 2 verses Spanish, 2 verses Latin
Offertory Proper: Portas caeli
Salve Regina (during incensation)
Sanctus/Agnus Dei: Mass IX
Communion: Hoc Corpus
Post-Communion: Anima Christi
Closing: Christus Vincit

Singing for the first time in a new place is always a bit nerve-wracking the first time, but all went well. The people there were so warm and welcoming and helped us a great deal. In fact, some of the musicians that sing for that Mass normally joined with us in a few of the chants with which they were familiar. In addition, since it was such a large number of people at Mass, they sang an additional song in Spanish during offertory and Communion.

Nineteen children received their First Holy Communion during Mass... we all received the special blessing given on the occasion of the first Mass of a newly ordained priest... it was a wonderful day. We ended Mass with one of our favorites (that we rarely get to sing) -- the Christus Vincit. I'm not sure anyone else enjoyed it as much as the schola did... it was a noisy, happy group of people leaving the church, so they may not have even heard it...

Final note: We received several very nice compliments about our singing there and may have even sparked some interest in getting another schola going in that area. A parishioner approached me about learning to sing chant after Mass. We are going to be in contact and see how we can work that out. It is a bit of a drive from where I live, but I'd be very happy to help get a group going and make the trek to help them -- I just probably can't do it every week.

God is good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Schola continues...

As we continue into our second year with the schola singing every Sunday at Mass, I am constantly being surprised by how easy it is to sing propers that we learned last year. For any would-be chant directors: "Take heart! The first year is the hardest... it gets easier and easier every year!"

We sang a fairly simple collection of chants during the Lenten season this year, integrating the traditional Latin chant hymns into the Sunday Masses during the 40 days. Parce Domine, Attende, Domine, Adoro te Devote... Ave Regina Caelorum.

We added a new Introit to our repertoire this year -- the Introit for the 1st week of Lent, Invocabit me. Also, we sang the Communion proper we learned last year again, Qui Meditabitur.

For Holy Week, we ended up singing more than last year. We added Holy Thursday this year. During Holy Days and special feasts, our parish always has a bi-lingual Mass, so last year we only sang on Good Friday.

On Palm Sunday, we sang:

Hosanna, filio David
Gloria Laus
Sanctus/Agnus Dei XVIII
Communion: Pater, si non
Post Communion: Anima Christi

For Holy Thursday, we sang the following chants:

Kyrie/Gloria VIII
Ubi Caritas (foot washing)
Ave Verum Corpus
Pange Lingua (transfer of the Blessed Sacrament)

In addition, we sang several English and Spanish hymns.

Good Friday is one of my favorites... we sang the Popule Meus again this year for the veneration of the cross. We also sang the Communion chant Pater, si non for the distribution of Holy Communion. It is the proper chant for Palm Sunday, but since there was no designated chant for Good Friday, it seemed a good choice.

For Holy Saturday, the schola did not sing, but I sang all responsorial psalms (plainchant, Mode VIII) and the first portion of the Exultet in English (up to the point where the deacon or priest only part begins), after which Father sang the rest in Spanish. I love the fact that the Spanish translation keeps in the part about the bees...

Easter Sunday had the schola singing again in the morning:

We sang the following chants (as well as some English hymns):

Kyrie/Gloria VIII
Victimae Paschali (sequence)
Alleluia - Pascha nostrum (from Chants Abreges)
Vidi aquam (sprinkling)
Regina Caeli (offertory)
Sanctus/Agnus Dei XVIII

During the Easter season, we have sung the chants we learned last year, and have added slightly to the propers we can sing.

Quasimodo (Introit, 2nd Sunday of Easter)
Vidi aquam (sprinkling rite every Sunday)
Victimae Paschali (octave of Easter only)
Gloria VIII
Regina Caeli
Sanctus IX (cum jubilo)
Mitte manum (Communion proper, 2nd Sunday of Easter)
Exultemus et laetemur
Ego sum pastor bonus (Communion proper, 4th Sunday of Easter)
Agnus Dei XVIII
Anima Christi

As with the Mass booklets from last year, I was able to sneak in a bit of information about why we sing Gregorian chant and what is sacred music. I took parts of the frequently asked questions from the booklet CMAA puts out and used them to try to get more understanding about what we are doing out into the pews...

As we get ready for Ascension Sunday and Pentecost, we are really enjoying revisiting our old friends from last year -- Viri Galilaei, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Veni Creator... We have added the proper Communion chant for Pentecost to our repertoire this year... Factus est repente. I love how the melody sounds like the text...

We are very lucky to have the opportunity to sing each week!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ordinary Time

As we are in the few weeks of Ordinary time between Christmas and Lent, our schola has been so happy to find old friends (chant propers) that we learned last year. This year we have been just adding to the repertoire that we began last year. With the addition of Offertory propers every other week or so, plus new chant Introit and Communion propers, we are gaining in experience with each passing month.

What we sang this weekend:

Introit: Adorate Deum (proper for Year C)
Kyrie: Orbis Factor
Gloria: Missa de angelis
Responsorial Psalm: Mode 8 chanted in English
Alleluia: Mode 6 chanted in English
Offertory: Dextera Domini (proper)
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Marian antiphon)
Sanctus: XVIII
Memorial Acclamation: English chanted setting
Our Father: chanted in English
Agnus Dei: XVIII
Communion Chant: Manducaverunt (seasonal)
Post Communion: Anima Christi
Closing Hymn: Sent Forth By God's Blessing

On alternate weeks, we sing more English hymns and some of the ordinaries in English. I think the biggest thing that has helped us along in using as much Gregorian chant as we do without a general revolt is this: Fr. Bob Strittmater sings the Mass. He was already singing his prayers and doing the sung dialogs with the people before our schola came into existence! Every week (except during Advent and Lent) he uses incense during the Mass.

Without him doing this, I am quite sure we would have more resistance to the efforts we are making. The schola would not be able to accomplish so much without his support and his own efforts at making the liturgy beautiful!

We are blessed!