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!