I’ve bought a lot of chant books in the past two years, but my favorite remains A Gregorian Chant Master Class by Dr. Ted Marier, available from the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn.
The good sisters have done us all a favor by making it possible to buy the book online. Last time I ordered a copy—in September, as a gift for a friend—I had to pay the old-fashioned way, by mailing a check.
The book offers a handy chart of neumes (the symbols used to represent the notes), clear explanations of how each one is sung, detailed examples, and a CD with a series of short lessons. If you want to learn chant, this is an excellent resource to start with.
Our idea in starting the schola is that we will have no tie to any particular parish and no expectation of singing at any particular Mass. We would sing at Mass and prayer services (e.g., Vespers) by invitation and at our own concerts or in conjunction with other artists. Why? Parish affiliation can be both a blessing and a challenge. Ultimately, the only way to maintain artistic freedom is to be independent and to offer our services to parishes that are interested in what we have to offer. Of course, many of us (those who will be members and just don’t know it yet) will have parish commitments on Sunday mornings—with Catholic or other churches. Prime opportunity for us to perform might well be Saturday evening vigil Masses. Nota bene: perform is not a dirty word. Check out the first two definitions in the American Heritage Dictionary:
- To begin and carry through to completion; do: The surgeon performed the operation.
- To take action in accordance with the requirements of; fulfill: perform one’s contractual obligations.
—————- Now playing: Stile Antico – Libera nos I & II via FoxyTunes