Life-changing liturgy

Tonight I returned home after attending the 2009 Sacred Music Colloquium in Chicago. From Monday evening, June 22, through this morning, we rehearsed Gregorian chant and polyphony daily, sang at Mass, and attended workshops and lectures. Tuesday morning after Mass I thought, "If we participated in Masses like this every week, it would change our lives." It is impossible to be indifferent to such a Mass. Such a Mass is so profoundly otherworldly, so oriented to the transcendent, so powerfully prayerful that it is impossible to be lukewarm. One must choose whom one will serve.

If you haven’t been, you can’t imagine the joy of being with and singing with 250-some like-minded people—all of them talented singers, music directors, and/or instrumentalists—who know the church’s teachings on sacred music, support them fully, and will never say "Why do we have to sing all this Latin?"

These Masses were the closest thing to perfect liturgies that I’ve ever seen or heard. The rubrics were respected. The church’s wishes for liturgical music were respected: full Gregorian propers for every Mass (except for Tuesday, for which English propers were sung) as well as Renaissance motets. For two of the Masses choirs sung polyphonic ordinaries (Mass parts).

You can listen to some of the sound files here.

Here is the advanced women’s chant schola (including yours truly) singing "Tu puer," the Alleluia from the Graduale on the feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist. Our conductor was Dr. William Mahrt, one of the finest chant scholars in the world. Dr. Mahrt is president of the Church Music Association of America.

Here is Cardinal George’s homily–with an excellent message for church musicians.

When the Gregorian Alleluia from today’s Mass is posted, I will post a link. It included the most beautiful solo chant I’ve ever heard, by a soprano who obviously has not only a profoundly beautiful instrument but also a great mastery of chant technique.

Did you say you are not yet a member of CMAA? Join this year for $36. Dues increase next year to $48. At any price, membership is a bargain and includes a subscription to the excellent quarterly journal Sacred Music.