Church Music Association of America

Upcoming Church Music Events

The CMAA is pleased to post information about your sacred music event. Contact us for details. See the forum for more church music events. If you are thinking of organizing a workshop, here are some practical suggestions, including a link to information on how to create your own online registration form.

Sep 2009: Fall Pilgrimage: Gregorian Chant at the National Shrine, Washington, D.C.

Details and registration information here

Monteverdi Motets, Vocal Pedagogy, and what, Chironomy?

It’s all part of Sacred Music Colloquium XIX, coming up in a few weeks at Loyola University. Aside from daily chant (five scholas!) and polyphony (five choirs!) rehearsals, this year we’re featuring breakout sessions that go into more depth in the areas you’ve asked for. The difficulty for most of us will be deciding which to attend. More details can be found here.

New Music Reading Session

There is a new music reading session on Saturday of the Sacred Music Colloquium. If you have a piece of music you would like to submit for inclusion in the 2009 new music volume, please send it to newmusic@musicasacra.com in PDF format by June 10. Each composer may submit up to two pieces, for a total limit of 15 pages. A piece is either a motet or a Mass movement, Latin- or English-texted; hymns are permitted but not encouraged. In your e-mail, be sure to include your contact information for inclusion in the book. As this is a composers’ forum as much as a reading session, participation is limited to registered Colloquium participants. There is a $20 submission fee, paid through paypal or by check to our programs office (address in the footer of this page). The fee covers the cost of printing the volume, and saves you from having to make 200 copies of each of your submitted compositions.

Registration deadlines upon us

The May 1st registration deadline for the Chant Intensive has passed. We can squeeze a few more in, but you need to register this week. As for the Sacred Music Colloquium the registration and payment deadlines are May 15th. Register now to reserve your spot.

Summer Programs filling up

The CMAA’s nineteenth annual Sacred Music Colloquium is filling up in record numbers. The registration deadline is still two months away, but rooms are going quickly. In fact, if you were planning on attending and staying in a single room, be advised that as of today there are only 25 rooms remaining at the lower price. Register today.

Still haven’t decided? One look at this year’s playlist is sure to sway you. Buchholz conducting Haydn with orchestra? Brouwers conducting a polyphonic Requiem? Turkington conducting the Byrd for Five? Countless treasures await us, including lectures by Dr. William Mahrt and Fr. Frank Phillips, an organ recital by Brother Jonathan Ryan of St. John Cantius, a new motet by Chicago’s own Kevin Allen, not to mention fellowship with old friends and new.

Don’t forget that the week before the Colloquium Scott Turkington will be teaching the second annual Summer Chant Intensive. Graduates of his week long courses are changing the shape of music in parishes all over the country. The deadline for registration is May 1st.

If there is someone you know who isn’t quite convinced he should be attending, consider giving him (or her!) Jeffrey Tucker’s book, Sing Like a Catholic. Proceeds from all sales go directly into the Colloquium scholarship fund. Purchase the book here.

Sound files from Colloquium 2008

Here is Ave Maria by Anton Bruckner, sung as the recessional to the final Mass of the Sacred Music Colloquium XVIII, with 240 singers conducted by Horst Buchholz, sung at Madonna della Strada Chapel, Loyola University, June 22, 2008, recorded by Corpus Christi Watershed.

Here are more sound files.

Promote the Colloquium

If you have ever run a workshop, you know that one of the largest expenses of time and money involves just getting the word out.

The CMAA faces this problem too with its Sacred Music Colloquium, June 16-22, Loyola University, Chicago. A national mailing would be prohibitively expensive. Just like last year, we need your help.

If you would like to distribute brochures for the colloquium, can you write us and say how many you will need? We’ll get them right to you.

And, truly, forwarding the link brochure, and talking it up among friends and colleagues, is a great help too.

Thank you so much!

Scholarship Funds Needed

Dear Supporter of Sacred Music,

We would like to tell you of a wonderful emergency that we are facing. From all over this country, we have been flooded with registrations for two programs: the annual Sacred Music Colloquium and the Chant Intensive. Both are held at Loyola University in Chicago in June 2008.

I am an instructor at both, and I can’t wait!

We are facing unprecedented demand, and the reason is clear. Gregorian chant in our Catholic parishes is making a huge comeback. People all across this country—and around the world—are working hard to learn to sing it and make it part of our Catholic lives again.

This is a moment that many of us have waited for and work for, for decades. The Church has given us such beautiful music to go with the Mass. It is an answer to prayer that there is now intense interest in hearing this music not just on CDs but in our own parishes, as an essential part of our liturgy.

What is the emergency?

We have received many messages from young music students, young music directors, young priests, and seminarians that they cannot afford the full cost of the program. Now, as a non-profit organization on a shoe-string budget, we have made the price as low as we possibly can. Many of these people will have to decline to attend if they cannot find the money.

Why does this matter? Because this is the future of music in your parish at stake.

The people who train at these programs come back and immediately start using what they have learned. They train others in their parishes. The movement catches fire. People’s spiritual lives are renewed. Most important, the music that is uniquely appropriate for Mass (it should have “pride of place,” said the Second Vatican Council) is again heard at Mass where it belongs.

Have you heard Gregorian chant at Mass? If so, you know what it can mean. It is the sound of the faith, even old and ever new. It is sung prayer. It has a quality that meets the very definition of sacred music. Popes from all ages have taught this. Benedict XVI has reinforced this many times in his sermons and writing. But it doesn’t require an encyclical to make the point. It is there in the hearing.

Think about what chant would mean in your parish. It can make a huge difference in the way the faith is presented. Instead of tunes drawn from popular culture, chant is rooted in our history like not other music. When we sing it, we are singing the music of the saints and martyrs.

Given the state of Catholic music today, many people think there is little hope. The truth is otherwise. What is missing are people with the training necessary to take the step. They need to know how to chant the music, pronounce the Latin, handle the phrasing, and integrate it with the liturgy so that we don’t just sing at Mass; we sing the Mass itself.

Some of those waiting for scholarships are young priests and seminarians. Others are young music students who are considering vocations. They will return to parishes and schools with a burning passion for chant. They will be an essential part of a bright future.

And not just chant: the training we provide encompasses its successor music, polyphony of the Renaissance, which the Second Vatican Council also named as uniquely suitable. That means the music of Palestrina, Byrd, Victoria, and all the great composers of that period.

The causes of the problems in Catholic music are many, but the answer of education has the highest prospect for success. It’s been proven for several years. Most of the new scholas starting out in today’s parishes have formed as a direct result of the programs of the CMAA.

I personally have a strong interest in seeing our scholarship budget grow. I have received messages from these young people, and I so badly want to see them attend. We are on the verge of something truly wonderful. There is opportunity for you to help.

If we don’t receive support, we will have to tell these people (and there are more of them every day) that there are no funds for them. They need to know soon so that they can make their summer plans. I would like to be the bearer of great news!

Would you please consider it? A gift of $1000 would make an enormous difference. Gifts of $250 or even $100 can make a difference. It will permit us to begin to have the means to bring some of these people to our programs and train them to play a special role in the future of Catholic music.

Your help can make the difference. Go to musicasacra.com/donate to make a contribution. Please know of our deep appreciation for your support of this important work.

Sincerely,

Scott Turkington
Stamford Schola Gregoriana
Church Music Association of America

June 2008: Chant Intensive

New in Events: Chant Intensive, with Scott Turkington, June 9-13, 2008, Chicago.

Success at the Celebrant Workshop

The celebrant workshop (Missa in Cantu) went spectacularly well. A total of forty priests and seminarians attended. They participated in daily sung liturgy in all forms. St. John Cantius hosted the CMAA and were wonderfully helpful. Many notes of appreciation have come our way, but this one was particularly striking:

“Thank you so much for the workshop in Chicago. It was eye-opening and life changing. It is hard to explain but everything seems different now. From not singing really anything, to this past Sunday I sang the collects, intoned the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, and butchered the final blessing. Oh well, you can’t win them all.”

Many others have reported excellent progress, and after only a two-day workshop. Thank you to all for your support.

More information on events is at our past events archive page.

Church Music Association of America