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.

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.

Ostrowski Commissioned to Write Psalm Music

Jeffrey Ostrowski of Chabanel Psalms fame was commissioned to write the music for the Responsorial Psalm to be sung at the seminar on the sung Mass next week in Chicago. There will be OF English Masses, OF Latin Masses, and EF Masses. Ostrowski’s setting is for the English OF.

Celebrant Seminar: Special Guest

We are very grateful that Bishop Joseph Perry, Aux. Bishop of Chicago, will celebrate the 4pm Mass for our group on Thurs, Oct 18th at 4pm at during the priest-training seminar Missa in Cantu.

Coffeehouse Polyphony

On Friday night of the Sacred Music Colloquium, we held a now legendary event in which people sight-read music, put on skits, and otherwise relaxed and had serious fun after a hard-working week. This small performance below features Michael Lawrence conducting Samuel Wesley’s “Si Iniquitates.”

Colloquium 2007: The Movie

Events in September

Be sure to check our events page for upcoming workshops in the Catholic music tradition. Two forthcoming in September:

  • Introduction to Parish Chant, Salinas, California, September 14-15, 2007, led by Kathy Reinheimer, at Madonna del Sasso Parish, 320 E Laurel Dr, Salinas, CA 93906.
  • Symposium on the Motu Proprio, Stamford, Connecticut, September 14-15, 2007, led by Scott Turkington.
  • Sacred Music Colloquium XVIII, Loyola University

    “Six Days of Musical Heaven”
    June 16-21, 2008 (Monday noon through Saturday evening)
    Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois
    Sponsored by the Church Music Association of America

    2008 Preliminary Schedule
    Register online or by mail
    Download the poster or brochure

    Gregorian Chant has been called the most beautiful music this side of Heaven. But as Pope Benedict XVI and the Second Vatican Council have emphasized, it is also integral to Catholic liturgical life and should be heard and experienced with wide participation in every parish. The Church Music Association of America is working to bring about this ideal with its Sacred Music Colloquium.

    We can’t be more thrilled about the location. Loyola University was founded as a Jesuit college in 1870. Its campus is located in a Chicago suburb (Evanston) that filled with lovely gardens, and sits right on Lake Michigan (our chapel is right on the lake!). It is a large university with 25,000 students and all facilities are modernized, yet it retains a retreat-like environment. Its staff is honored and excited to be hosting the Colloquium. The rehearsal rooms are spacious and glorious, and the dining halls are outstanding. The newly renovated chapel features soaring lines and live acoustics. The dorms are apartment-style, modern, and comfortable for everyone.

    But please know this: in 2007, the colloquium reached its capacity two months before the deadline. One reason for holding the Colloquium at Loyola is to accommodate more people. But even so, we must cut off registrations at a certain number. We have no idea when that number will be reached. But this conference has become the most in-demand sacred music gathering in the world, so you are well advised to register as early as possible.

    The primary focus of the Colloquium is instruction in chant and the Catholic sacred music tradition, participation in chant and polyphonic choirs, nightly lectures and performances, along with daily celebrations of liturgies in both English and Latin.

    Attendance is open to anyone interested in improving the quality of music in Catholic worship. Professional musicians will appreciate the rigor, while enthusiastic volunteer singers will enjoy the opportunity to study under an expert faculty. If you have never sung chant before, the colloquium will open a new world of beautiful sacred music to you, so you too are encouraged to attend.

    Attendees also benefit from camaraderie with like-minded musicians who share their love of the liturgy of the Church. Growing awareness and appreciation of chant and its solemnity has generated particular excitement about the conference this year.

    “The greatest need of liturgy today is the restoration of the sense of the sacred,” writes CMAA President William Mahrt of Stanford University. “Music has a principal role, since it expresses that sense of the sacred and sustains it through time.”

    A FEW COMMENTS FROM HUNDREDS:

    “I still can’t get over the unforgettable experience of attending the Colloquium. It was a real eye-opener and has enriched me musically, spiritually and intellectually. The instructors were excellent! The food and entertainment were great! The Masses were heavenly! I am already looking forward to the next one and hope I could bring along more people to help in restoring the Church’s musical and liturgical treasures.” Edwin Fernandez

    “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful work you all put into the Colloquium. This was my second year attending and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The information was great, the conducting was amazing and the organization was fabulous. I had tears in my eyes several times during the Masses… I attended the colloquium last year as a volunteer musician at our parish and this year I attended as music director for our parish. I was hired three months ago and since then we have completely revamped our 11:30 Mass. Our pastor and I did a ton of education through bulletin inserts and preaching. I immediately formed a schola….”

    “It was a wonderful experience for me, truly six days of heaven, and I will never forget it. I particularly enjoyed the conducting class, and the polyphony rehearsals, the lectures and organ performances and improvisations, all the Masses, of course. In short, everything that I attended. I know that this success did not come without a tremendous amount of work on everyone’s part…” Dove Pierce

    “The CMAA Colloquium has now indisputably claimed a place among prestigious and well-run music conferences. You will certainly want to attend next year’s event – this was my first time, and the experience was overwhelmingly positive!” Gary Penkala, Cantica Nova Publications

    LODGING AND FOOD: The Loyola University dormitories are very comfortable and livable. They are designed in an apartment style and each room or set of two rooms has a bathroom (so no walking down the hall). They come with linens, pillows, soap, and shampoo in each bathroom. The dining hall is located directly across the street, and features a wide variety of American and foreign cuisine, prepared with care. For those who choose the day rate, you can stay in one of many retreat houses or hotels in the Chicago area, and pay for whatever meals you choose to eat on a per meal basis (at extremely reasonable prices).

    REGISTRATION COST

    $675 for single room/full program including meals, and materials
    $575 for double room/full program, including meals and materials
    $360 tuition only, including materials (you can pay per meal as you choose)
    A deposit to reserve your spot is $75, with full payment due by May 15, 2008. Register first and then make your deposit here. For full payment, go here. You can also mail this registration form that includes your check or credit card number to: CMAA Colloquium Registration, 920 Sanders St., Auburn, AL, 36830.

    Some scholarships for Church musicians may be available. Write us with all relevant details, including your financial need. If you would like to assist a musician to acquire the skills and inspiration needed to restore sacred music to an honored place in Catholic liturgy, and earmark your payment to scholarships.

    If you need help posting these items, or have further questions, please write us.

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

    Church Music Association of America