In the summer of 1991, the first year of the CMAA Sacred Music Colloquium, I had been a Catholic for slightly over one year. I had procrastinated about entering the Church because of the dreadful liturgies with equally dreadful music that I had witnessed, but finally I resolved that this was not a reason to delay.
I happened to see a small newspaper clipping announcing a new conference on sacred music to be held at Christendom College. I don’t remember how I got the clipping; perhaps someone had sent it to me. In any case, it looked like a really interesting conference, but for various reasons I could not attend the very first Colloquium, and, in fact, I did not make it until 1994. Since then I have only missed twice.
What I found at the Colloquium was a group of fellow Catholics dedicated to goodness, truth, and beauty. I learned that there actually existed Catholic parishes where Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony were sung. It was such a comfort to meet other likeminded Catholics, and I treasure the friends I have made through the Colloquium. In those early days I had the privilege of getting to know the heroes of sacred music—Father Robert Skeris, Monsignor Richard Schuler, Dr. Theodore Marier, Maestro Paul Salamunovich, and Father Ralph March. These were the men who labored and fought through Vatican Council II and its aftermath.
As the years went on we were joined by Dr. William Mahrt and a host of other gifted and dedicated leaders in the world of Catholic sacred music. The first twelve Colloquia were held at Christendom College, followed by five years at Catholic University. The Colloquium expanded in size and moved several times to accommodate the growing numbers and the geographical distribution of the CMAA membership. In 2007, the last year we were at Catholic University, when the Colloquium registration was bursting with 144 attendees, it was decided to move to some other locations that could handle as many as 250 people. What a change from the early days, when attendance was typically about forty!
In the years that followed, we have been in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. As the Colloquium grew, so too did the number of young people attending; it is truly wonderful to have so many of the younger generation enthusiastic for sacred music. Last summer, in Indianapolis, when I sat back and looked at my fellow Colloquium attendees, I saw the saints—joyful in persecution and striving ever upward to give glory to God through music.
I hope that you will consider donating to the CMAA Annual Fund. There are so many ways that your gift can further the cause of sacred music. Just visit the following link: http://musicasacra.com/about-cmaa/annual-fund/
Dr. Susan Treacy
Professor of Music, Ave Maria University
CMAA Board Member-at-large
Tired of cold weather?
You still have time to make plans to come and sing with the Church Music Association of America in Phoenix… only 30 days away!
The courses will take place at the Phoenix Cathedral of SS Simon and Jude, January 5-8, 2015.
Make plans to join us for one of our two courses:
Sing the Mass (intended for priests, deacons and seminarians and others interested in training them) with instructor Matthew J. Meloche
Chant Intensive (beginning to intermediate chant training) with instructor Jeffrey Morse
Both courses run concurrently and will culminate in a shared liturgy on Thursday, January 8th. If you have questions, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s not too late… register today!
In the three years since CMAA published Adam Bartlett’s collection of antiphons and psalms Simple English Propers, many parishes have adopted the SEP and sung the melodies without organ accompaniment, as indeed they were designed. But through that same time we’ve also been asked whether we would ever offer a companion set of organ accompaniments.
In 2014, composer Ryan Dingess has fulfilled that request by publishing his own two-volume set to accompany the Simple English Propers. Ryan has kindly allowed CMAA to offer the books as a free PDF download (Volume I | Volume II). In addition, the volumes are available in hardcopy form from lulu.com.