Wilko Brouwers, a chant master in the Netherlands, has successfully dealt with need for modern materials to raise children’s choirs, and put together this program based on a lifetime of learning and reflection on a century of experience. The result is nothing short of brilliant. It includes a workbook and a teachers manual. The program is simple, short, and focused mainly on having the kids sing chant, one step at a time. Maestro Brouwers worked with Arlene Oost-Zinner to produce a translation from Dutch to English. This is a harder task than it would first appear because music and text are inseparable. But after much back and forth, a stable English version emerged. The title is Words with Wings. This a gigantic breakthrough for the future of Catholic children’s choirs. At last now, parish will have a place to begin, a method for getting started, a goal in mind, and materials that pull all of this together. This is more than a work of cultural reconstruction, though it is that. This is about the future of art in the liturgy, which is to say, the future of art and faith. It has to begin with the young if it is going to really take root in Catholic life. But the usefulness goes beyond the Catholic parish. Since the ancient world, people have understood that music is an essential part of education. This simple and clear program of 20 lessons allows this wisdom to enjoy a new life within any educational context.
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