In a time when what the summer holds seems unclear, here’s something to look forward to! St. Joseph’s Seminary has made a transition of all summer classes to an online format, and you can take up to 13 graduate credits in sacred music. Classes are taught by Drs. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka, Crista Miller, and Timothy McDonnell.

More information and registration available here.

Principles of Sacred Music
Through a survey of the history of sacred music and reading of Church and papal legislation on sacred music, students gain an understanding of the principles which shape Western sacred music and the musical structure of the Roman rite. Special focus is placed on current documents which govern music in the Church. The course also features in-depth discussion of practical issues including the formation and management of sacred music programs in parishes, active participation, progressive solemnity, the use of instruments in the sacred liturgy, resources available for music directors and choristers, and other relevant topics. Asynchronous on-line June 1–July 26, synchronous (live) online July 27 and 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fulfills course requirements for the St. Cecilia Academy certification. Taught by Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka.

Principles of Chant
Serving as an introduction to Gregorian chant, this course will cover neumatic notation, Gregorian modes, ear training and sight reading, vocal technique appropriate for singing chant, and Latin pronunciation. Special focus will be placed on rhythmic interpretation of the chant according to the classical Solesmes (Mocquereau) method. By the end of the class, students will have confidence singing from the Graduale Romanum, solfège, and psalm tones, and some experience in conducting (chironomy). Additional topics introduced in the class include the history of Gregorian chant, rehearsal techniques for teaching chant to children and adult choirs, and an introduction to chant resources in English and Spanish. Synchronous (live) online July 13–17, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Fulfills course requirements for the St. Cecilia Academy certification. Taught by Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka.

Teaching Gregorian Chant to Children
This 5-day intensive course will present pedagogical techniques for teaching Gregorian chant to children and is ideal for Catholic schoolteachers, directors and teachers of religious education, directors of children’s choirs, and parents. Special emphasis will be placed on the Ward Method, a comprehensive music education method designed to teach sacred music to children. Other topics addressed will include resources for teachers, other teaching approaches, and the logistics of developing a sacred music program for children. Synchronous (live) online July 20–24, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Taught by Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka.

Conducting and Group Vocal Pedagogy for the Parish Music Director
Strategies and practice in conducting and teaching healthy vocal production to amateur singers. Synchronous (live) online July 29–31, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Taught by Dr. Timothy McDonnell.

Introduction to the Organ for Pianists
Essential knowledge and practice with registration, good technique, pedaling, hymn- and service-playing, and appropriate repertoire. Synchronous (live) online August 3–7, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 3:00-6:00 p.m. Taught by Dr. Crista Miller.

50 % discount for 1st-time students or musicians in the St. Cecilia Academy for Pastoral Musicians.
The St. Cecilia Academy is open to all parish and school musicians who obtain a letter of support from their pastor.
Full price: $500 to audit, $500 per credit hour (some classes are 2 credits, others are 3 credits)

Brochure available here. 

FAQ here. 


Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka is an Associate Professor and the Director of Sacred Music at St. Joseph’s Seminary. Her scholarly and practical expertise lies in Gregorian chant and the Church’s teachings on sacred music. She has served as the president of the Society for Catholic Liturgy (SCL), and is currently on the board of the SCL and the Church Music Association of America (CMAA). Dr. Donelson-Nowicka is the managing editor of the CMAA’s quarterly journal Sacred Music, and is a consultant to the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship. She directs the Metropolitan Catholic Chorale, which she founded, as well as the St. Joseph’s Seminary Schola Cantorum. She is on the faculty of Cardinal Kung Academy in Stamford, CT, and teaches Gregorian chant to children using the Ward method in both Pelham and Sleepy Hollow, NY. Having given workshops in parishes, dioceses, and monasteries around the world, she also co-hosts Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast. 


Dr. Timothy McDonnell is Director of Choral Activities at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University of America. Widely recognized for his broad skill set and musicianship, conductor-composer McDonnell has earned a reputation for creativity and leadership on and off the podium. Dr. McDonnell has led several distinguished ensembles, including the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the Collier County Sinfonietta, and has worked with some of the most renowned conductors in the world, including Gustavo Dudamel, Andrey Boreyko, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Cristian Macelaru, and Robert Page. Having worked with a variety of university and professional ensembles throughout the world, Dr. McDonnell’s performances have won national recognition. In 2013 McDonnell was a finalist for the American Prize in choral conducting for his performance of Mozart’s Requiem, and in 2014 he took third place in the 2014 American Prize for his performance of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. 

Dr. Crista Miller is the Director of Music and Organist at Houston’s Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, where she directs the adult and children’s choirs and the concert series. Her Organ Committee was responsible for Martin Pasi’s 2010 Opus 19 organ. Her recent double-CD Bonjour and Willkommen: A Franco-German Debut (Acis Productions) has been hailed by Gramophone Magazine for “superlative artistry . . . and musical intelligence.” Dr. Miller has performed in 11 countries and 26 states, and is an engaging conference presenter. Her research on Naji Hakim’s music appears in the 2014 book Mystic Modern: The Music, Thought, and Legacy of Charles Tournemire and in December 2015’s ORGAN: Journal für die Orgel. Her students have served several parishes and successfully competed nataionally. Crista earned the DMA from the Eastman School of Music in 2006.  She continues to serve Eastman’s EROI in a leadership and research role.