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.

Fiftieth Anniversary of the CMAA

The summer of 2014 . . .

marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Church Music Association of America and its journal Sacred Music. This will be the focus of celebration at Colloquium XXIV  in Indianapolis, June 30–July 6, 2014.

It is not as if this were a new society, even then, far from it. It was an amalgamation of the Society of St. Cecilia (1874) and the Society of St. Gregory (1913). In view of the importance music played in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council, church musicians of the two societies saw the need to join forces to take advantage of the directions the council had indicated for the integration of the treasury of sacred music with substantive participation of the people in the sacred action: the great heritage of Gregorian chant and classical polyphony should enhance the participation of believers in the action of Christ in the Mass, and this should form a precedent for the composition of new sacred music. And so at a meeting in late September 1964, at Boys Town, Nebraska, members of these societies together established the CMAA as a continuation of their groups.

Soon after, new directions in Catholic Church music emerged that were not entirely in accord with the prescriptions of the council: the use of styles borrowed from popular music and so-called “folk music”

Read more ...

Get Graduate Credit for Colloquium or Chant Intensive

Did you know you can receive graduate credit through Duquesne University’s summer music program for participating in the 2014 Sacred Music Colloquium or summer Chant Intensive?

See the complete listing of all Duquesne’s summer program’s credit courses here.

  • Details on credit for the summer Chant Intensive, taking place June 9 through 12 at Duquesne in Pittsburgh
  • Details on credit for the 2014 Colloquium, set for June 30 through July 6 in Indianapolis

Get complete details on the summer Chant Intensive. Registration ends May 1.

Get complete details on the Colloquium. Early-bird registration (with significant price discount) ends March 31.


Chant Intensive… What will you learn?


Perhaps you are wondering why you should attend a Chant Intensive course.

Here is the goal of the course:

To develop the theoretical and practical skills necessary for Gregorian chant performance. As a participant in the Chant Intensive course, you will understand basic Gregorian chant theory according to the Solesmes and other methods, and be able to transfer this knowledge from the written page to live performance as a singer or conductor in liturgy.

This course is where you can learn how to be an effective singer and/or conductor of chant for your own program wherever you live. Since Vatican II, it is not so easy to find a chant expert in your hometown. Learning the finer points of singing and/or directing chant is a lonely goal if you don’t happen to be lucky enough to have a teacher near you. This course allows you to gain the knowledge you need to either sing in a schola or start your own chant group as a director. Whether you just want to be able to sing the new English Missal chants effectively or you want to work toward the goal of singing the Latin propers from the Graduale, this course is for you.

While offering much information about the theoretical concepts, the course is geared toward live performance of chant. You will learn:

1. Reading the four-­line staff ● Clefs ● Principles of Solfege ● Basic Neumes ● More complex neumes ● Bar lines

2. Introduction to Chant Rhythm ● Solesmes Method­ history and application ● Principles of Arsis and Thesis ● The Ictus ● Counting ● Alternative approaches ­ Semiology overview

3. The Gregorian Modes ● Basic Modal structure: Finals, Dominants, Ranges ● The Major Modes ● The Minor Modes

4. Mass Ordinaries ● The Kyriale ● Mass settings in English

5. Mass Propers ● The Gregorian Propers ● English Alternatives

6. The Art of Psalmody ● Antiphonal singing ● Pointing the Psalms

7. Chant Hymns ● Singing the Divine Office

8. Mass preparation for June 12, 2014 (Duquesne University Chapel, 5:00pm) ● Ordinary of the Mass (Mass TBD) ● Propers for the Solemnity of Pentecost

Textbooks include the Gregorian Missal (Solesmes) and the Parish Book of Chant (CMAA).

If you have put off making the trip to take this course in the past, make this the year for intensively studying chant. Registration for Summer Chant Intensive is still open, so register today. The dates for this year’s Summer Chant Intensive are June 9-12, 2014. The course will be held again at Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh. For more information about the instructors and details regarding registration, visit this page.

Details about college credit through Duquesne University’s music department are available here. If you have other questions, write to us.


Summer Chant Intensive 2014

chapel-clouds-large duquesneRegistration for this event is now closed. For more information, write to us.

The CMAA Chant Intensive, now in its seventh year, is intended for beginning and continuing students and all who love and appreciate the central role that chant plays as the prayerful song of the Roman Rite – not only at cathedrals and Basilicas but also in every parish. The conference will both train and inspire toward the goal of continuing the renaissance of sacred music in our time, both in the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass.

The Chant Intensive lives up to its name: though no previous experience with chant is required, attendees should be prepared for full immersion from the get go. You will learn or review how to read and fully navigate all aspects of traditional Gregorian notation (square notes). The course will also address correct Latin pronunciation, the sound and mystery of the eight Church modes; Psalm tones and their applications; questions concerning the rhythm of plainsong, and more.

Summer Chant Intensive 2014 will return to the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Sessions begin on Monday afternoon, June 9, 2014, and will conclude with sung Mass in the University chapel on Thursday evening, June 12th.

The course will be taught by David J. Hughes (Men), St. Mary, Norwalk, CT and Arlene Oost-Zinner (Women).


DAVID J. HUGHES is Organist & Choirmaster at St. Mary Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he directs a professional choir for a weekly Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Missal of 1962), a volunteer choir for the Latin Mass according to the Roman Missal of 2002, and several children’s choirs.

He led the St. Mary’s Student Schola to sing chant and Renaissance polyphony for the primary English-speaking Masses in August 2011 at World Youth Day in Madrid; the students also sang for pontifical Masses at the Cathedral of Toledo, Extraordinary Form Missae cantatae at the Carmelite monasteries in Avila and Madrid, and for the Latin Masses sponsored by Juventutem.

Mr. Hughes is a member of the board of the Church Music Association of America, and has served as a chant instructor and the director of new music at the CMAA’s annual Summer Music Colloquium. He is director of music for the annual Roman Forum Summer Symposium at Lake Garda in the north of Italy.

A native of Stamford, Connecticut, Mr. Hughes is a graduate of Yale College. Photo courtesy: Society of St. Hugh of Cluny.

ARLENE OOST-ZINNER is the director of the St. Cecilia Schola at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Auburn, Alabama, composer of the Parish Book of Psalms (CMAA, 2012); editor of Words with Wings (CMAA, 2012); and currently serves as director of programs for the Church Music Association of America.

Ms. Oost-Zinner has taught chant at all levels for the CMAA’s Sacred Music Colloquium and at workshops around the country, and has trained under several chant masters in a variety of traditions of thought and practice. She is also an accomplished pianist and translator, and has written for the Catholic Answer, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Inside Catholic, among other publications.

Late Tuition is $370, and includes all course materials, a continental breakfast and catered lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; and dinner on Monday, June 9 and Wednesday, June 11.

Accommodations will be available in the dormitories at Duquesne University. The price for a single occupancy room is $50 per night; double occupancy, $40 per night, per person. A one time fee of $7.50 per person is required for a set of linens.

If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel, a special price of $134 plus tax is being offered by the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center hotel, which is just adjacent to campus. You must make your reservation before May 19. Click here to book a room at the conference rate.

On-campus parking is available in the Forbes Avenue Parking garage. The garage is covered and centrally located on campus. Guests may park in the garage on a cash basis or a parking permit may be purchased on the day of arrival. Weekday Parking: $12.00 per day; Evening and Weekend Parking (after 5 p.m.): $6

Duquesne University Campus Map

Public transportation from the Pittsburgh airport is available. Click here for details. Alternatively, a twenty-five minute cab ride from the airport runs about $30

Regular Registration has closed. 

Colloquium XXIV Preliminary Schedule is Here!

We’ve posted the Preliminary Schedule of events for Colloquium XXIV, to be held in Indianapolis, IN June 30 – July 6, 2014. Registration is open. Find more information about the event and plan to join us! We’ll be celebrating the 4th of July together, including the city’s wonderful fireworks display viewed from the 9th Floor of the hotel on the pool deck.



Christ Church Cathedral – Indianapolis

Announcing Sacred Music Colloquium XXIV

June 30-July 6, 2014
Indianapolis, Indiana


You are invited to experience the Sacred Music Colloquium, the largest and most in-depth teaching conference and retreat on sacred music in the world. Our 2014 program offers new and expanded opportunities for learning, singing, listening, and interacting with the best minds and musicians in the Catholic world today!

Read more here.

Chant Workshop in Tuscaloosa, March 14-15, 2014


March 14-15, 2014

733 James I. Harrison, Jr. Parkway East
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405

Workshop is in parish hall behind church.

For Whom: General public, especially those with musical and liturgical interests.

What: Introduction to chant. Reading Gregorian notation.
The parts of the Mass (Ordinary and Propers).
Introduction to singing the Ordinary of the Mass in English and Latin.
Chant hymns and chant resources.

Optional extra:
Singing Mass propers at 5:30 p.m. Mass on March 15th.

When: Friday, March 14, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 15, 9:00 – Noon
(Optional extra: Afternoon session from 1:00 to 3:15 and singing at 5:30 Mass.)

Chant Mistress: The workshop will be presented by Arlene Oost-Zinner, director of the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum in Auburn, AL. She has served as director of programs for the Church Music Association of America since 2006. She has taught chant at all levels for the CMAA’s Sacred Music Colloquium, the CMAA Chant Intensive, and at workshops around the country. She completed her studies in Gregorian chant at the Catholic University of America, and has participated in master classes under leading chant masters of international reputation. She has written for the Catholic Answer, Crisis, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Inside Catholic, and other publications. She is the composer and editor of the Parish Book of Psalms (CMAA, 2012) and translator & editor of Words with Wings (CMAA, 2012).

Cost and Registration: Registration is a snap. Just call or e-mail Deacon Adrian Straley at (205) 553-5296 or astraley@bellsouth.net. At sign-in, pay $10.00 by cash or check (payable to Adrian Straley) for all materials & Saturday lunch. Space is limited, so sign up now.

February: Musica Sacra conference in St. Louis

The Office of Sacred Music in the Archdiocese of St. Louis is presenting the fourth annual diocesan conference on Musica Sacra, February 13-15: a conference on Chant in the Liturgy, led by Dr. Horst Buchholz, director of sacred music, and chant scholar Mr. Scott Turkington. Both are CMAA board members and great teachers.

The conference schedule includes a mix of lectures and practicum, and it is designed for everyone with an interest in chant for the liturgy: musicians, clergy, singers, liturgists. You can register on-line.

As a bonus for people coming from out of town, the conference has a very good rate on lodging at Saint Louis University: just $70 for two nights.

For information, contact the Office of Sacred Music at music@cathedralstl.org.

2014 Winter Chant Intensive Registration is Open

Registration for the 2014 Winter Chant Intensive: Special Edition in Surprise, AZ, January 3-4, is open. Registration deadline is December 20. Join the revolution! Register now.

Winter Chant Intensive 2014: Special Edition for Intermediate to Advanced Chanters

January 3 and 4, 2014
St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in Surprise, Arizona


Join the CMAA in Surprise, Arizona this coming January for a special, two-day edition of the famed Chant Intensive. Making a bit of a detour from our usual offering for beginning to intermediate chanters, this year’s intensive includes two separate tracks for intermediate to advanced chanters who are interested in furthering their studies of the Gregorian modes or developing their skills conducting chant.

The Courses

Not Your Mother’s Modes; Dr. Edward Schaefer

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We’ll do a deep dive into the underworld of the modes: archaic modes, the development of the Octoechos, the Octoechos itself (ecclesiastical modes), pentatonic structures, modal evolution, modal transposition (not what it appears to be), and the function of degree scales in the various modes… and what it all means with regard to the interpretation of chant. Whew! You will be surprised at how much fun we’ll have…in Surprise, AZ.

Chironomy for Chanters; Dr. Jennifer Donelson

Designed with the those who would like to direct or start their own scholas in their parishes, this course will give participants a rhythmic foundation for singing chant, an understanding of the conducting style necessary for beautiful renditions of the chant, and ideas about how to communicate well with the schola and manage a rehearsal. Beginning with a refresher course on the basics of the rhythmic approach of the “old Solesmes” method, participants will learn the fundamental rules of chironomy (directing) for Gregorian psalm tones, as well as neumatic and melismatic chants in the Gregorian repertoire.

Jennifer Donelson is an assistant professor of music at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She currently serves as a board member of the Society for Catholic liturgy and as the associate managing editor of the CMAA’s Sacred Music journal. Having studied Gregorian chant at the Catholic University of America and Abbey of St. Peter in Solesmes, Dr. Donelson has served as the director of music at St. Gregory the Great Seminary (Diocese of Lincoln, NE) and St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center (UNL). She currently directs the schola cantorum at the Mission of Sts. Francis and Clare in Miami, where the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite is celebrated weekly.

Location and Details

Both courses will be held at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in beautiful Surprise, Arizona. The program will run all day Friday and Saturday, January 3 and 4, from 9:00am to 5:00pm each day. Two days of work will culminate in a sung vigil Mass in the ordinary form with propers for the Solmenity of the Epiphany. Full schedule and accommodations links forthcoming.


The cost of the two-day course, which includes instruction, materials, breaks and a catered lunch on both Friday and Saturday is $190.

Registration Deadline

The deadline for registration is December 20, 2013.


Information forthcoming

To Register

Registration for this event is now closed.

For questions, call 334.444.5584 or send an email.

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

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