A correspondent at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Kokomo, Indiana reports on the event:
Weeks before the workshop we notified, by mail, all the parishes in our diocese in Indiana of the upcoming workshop. Amy Zuberbueler was our instructor for the 1 1/2 day event. There were 20 participants in attendance, 15 from our parish, 4 additional from our diocese (Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana) and one from the Indianapolis diocese in Indiana. In Friday, Amy began with a brief history on chant, then introduced the registrants to legato, ensemble sound, scales and solfege. On Saturday, the focus was on learning the modes and nuemes, rhythm and conducting, using a bit of the Ward Method. Breakfast and lunch were provided for all participants. We learned the Missa Orbis Factor (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei) as well as the Communio (Dominus Regit Me) for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. We also learned an “Alleluia” and Psalm Tone for Mode 8, as well “Jesu Dulcis Memoria.” The workshop culminated with the Saturday night Vigil Mass in our beautiful church. Other hymns sung were Elgar’s “Ave Verum” (our schola learned this at the colloquium) and “Panis Angelicus.”
Our schola has been singing for about 4 years, so our parishioners are somewhat familiar with hearing and appreciating the traditional sacred chant and we were pleased to be able to host the workshop for those interested in learning the very basics of chant.
St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, in Woodstock, Georgia, held a sacred music workshop on November 15-16, 2007. It was attended by 70-80 singers, who came to learn the basics of Gregorian chant and polyphonic music, and prepare a special liturgy for the vigil Mass on Saturday night.
It was organized by choral director Bridget Scott and organist Mike Ostro, and directed by Arlene Oost-Zinner, who taught chant, and Jeffrey Tucker, who taught polyphony. Oost-Zinner and Tucker, from Auburn, Alabama, both lectured on the topic of sacred music and took questions on the subject of a parish music program.
This parish was a bit different from other workshops in that there is already a schola in place that had been learning neumes and singing some ordinary chants. This was a help in permitting the directors to move more quickly through the material for the remaining three-quarters of the participants who had no previous exposure. These people came from outside the parish and around the diocese of Atlanta.
The music packet had been distributed in advance. It is what set the boundaries of what was to be taught over a day and a half. All goals were achieved. The workshop schola sang ordinary chants from the Kyriale without the aid of accompaniment. The women’s schola sang the Introit and the men’s schola sang the Communio. The entire choir sang a motet (O Esca Viatorum, music by Isaac) for prelude, and two additional motets for offertory and communion (O Bone Jesu by Palestrina, and O Salutaris by Josquin), as well as the chant hymn Anima Christi. The Mass ended with a recessional in English that everyone sang with vigor.
The organizers of the event were struck by the dramatic change of behavior on the part of the people, who have been habituated to casual visiting before and after Mass. But with the prelude choral music, the worship space became solemn and quiet in preparation for the introit, which took on a special solemn tone.
Among those who came to the workshop were other scholas in the area that are just getting started in singing the propers and ordinary chants. The participants left with a renewed desire to work hard for sacred music and take their responsibilities for singing very seriously. The directors of the workshop were especially complimentary toward the role of the pastor, Fr. Larry Niese, who has provided support to the parish schola and has encouraged progress toward the sacred in the life of this parish.