Thursday, November 08, 2007

What Should a New Schola Learn?

For our workshop this weekend in Georgia, we've put together a packet of music that is focussed on chant and also some polyphony. The choir is a regular parish choir--with lots of outsiders coming for the workshop itself--and the goal is to learn for the long term but also put together a beautiful liturgy for Saturday evening. The pressure is on in this cases. You want to teach and prepare for the future.

In my view, it probably takes 5 to 10 years for a fully non-professional schola to come to the place of foundational liturgical competency (if that sounds shocking, it is because we need to change our expectations concerning out commitments and goals). And yet here we are doing a workshop that attempts to cobbled together a model liturgy in 36 hours.

How is this possible? It is possible, but you have to divide the time well, between learning foundations and rehearsing for the next liturgy. It is a mistake to do a great liturgy and then walk away, leaving people with no ability to reproduce that later. Nor is it advisable to spend two days on technique and have nothing to show for it as a demonstration project.

In any case, here is the packet we are using. Lots of chant (ordinary, propers, hymns) and some beautiful but uncomplicated polyphony: Gloria Patri, Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Pater Noster, Dirigatur, Dominus Regit, Ave Maria, Jesu Dulcis, O Salutaris, Asperges Me, Ave Verum, Alma Redemp. Polyphonic Repertoire: O Esca Viatorum, O Salutaris, O Bone Jesu, Lord For Thy Tender Mercies.