Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Alabama Workshop

Last weekend, we sponsored a workshop on chant and polyphony, one that attracted 75+ attendees of all ages. An attendee took some pictures, and they yielded a fun little gallery of things that went on.

Now, keep in mind that this was two days of instruction for people who had (for the most part) never been exposed to chant before. Pastors sent their choir directors and sometimes whole choirs. There were people who hoped to start scholas. Some were just there is see what all the fuss is about.

I was particularly taken by the interest of a professional jazz pianist who found himself in the position of directing music at his parish, which he has done for 10 years. His new (young) pastor sent him to Alabama to get training in sacred music. He found himself totally enraptured by the Church's musical modes and the feeling of being part of polyphonic singing without instruments. It was a new musical highlight of his life.

This was the fourth year that we've done this, and there were aspects of this that made it the most successful yet. Keep in mind that this is not some rarefied environment with special architecture or a pastor with an agenda. This is just a regular parish - a Church in the round no less.

Here is an image I found particularly charming: director Scott Turkington clasping a Gregorian Missal!

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