Wednesday, January 16, 2008

East Alabama Liturgical Progress

Each year at this time, for five years, St. Michael's of Auburn, Alabama, prepares to host what is the biggest liturgical event of the year for us: The Sacred Music Workshop , February 1-2, hosted by the St. Cecilia Schola. In past years we've had as many as 80 singers come to learn chant and polyphony during what is essentially a crash course over two days. We've always insisted on workclass directors: Scott Turkington in the past and, this year, Wilko Brouwers, who is coming from The Netherlands. We are quite sure that he has never been to Alabama!

Our approach to this one liturgy is to sing all the Gregorian propers together with a very good Ordinary setting, plus chant hymns and at least two pieces of polyphony. Yes, that is probably a few eggs too many for this pudding, but this is a special case in which the music will take a higher role than would be usual or even desired on a regular basis. It is also quite a shock to hear all these voices in our small parish.

How much good does it do? We know for a fact that several dozens scholas have been founded under the inspiration of this workshop. It is exhausting work in many ways, and it only barely breaks even financially. But after it is over, we always know with certainty that it was worth the effort. And even more so this year: there is a growing need for scholars in the Extraordinary Form. And truly, music serves as the great bridge between the two main forms of the Roman Rite.

If you are in the area, or even if you want to fly across the country, you are more than welcome to join us.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: