Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Last Chance for the Sacred Music Colloquium

I was discussing the Sacred Music Colloquium with Scott Turkington a few days ago and we both agreed that it is rather difficult to convey just how unusual this event is. In fact, there is a reason why it is unique: few other institutions are crazy enough to attempt to bring together 230-plus people and make sure that every last person is singing in a chant and polyphony choir for seven straight days.

Many events have people come and listen to lectures or browse through the booths of commercial vendors who are paying the organizers for a chance to sell, and the same people are presenting their music in break-out sessions and etc. etc. There is nothing unusual here. It is like an industrial expo, a feature of American commercial life for longer than a century or more.

That's fine but what about vision and education and progress and training? These are essential if we, as Catholics, are going to get from where we are to where we want to be. It's not about maintaining the status quo but rather coming together as a community of learners to reach toward higher ideals, as individuals and as a community on a mission.

There is no question that it is hard work, but of the thrilling sort. Your mind and talents are stretched at every rehearsal from morning until night but there is always a glorious reward every day. We attend and contribute to the most beautiful Masses that one can imagine, expertly overseen by the priests and seminarians of St. John Cantius. And we study under world-class conductors and teachers, people whose mastery is equal to their humility and desire to serve.

In fact, the entire event is about service: put on by volunteers who are themselves making enormous sacrifices to be there. People frequently comment on the absence of rancor at the event, despite the huge diversity of people who attend. As for the expense, the only way it can take place for the price of $50 per day, and without commercial sponsorship, is because the energy comes from dedicated volunteers.

I say all of this to urge you, if you are even slightly interested in becoming a singer who will contribute to the liturgical life of the Church, to take advantage of this opportunity, which I personally consider to be something of a miracle, an event against all odds. Register and come. We are all blessed to have this grand opportunity, and it will make a massive difference in your life.

After several requests, the Colloquium poster is now available for those who want to memorialize the event.

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