Saturday, January 09, 2010

Fr. Columba Kelly in Chant Workshop, Houston, Texas

Last evening I had the chance to visit with several people following the CMAA chant intensive at the Cathedral in Charleston, South Carolina. These events always lift the spirits. Here we had 50-plus sacred-music enthusiasts, trained by Scott Turkington, in a program directed by Arlene Oost-Zinner. They leave with the the skill and confidence necessary to be the directors of their own scholas in parishes.

For the priests and seminarians present, they will be in the position now to train their own parish choirs and sing the readings toward a fully chanted Mass. Such training is absolutely essential to for the bright future of Catholic music. These events are multiplying year by year, with the community of people who are developing mastery growing systematically and relentless.

The events are becoming a year-round feature of Catholic musical life in the U.S. The St. Basil School of Gregorian Chant in Houston, Texas, on February 11-13, 2010, is hosting a lecture and teaching series by Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB, of the St. Meinrad's Archabbey, Indiana. This is a rare treat. He an interesting case of a chant master, a student of Dom Cardine, who turned his attention to providing music for a chanted Mass in the vernacular following the Second Vatican Council.

Had his lead here been followed, history might have turned out very differently. There were cultural, legal, and social reasons why it didn't happen. But today, his compositions of that period are experiencing a revival - all published under Creative Commons - with the Sacred Music Project , which provides vast quantities of music for free download or purchase, enough to allow a parish to progress musically while staying rooted in the chant tradition.

Fr. Kelly's core specialization and love of course remains the Latin chant and this workshop will permit him to present his perspective on history and liturgy over many hours of lectures and singing. It is a grand occasion in so many ways. Every Catholic musician will benefit by attending.

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