Not much blogging this week, I'm in Chicago at the Sacred Music Colloquium being held at Loyola Unviersity, learning a few things about Gregorian chant, sacred music and the liturgy, not to mention truth and beauty. Professor Mahrt gave a memorable quote last night, which he heard from an Episcopalian friend:
"The Episcopal church has given up on truth, and the Catholic church has given up on beauty."
Certainly feels that way. But that's why there are 250 or so people at this colloquium, trying to "foster good music" in our churches, as Pope Benedict has asked us to do. The church I attend has an excellent choir up there in the loft, but the musical director has been completely uninterested in adding Gregorian chant to the mass. One woman here said that she's starting up a chant schola in her church as a devotional activity. What a great way to bring chant to your parish without "upsetting" anybody or trying to push it on everyone. Make it a prayer group. It's a wonderful form of prayer that engages everything; voice, mind, breath. Good stuff. I'm a complete novice and I'm in over my head musically here, but it's been great so far. If I can sing the Pater Noster by the time I leave, I'll be happy. There are morning prayers, chant practice, daily mass (at this lovely chapel), afternoon practice, evening lecture and night prayers. It's a 7 AM to 9 PM schedule, we are really getting our money's worth and working with tremendously skilled, passionate singers.
Lots of tenors here, which isn't the norm for most church choirs. There are folks here from all over the US and quite a few foreign countries. All ages, although predominantly folks in their 40's and 50's, I'd say. A healthy number of college age men and women, lots of women in modest dresses and skirts, a handful of veils being worn in the chapel, lots of priests, apparently few nuns.
Do have to skip out early tonight though for the Celtics/Lakers game. Hope the Celtics just blow those Lakers out of the water. Take it in six, Guys!