I was at an amazing concert early this evening, given by my younger brother and his friends at a local coffeeshop. I loved all the songs, both originals and covers, and I loved seeing how much they are growing as individual musicians and as a team. It was a joy just to watch how much they loved playing and worked hard to use their talents to make a really enjoyable concert experience. I sat there, singing along and tapping my toes and generally having a good time, and then I realized: I’m sitting here listening to these amazing amateur musicians, while I am two months away from a degree in music. I could totally be doing this too. People all around me are having the time of their lives making music. My brother, my mom, my cousin, my grandfather, my friends, my fiancé… And I only make music when I have to (like in concert band for school), and then I complain about it. What is wrong with this picture? I used to really love it. And there are moments, few and far between, when I do. But for the most part, it has become a job, a chore. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m “burned out” with music…I just need to rediscover it. Besides, I want to be in love with music to pass that on to my children someday. From now on, I’m going to try to find more opportunities to make music with my friends and family. This means more singing along while Lucas plays piano, trying to get in some more piano lessons with him, playing flute duets with my flute friends, practicing guitar more, and randomly playing in hallways and sidewalks more. Maybe I should try forcing myself to carry it around everywhere with me for a week. I’ll also try to make some videos and post them here. There! by telling you readers (if there are any of you yet), I have a promise to uphold. :) Here’s to more music making for a healthier life!
Thank you so much for your interest in Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy! It makes me truly glad to see so many people of our generation drawn towards the chant and the heightened sense of the sacred that it lends to the Mass. Bis Orat Qui Bene Cantat was a labor of love, and I’m eternally grateful to my benefactors Dr. Kathleen Glenister Roberts of the Duquesne University Honors College, Fr. James McCloskey of the Office of Mission and Identity, and Dean Edward Kocher of the Mary Pappert School of Music, without which my presentation to you would not have been possible.
Below I have posted, for your convenience, a link to the full text of my paper, the new and innovative chant resource The Simple English Propers, the congregational pew resource The Parish Book of Chant, and the website of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA). I received several questions about how to go about introducing chant to a group that is unfamiliar with it. If you are interested in making Gregorian Chant more available in your parish or diocese, these resources will take you far. Nota bene: All Gregorian Chant and most of sacred polyphony is in the public domain, so downloading copies of it is always, always free. Just like the rest of the best things in life. If you’re really passionate about learning chant and how to teach it, I recommend attending the CMAA’s annual Colloquium. I went last summer, and there I learned to read Solesmes notation (the most common chant notation, standardized in 1888) well, I learned about the different genres within chant and their position and function in the Liturgy, I learned how to conduct chant (very, very different from standard conducting), and I networked with people from across the USA and the UK who were much better educated about traditional Catholic music than I was.
I didn’t mean for this to turn into an advertisement for the CMAA. But, it is what it is. Without further ado, dear reader, your links: