Corpus Christi Youth Group Promotes Gregorian Chant in the Wasteland
#1
Music for the Masses
Corpus Christi Watershed Wants Sacred Song Back in Church

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/m...z1RuBroIFj

Even a brief excursion through the online pages of Corpus Christi Watershed’s website tells you one thing: The Catholic Church’s ancient forms of sacred music are not dead.

For everyone who laments bongo-drum-driven pop Christian guitar ballads at Sunday Mass, take heart: Corpus Christi Watershed is leading a revolution of young, fresh-faced and extraordinarily talented musicians and composers who are on fire with the love of traditional sacred music.

Since 2007, this Texas-based nonprofit organization has tirelessly promoted Gregorian chant and polyphony for use in the liturgy by offering thousands of scores, recordings and training videos online, 99% of which are free of charge to the user. The goal is simply “to assist artists in their service to the Church.”

These forms of music “are incredibly powerful and beautiful forms of music,” says Jeffrey Ostrowski, the passionate recently elected president of Corpus Christi Watershed. “Chant, although often very easy to sing, is a highly sophisticated, prayerful, intoxicatingly gorgeous art form that has survived for 1,400 years for a reason. Polyphony is a living miracle.”

The Second Vatican Council asserted in no uncertain terms that these forms must be given pride of place in the music of the liturgy, and yet this mandate has been almost completely ignored for decades in favor of nontraditional and what Ostrowski bluntly calls “inappropriate” musical forms.

“I am convinced that inappropriate music … has the power to destroy people’s faith in God,” he says. “Many of the silly songs sung at Masses these days are not even close to being in a sacred style.”

This loss of a sense of “sacred style” — in other words, music that “fits” the liturgy’s inherent sacred reality — has led to musical forms at Mass that do not differ much from the ordinary popular music heard on the radio or at sporting events.

Non-liturgical song does not help people remember the transcendent aspects of the Mass, the organization purports.

This is true not only of the music, but of the lyrics, as well.

“The majority of these songs employ bizarre texts that are not taken from the Catholic liturgy at all,” says Ostrowski, “and many are written by non-Catholics.”

Rather than curse the darkness, the people behind Corpus Christi chose to light a candle.

After officially acquiring nonprofit status from the state of Texas in 2006, the board of directors pulled together the brightest and most creative musical artists from across the nation who share the same desire to see the great music of the Catholic Church restored to its former glory.

Nor is this only a matter of re-establishing tradition. The forthcoming new translation of the Roman Missal has inspired modern composers to write completely new music for the various parts of the Mass, yet all in the ancient style, such as a lovely new Gloria in honor of St. Edmund Arrowsmith, which can be heard on the group’s website.

Not only does Corpus Christi Watershed provide free music scores, MP3s and practice videos (which have been downloaded several million times by Catholic musicians all over the world), but they work with and publish a range of top-notch Catholic artists, including graphic artist Jim Ridley, vocalist Matthew J. Curtis and composer Kevin Allen, whose three-part Motets Project is currently being featured on the group’s website.

They produce and sell numerous items as well, including their upcoming Vatican II Hymnal and the newly released Bishop Gracida Rosary CD, along with DVD releases such as Sacred, Beautiful & Universal, a film directed by Ostrowski which has aired on three international television networks.

Music, by its nature, must be heard in order to be appreciated. A case in point is Motecta Trium Vocum, a recent work by Kevin Allen, who has been called “the single most talented Catholic composer in the last 100 years.”

Linda Simms, a Watershed board member and the music director for St. Joseph’s in Shelton, Conn., describes Allen’s work as “achingly beautiful, transparent in texture; lovely both to sing and listen to,” and yet she also notes its broad appeal: “Our parish is not full of music aficionados, but those Motecta pierce the soul, and the congregation has responded to their beauty.”

The multilayered vocals by Matthew Curtis (a member of the Grammy-award-winning men’s vocal ensemble Chanticleer) “are extremely well done, and it’s very valuable to have them as teaching tools also,” she adds. “It’s an unusual gift to be able to sing all three parts equally well and in such balance.”

Watershed is excited to share this “old school” music with modern audiences.

“Catholic sacred music is a joyous treasure just waiting for everyone in the world to discover,” Ostrowski says. “It’s the equivalent of a paradise of never-ending glee for anyone who chooses to enter. One could spend a lifetime yet still never exhaust the riches of this music. Where does one begin? There’s an ocean to explore, and all you’ve got is a small row boat.”

It is that very ocean that Corpus Christi Watershed strives to bring to the attention of parish music directors everywhere. By offering so many resources online at no charge, the organization’s hope is to build bridges across the hesitation and reluctance that many music directors feel when considering the prospect of using chant and polyphony in the liturgies celebrated at their parishes.

“The music that the Church wants us to use at Mass is absolutely amazing and of immense depth. This is why I have dedicated my life to this music,” says Ostrowski. “Those who enter into this music as the Church asks us to will discover a whole new world — and a very emotional world.”

Dan Lord writes from Mobile, Alabama.

Upcoming feature: Part 2 on Watershed’s Cardinal Newman film.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/m...z1RuBF8izq
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#2
Corpus Christi Watershed is a great organization. I wish I could work with them.

Despite their valiant efforts, though, I'm told that the Latin Mass community in Corpus Christi is actually floundering.
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#3
If the Latin Mass is floundering it's because of what i have seen in many traditional masses. It seems a love of the music ministry has overtaken a love of the mass. I see young people joining choir's from local colleges because the Latin Mass is usually the only place where Gregorian Chant is used. Many of these choir members are never attendees at the low daily masses but on Sunday there they are ready to PERFORM and not WORSHIP GOD.. There is a place for music but at all times it must be subservient to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Perhaps the choirs before they teach chant provide some good traditional catholic books on the Latin Mass to show the real reason their there.
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#4
(07-12-2011, 11:51 AM)salus Wrote: If the Latin Mass is floundering it's because of what i have seen in many traditional masses. It seems a love of the music ministry has overtaken a love of the mass. I see young people joining choir's from local colleges because the Latin Mass is usually the only place where Gregorian Chant is used. Many of these choir members are never attendees at the low daily masses but on Sunday there they are ready to PERFORM and not WORSHIP GOD.. There is a place for music but at all times it must be subservient to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Perhaps the choirs before they teach chant provide some good traditional catholic books on the Latin Mass to show the real reason their there.

I kinda wish I had that problem. I did some recruiting for our Gregorian schola at all the major colleges in San Antonio a couple years ago, but didn't get a single response. So we are all amateur musicians, pretty much.

Anyway, that seems like a harsh assessment. I don't go to daily low Mass, either. Doesn't necessarily mean I'm less Christian than people who do.
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#5
(07-12-2011, 11:51 AM)salus Wrote: There is a place for music but at all times it must be subservient to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

St Pius X would disagree with your conclusions

Quote:Sacred music, being a complementary part of the solemn liturgy, participates in the general scope of the liturgy, which is the glory of God and the sanctification and edification of the faithful.It contributes to the decorum and the splendor of the ecclesiastical ceremonies, and since its principal office is to clothe with suitable melody the liturgical text proposed for the understanding of the faithful, its proper aim is to add greater efficacy to the text, in order that through it the faithful may be the more easily moved to devotion and better disposed for the reception of the fruits of grace belonging to the celebration of the most holy mysteries

However he also states:
Quote:Finally, only men of known piety and probity of life are to be admitted to form part of the choir of a church, and these men should by their modest and devout bearing during the liturgical functions show that they are worthy of the holy office they exercise. It will also be fitting that singers while singing in church wear the ecclesiastical habit and surplice, and that they be hidden behind gratings when the choir is excessively open to the public gaze.

http://www.adoremus.org/MotuProprio.html

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#6
I got what salus was saying, but yeah, it's high time we got past this idea that music in the liturgy is merely optional or decorative. I don't know if salus himself believes that, but a lot of trads in general do.

Bottom line: sacred music is integral to the liturgy. And where plainchant is concerned, chant IS the Mass. Or part of it, anyway. It should only be omitted for very good reason. Low Mass on weekdays is a good reason because it's better to have Mass without music than no Mass at all. But low Mass on Sundays without a really good reason is almost sinful, in my estimation.
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#7
Isn't lowmass actually an amendation or innovation?
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#8
Low Mass played a crucial role in sustaining the Faith of the Irish during Penal times when the heretical British ruled the nation with an Iron fist and banned the practice of true religion.
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#9
(07-12-2011, 12:27 PM)Augstine Baker Wrote: Isn't lowmass actually an amendation or innovation?

Yes. Low Mass was developed in the Middle Ages to accommodate for priests who wished to offer Masses for private intentions by themselves, in addition to the main Mass of the day (like in monasteries). It wasn't intended for normal Sunday attendance by the laity, that's for sure.

(07-12-2011, 12:29 PM)Habitual_Ritual Wrote: Low Mass played a crucial role in sustaining the Faith of the Irish during Penal times when the heretical British ruled the nation with an Iron fist and banned the practice of true religion.

Yes. That's a good reason.

A bad reason would be justifying the lack of sung Masses in Irish churches of the United States, where no persecution existed like it did in Ireland, by saying "it was out of habit".
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#10
(07-12-2011, 12:27 PM)Augstine Baker Wrote: Isn't lowmass actually an amendation or innovation?

This.

Low Mass started as a form liturgical abuse :-p
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