“The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” -From the Second Vatican Council’s decree Sacrosanctum Concilium, para. 116

St. Mary’s Schola Gregoriana, founded in 2008, takes its name from the very first schola cantorum, literally a “school of singing”  – a group of liturgical chanters founded by Pope Sylvester I in the fourth century, and reformed by Pope St. Gregory the Great in the 6th century.

The Schola conserve the Church’s musical heritage of Gregorian chant, and bring it to life at St. Mary’s liturgies. Like a Stradivarius violin, chant is worthy of scholarly study and careful preservation, but can only be truly appreciated and enjoyed when it is heard. The majority of the Gregorian chants sung at Mass can be found (with musical notation) in 8th and 9th-century manuscripts, and it is thought that even these early documents were simply an attempt to notate and preserve a longstanding traditional repertory, which is known to descend (at least in part) from the music of the ancient Jewish temple and synagogues at the time of Jesus Christ.

So the Schola sing at Mass on feast days, chanting the propers of the Mass in Latin – the introit, gradual, alleluia, offertory, and communion chants. These chants are short verses of Scripture which harmonize with the readings and prayers at Mass, arranged from week to week in a cycle first organized by Pope St. Gregory, and most recently realigned with the three-year lectionary by the Second Vatican Council. The Schola also sing for Vespers several times each year.

New singers are always welcome – in many ways, chanting is significantly easier than singing alone or in a choir: there is only one line of music to follow, the notation only shows the relative pitch, not rhythm, and the final product depends on voices working together, rather than on one spectacular solo voice. And in our church (reverberation time 4.3 seconds!) the room carries your voice and puts the finishing touches on the sound. Rehearsals are at 8:45 on Saturdays, except on the first Saturday of the month, when the Schola chant at the 7:45 a.m. Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Contact Philip Fillion, director of music, for further information.
philip.fillion@dor.org
315-252-9545 ext. 303