Monday, February 20, 2012

Chant in the "Domestic Church"

An article by J. Jacob Tawney posted at The New Liturgical Movement provides some good information and suggestions for “Introducing Chant into the Domestic Church”.  Be sure to read the whole thing. In the meantime, here are some excerpts:

The music proper to the Roman Rite is Gregorian Chant. This point has been repeated by numerous Popes, by the Second Vatican Council, and by liturgical scholars spanning the centuries. There are many reasons for this, of course, but the primary one is that Gregorian Chant grew alongside the liturgy, so much so that the two are intrinsically connected. Where there is liturgy, there is chant, and where chant is absent, the liturgy suffers greatly.
…it seems that (1) if the music proper to the Catholic Church is chant, and (2) if the domestic church is the first place that we encounter worship, then it follows that Gregorian Chant should find a place within the life of the family.

He mentions three ways to introduce chant to children. The first is, of course, to take them to Mass – a Mass where chant is sung regularly! That’s not happening anywhere in this diocese on a regular basis, so if you want to foster a love of chant and sacred music in your children, you’ll have to find other ways.

Second, the author mentions using quality recordings to bring chant into the “domestic church”. He recommends the following:

I'm sure this child is listening to
Gregorian chant!
When purchasing quality recordings, I would begin with the schola out of Oregon that calls themselves Cantores in Ecclesia and is directed by Dean Applegate. They have three albums available. The first is O Lux Beatissima, which is a collection of the Mass Ordinary and many other common Catholic chants. The second is Cantemus Domino, which contains examples of Mass Propers. The third is Inclina Domine which has more Mass parts from both the Ordinary and the Propers. (If you are looking for where to begin, my own personal opinion is with O Lux Beatissima.)

However, we live in an age where many people are posting quality recordings for free online. A quick Google search can usually lead to a plethora of high quality pieces.

The author goes on to add:

The third way in which to bring the chant of the Church into the family is by actually teaching young children these “Catholic classics.”

For instance, in the season of Advent the chant is the Alma Redemptoris Mater. The others include Ave Regina Caelorum (Lent), Regina Caeli (Easter), and the Salve Regina (Ordinary Time). Over the years, my children have been picking up each of these (and the Ave Maria as well). This past Advent we added the last of the collection (Alma Redemptoris Mater), and nothing touched my heart more than when three of my children greeted me at the door about a week later excited to tell me that they had “learned it.” There they stood in front of the fireplace mantel, and they chanted in unison the most angelic melody I have ever heard.

Please read the entire article here!

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