This is your heritage of Catholic church music! Explore it!

Some of this stuff really is big and elaborate and difficult — but a lot of it is easy, or just requires average voices and normal choir work. Every parish could pick out pretty decent music and do it pretty well, because church music through the ages was mostly written for normal voices and normal instrument players. And some of that “average” music is amazing!

You can listen to recorded pieces already performed at this website as they are posted. (It looks like this year has been busy, as I don’t see anything up yet. But they have recorded stuff, so just wait.) You can listen to previous years while waiting for the new stuff. I recommend the 2012 Madeleine Choir School concert, which showcases the kids at the Madeleine’s serious music school.

You can also listen live at radiofeca.com to the following events from the Colloquium, at the Cathedral of the Madeleine (St. Mary Magdalene) in Salt Lake City:

Friday the 21st, 7:15 PM ET/5:15 MT — Mass for St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s Day.
9:45 PM ET/7:45 MT — Vespers.

Saturday the 22nd, 4:15 PM ET/2:15 MT — Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sunday the 23rd, 1 PM ET/11 AM MT — Sunday Mass.

The Masses are sung each day by different groups of singers separated into different ability levels, each class doing a few of their own pieces every day. There’s beginning, middle, and advanced classes in chant, and in partsinging; everybody has to be in a chant schola and a polyphony choir. (And that means everybody: priests, musicians who never sing, people who know a lot about singing and those who know nothing. Everybody. And you practice every day for a couple hours, plus other classes.)

The Church Music Association of America is an organization of church musicians and those interested in church music. It is dedicated to serving God (and the Catholic Church) with good church music, teaching chant and polyphony, spreading music played on the organ and other fitting instruments, and encouraging contemporary composers to work inside the Church’s traditions and laws. (Among all sorts of other things.) Their website, musicasacra.com, is full of free and public domain resources available to everyone.

The Colloquium is a weeklong workshop held every year, with Mass sung every day along with morning and evening prayer, as well as a multitude of classes and music practices, fun activities, and socializing.

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