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Musical Musings: Miscellaneous

Liturgical Music Goes to College

by Gary D. Penkala

I've witnessed a lot of very disappointing music at college campus liturgies. In an often misguided effort to be relevant, college music leaders pull out the guitars, drums, tambourines, Glory & Praise, and amidst a lot of hand-holding, hugging, and insipid informality, hope to engage the students in a faith almost two millennia old. One can only hope that, following the lead of the Church in general, Catholic universities and Newman Centers at public universities will turn to music and liturgical style with deep roots, with historical precedence, with a proven track record.

Many fine, traditional Catholic universities celebrate good liturgy, with conscious adherence to Church rubrics and noble music. Here are just a few:

  1. Ave Maria University (Ypsilanti MI & Naples FL) Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria College is a vibrant residential Catholic college with a main campus in Ypsilanti MI, and a branch campus in San Marcos, Nicaragua. It is an academic institution that pledges faithfulness to the teachings of the Church and is committed to providing one of the finest classical liberal arts curricula available.

    Ave Maria is known for academic rigor and faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church, a faculty and staff committed to academic excellence in teaching and research, and a unique educational philosophy that strives to develop the whole person.

    The academic life constitutes the heart of every educational institution. This is where we strive to make our best contribution within a richly Catholic environment.

    Ave Maria University is a vibrant Catholic university located in beautiful southwest Florida. It is an academic institution that pledges faithfulness to the teachings of the Church and is committed to providing one of the finest classical liberal arts curricula available.

    Ave Maria is known for faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church, a caring faculty and staff, and a unique educational philosophy that strives to develop the whole person.

    Academics is the heart of every educational institution. It is what we strive to do best within a truly wholesome Catholic environment.

    The professional staff and challenging curriculum provide students with training that empowers them to step out into the working world with a strong confidence in their academic foundation.
    Choral Singer Internships

    Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida is announcing internships for choral singers (SATB). Applicants will have a Bachelor's degree or higher in music, solo and vocal ensemble experience, excellent sight-reading skills and a clear, versatile voice with ability to blend in a small ensemble. This ensemble will often perform early music but not exclusively so. Ability to read Gregorian chant notation is desirable. For some positions the ability to play organ is necessary. Applicants will also have an understanding of and an ability to articulate the Catholic mission of Ave Maria University. Singers will receive a salary as well as room and board at or near Ave Maria University. Positions will require occasional travel.

    To apply please send a CV or resume, photo, and an audio tape or CD of applicant singing all of the following: one sacred aria, one chant-style responsorial psalm, one piece of Gregorian chant, scales and/or vocalises to demonstrate range, timbre and dynamics, and optionally one piece of the applicant's choosing. Send material to:
    Professor Diana Silva
    Ave Maria University
    Department of Sacred Music
    1025 Commons Circle
    Naples FL 34119
    ATTN: Choral Internship
    If you have further questions please email Michael Silva
  2. Christendom College (Front Royal VA) Christendom College
    Christendom College is a Catholic coeducational college institutionally committed to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

    The College provides a Catholic liberal arts education, including an integrated core curriculum grounded in natural and revealed truth, the purpose of which at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is to form the whole person for a life spent in the pursuit of truth and wisdom. Intrinsic to such an education is the formation of moral character and the fostering of the spiritual life. This education prepares students for their role as faithful, informed, and articulate members of Christís Church and society.

    The particular mission of Christendom College, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, is "to restore all things in Christ," by forming men and women to contribute to the Christian renovation of the temporal order. This mission gives Christendom College its name.
  3. Franciscan University of Steubenville (Steubenville OH) Franciscan University of Steubenville
    Franciscan University offers a uniquely unified academic and faith life that helps students develop their gifts and knowledge while following Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Inspired by the example and teaching of Saint Francis of Assisi, our dynamic Catholic educational environment prepares students spiritually and intellectually to transform the culture through their future vocations and careers.

    The purpose of Franciscan University is to further the higher education of men and women through programs of liberal, professional, and pre-professional studies leading to the conferral of the baccalaureate and master degrees in the arts and sciences.

    It is the further purpose of the University, publicly identified as a Catholic and a Franciscan institution, to promote the moral, spiritual, and religious values of its students. The University is guided by the example and teaching of Saint Francis of Assisi.

    The University commits itself to this mission believing that it is promoting a normal, mature, Franciscan, Catholic, Christian way of life for its students. It believes that its norms for both academic and co-curricular development are rooted in long and proven tradition and are as relevant today as they were in times past. The University commits itself to ongoing prayer so that it may be humble before the face of God and receptive to those graces and blessings it needs to serve this mission.
  4. John Paul the Great Catholic University (San Diego CA) John Paul the Great Catholic University
    John Paul the Great Catholic University is brand new, expecting to open its doors to the first freshman class in September 2006.

    Vision: To invent the future of Catholic higher education, graduating students that will boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ with faithfulness and understanding, as innovators and creators, leaders and entrepreneurs.

    Mission and Core Purpose: JP Catholic will shape innovators and creators, leaders and entrepreneurs at the intersections of business, technology and communications media, guided by the spiritual, moral and social teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Beliefs and Core Values: JP Catholic will be built on three core values that will define its fundamental beliefs:
    1. To put into action in our lives the teachings of Jesus Christ, being faithful to and uncompromising with His Word.
    2. To develop all students and staff spiritually, personally and intellectually.
    3. To put into practice in our businesses what we will teach by being innovative with our curriculum and academic procedures, pioneering in our educational niche and entrepreneurial in defining our future.
  5. Thomas Aquinas College (Santa Paula CA) Thomas Aquinas College
    The College's program of Catholic liberal education is unique in American higher education.

    Fundamental in the Catholic intellectual tradition is the conviction that learning means discovering and growing in the truth about reality. It is the truth that sets men free and nothing else. Since truth concerns both natural and supernatural matters, the College's program has both natural and divine wisdom as its ultimate objectives.

    There are no textbooks. The prescribed, four-year interdisciplinary course of studies is based on the original works of the best, most influential authors, poets, scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and theologians of Western civilization. In every classroom, the primary teachers are the authors of the "Great Books" from Aristotle, Homer and Euclid to Saint Thomas Aquinas, T. S. Eliot and Albert Einstein.

    There are no lectures. Teaching and learning demand a meeting of the minds. The course is, therefore, essentially a sustained conversation in tutorials, seminars, and laboratories guided by tutors who assist students in the work of reading, analyzing, and evaluating the great works which are central in the collected wisdom of Civilization. Classes are Socratic in method and do not exceed twenty students. Every student has daily practice in the arts of language, grammar, and rhetoric; in reading and critical analysis of texts; in mathematical demonstration; in laboratory investigation.

    There are no majors, no minors, no electives, no specializations. The arts and sciences which comprise the curriculum are organized into a comprehensive whole. The College aims at providing its students with a thorough grounding in the arts of thinking and a broad and integrated vision of the whole of life and learning.
  6. University of Dallas (Irving TX) University of Dallas
    Vision Statement: The University of Dallas aspires to be recognized regionally and nationally as a premier Catholic, liberal arts school and a first-choice institution for practice-oriented, professional business education.

    Mission Statement: The University of Dallas is a Catholic institution that seeks to educate its students to develop the intellectual and moral virtues, to prepare themselves for life and work, and to become leaders in the community. Through intensive teaching, interactive discourse, and critical analysis, the university pursues truth, virtue, and wisdom in the liberal arts and professional studies.

    Core Values:
    • The University of Dallas is committed to the study and development of the western tradition of liberal education, and the Catholic intellectual tradition.
    • The University of Dallas understands human nature to be spiritual and physical, rational and free. It is guided by principles of learning that acknowledge transcendent standards of truth and excellence that are themselves objects of inquiry and research.
    • The University of Dallas is open to faculty and students of all faiths, and it supports their academic and religious freedom without discrimination.
    • The University of Dallas seeks to maintain the dialogue of faith and reason, while assuring the proper autonomy of each of the arts, sciences, and professions.
    • The University of Dallas promotes professional and graduate education that shares a common spirit with the liberal arts: reflecting critically on the ends governing the profession, fostering principled moral judgment, and providing the knowledge and skills requisite for professional excellence.

Even if one's Catholic campus ministry or Newman Center subscribes to the hip and relevant style of worship, it might be good for conservative Catholics, searching for the fulfillment of the musical traditions of the Church, to petition the authorities for the opportunity of starting a schola. A schola (perhaps a chant group or just a small choir) can easily be organized with no more than 3 or 4 members. A few pleasant singing voices gathered around one music-reader can perform wonderful examples from the chant legacy of the Church.

Why not give it a shot? Here are some tools that can help:

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