Advice on Introit, Offertory, and Communio for Dedication Lateran Basilica
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    Our schola sings the first and third Sundays of the month. We're unaccompanied on the ordinary and lightly accompanied on the responsorial psalm. Otherwise, the organist only plays during the hymns for the entrance and offertory and just plays during communion (we haven't mastered the propers, yet, though we did sing the introit, offertory, and communio for today, All Souls' Day). On our off weeks, the organist plays the organ and plays the cantor at the same time (she's quite amazing).

    She's just informed us that she'll be gone next Sunday, the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, and that she can't get a replacement organist, and asked the schola to cover.

    So, we'll be singing completely unaccompanied for the first time.

    Added twist: we almost certainly will not be able to meet as a group and practice between now and then. That doesn't matter on the ordinary, which we know quite well. But it matters quite a bit, because the obvious question we must answer is: what do we do for the introit, offertory, and communion?

    Here's my analysis, to which I humbly seek your learned response:


    Sing a hymn. Bah. We're a schola. An amateur, relatively young, schola, but a schola, for Pete's sake!

    Looked at the proper in the Graduale Romanum (GR). Challenging, at our level of experience. Plus we'd have to learn a Gloria Patri, which we haven't done. I could record it and e-mail to the guys and hope they all practice on their own and we show up on Sunday and sing it well, but . . . that's asking a lot of Lady Fortune.

    Looked at the proper in the Anglican Use Gradual (AUG). Easier music, and it's in English, so one less hurdle. But there's still the lack of opportunity to practice.

    How about singing the antiphon in the Missal, in English, set to a psalm tone? English, so no language hurdle. Psalm tone, so easy music. But I have no idea how one sings the antiphon. Do you repeat it twice? Do you sing a psalm verse in between?

    This last option is what I'm leaning toward because it's probably the easiest.


    Same analysis as the Introit, except there's no easy out with an antiphon from the Missal (is there?)


    Same analysis as the Introit, including the easy out of singing the antiphon from the Missal.

    Oh, and there is the additional option of being quiet, since we don't normally sing a communio (though we do sing Ave Maria post-communion).

    Your thoughts?

  • G
    Posts: 1,397

    Same analysis as the Introit, except there's no easy out with an antiphon from the Missal (is there?)

    Well, you could use the translation out of the Gregorian Missal.
    Or this:

    Dedication of the Lateran Basilica [November 9]

    GR: I Chronicles 29:17-18
    GS: The house of the Lord is well founded on solid rock.

    * verses - Psalm 138:1a / 1b-2a / 2b / 3

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • It's hard for me to speak to the issue of beginning scholas, but let me suggest a couple things:

    I should think it better to concentrate on learning one or two authentic chant Propers well, than to a) learn them all not well, or b) resort to psalm tone reductions (whether using the authentic Latin texts or the English equivalents in the Missal). Since in the context of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite you are not required to sing all the Propers, I would advocate replacing one or two with solid hymns. Or nothing. Especially if, as you say, you will not have adequate rehearsal time.

    Beginning scholas especially, but scholas at all levels as well, must understand the commitment demanded by the authentic Gregorian chant Propers, or any other form of music that might suitably replace them. Far too much damage can be done to your long-term prospects in a given parish by presenting anything but music of the highest integrity, sung with the highest degree of competency. And that may well require real sacrifice, either by demanding that your singers make the time and effort needed to get the job done, or resigning yourself and them to wait patiently until they are able to.
  • I kind of agree with Richard about not feeling you have to sing absolutely everything. STTL 115 prioritizes the order in which items should be sung, and it seems fairly reasonable to me, at least. Even if you can't sing the entrance, offertory, and communion, you can still sing the Gospel Acclamation, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamation, and the Great Amen. Maybe then a member of the scholar could learn the responsorial psalm for the day and take the part of psalmist. If you're at a loss for time, I would agree that it might be better not to try to wing it.
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    disregard this post
  • WJA
    Posts: 237
    To clarify: our schola *will* be singing the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei from Mass VIII (which we always sing unaccompanied), and the Responsorial Psalm, Gospel Acclamation, Memorial Acclamation, and Amen (which we sing lightly accompanied and won't have trouble singing unaccompanied). We've been singing these parts for months and know them well.

    So the only question is what, if anything, to do for the entrance, offertory, and communion?

    What I'm hearing so far is that that hymns or silence are the better part of valor, at least if we will not have a rehearsal before the Mass. I'm trying to arrange a practice, and if I can, that might open up our options (or at least practice some hymns if we go that route).