Do you know this 'Singing college'?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    The following is a quote from a parent's email. It sounds really good and comforting to know there are colleges here that emphasize strong catholic faith like this.

    Recently I had the chance to speak with Jeffrey J. Karls, president of Magdalen College in Warner, New Hampshire. Like many people, I had a few misconceptions about the school. After speaking with him and getting the facts, I thought it would be nice to turn our conversation into an informal interview.

    With so many Catholic schools moving away from their religious identity, it's always good to see an institution that embraces it.

    ♦ ♦ ♦

    Deal W. Hudson: I understand that Magdalen College is a place where the students sing. Could you tell me about that?

    Jeffrey J. Karls: Singing is at the heart of our life at Magdalen College. Other colleges might highlight their athletic programs, but we highlight the music program, especially the singing. Each student sings every year in the choir. Even students who don't think they can sing find their voices. Some enter the college a bit apprehensive about singing but are tutored in everything they need to learn to be a member of the team. They sing polyphonic harmony at Mass every day, and they chant the Mass in Latin.

    Everyone who visits here comments on how incredibly beautiful our liturgies are. The choir is invited regularly to sing at the cathedral for the Red Mass and other special liturgies. We are receiving so many requests for them to sing we may have to get a booking agent. But this is only one way we teach our students how to work together.

    I read that the Cardinal Newman Society college guide described your college as one of the top "joyfully Catholic colleges." Do you think your singing has anything to do with that?

    It has everything to do with it. Singing gets the students out of themselves, helps them to be creators of harmony and beauty, and it nurtures their sense of wonder. That is part of the reason that joy permeates our campus. We recently went through the process of finding a new tutor, and all the applicants noticed how engaging the students are, how polite, and how joyful. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Magdalen College is surrounded by some of the most beautiful country New Hampshire has to offer.
  • I've had two Magdalen grads come through the schola I direct and can say they are quite joyful, and decent choral singers. In my limited experience, they also have a more broad understanding of chant than graduates of other orthodox schools, which seem oddly limited to the polyphonic top 40.

    Perhaps it is no accident that both of these grads are wise-guy hecklers, too. With quips and Catholic camaraderie, they make rehearsal that much more joyful. :)

    Thanks, Magdalen!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks, Singing mum. I'm glad to hear a good feedback. This is amazing that all the students are in the choir for 4 years and learn Gregorian chants in addtion to other music, including polyphony. It makes sense that, since music is an integral part of the liturgy, and the liturgy is the heart of our faith, and latin is the Church's official language, as far as I know, all the catholics, not just seminarians and musicians, learn music and Gregorian chants. I think lay people should really learn them as basics, because they are the ones who will be singing more than ever before. The spirit of liturgical music and the beautiful quality of music have to be taught to these young people. (we need to remember "active participation' which includes vocal and singing, and it cannot just happen without giving people practical tools and education like this.) Otherwise they can easily fall into contemporary music which relies heavily on personal taste, and is not in line with the Church's teaching of liturgical music.
    I started my 2 boys home schooling this year, and it also says that over 50% of the students there are homeschooled. I'll definately consider this school for my kids. Who knows the school might also need some signing tutors. (in excahnge of tuition?)