Sacred Music Retreat
  • This posting is to announce a Sacred Music Retreat exclusively geared to the Extraordinary Form that will run in August of 2018. Periodic updates will be posted to this thread as they are available, but to start, here is an initial summary:

    The Oratorian Community of Cincinnati will be hosting a Sacred Music Retreat in August of 2018. The retreat will focus on three objectives:
    1. Assisting choir members to understand the dignity, value, and spirituality inherent in being a member of a liturgical choir;
    2. Providing an opportunity to sing various master works of Catholic music and chant in a large choir setting within the liturgy;
    3. Sharing resources and music options that might be particularly helpful for smaller choirs as a take-away from the event.

    Additionally, this could be an excellent opportunity to network with peers and representatives of other parish choirs both regionally and nationally.

    The retreat will run from the afternoon of Wednesday, August 8th to the afternoon of Sunday, August 12th. In all, there are fourteen liturgies over the span of the 4 days including Matins (one nocturn) and Lauds of the Dead; Prime; Vespers; and Compline, each on various days of the retreat. There will also be several sung Masses including a pontifical Requiem on Saturday and a pontifical Mass on Sunday. The retreat will be held on the beautiful grounds of St. Anne Retreat Center in Melbourne, KY (20 minutes from downtown Cincinnati). Retreat participants will be bussed to historic Old St. Mary’s in Over the Rhine for the Office and Mass of the Dead on Saturday and to the beautifully renovated Sacred Heart in Camp Washington for the Sunday Mass. The retreat center has 120 rooms, but registrations will be capped at 110 to allow for presenters and guests.

    There are currently several exciting presenters who have agreed to take part – but a formal announcement of "who" will wait until the lineup of conference and music presenters is mostly complete.

    The schedule is robust, but there are options built-in for flexibility. Registrations will open after Easter (April 1st of 2018) and the fee announced at that time. The registration fee will include lodging for four nights; all meals from Wednesday dinner through Sunday lunch; attendance of all events associated with the retreat; all music and handouts; and transportation to / from the local area churches as needed.

    Why are we announcing so early? We want to allow parishes and choir members time to plan this into their schedule if interested – and possibly to do some fund-raising to underwrite the costs of attending.

    Updates to follow regularly. There is also a Facebook page for the retreat which has just been released, and which will also have updates ongoing. Search for "Sacred Music Retreat" in Facebook to find the page.

    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Here is the current daily schedule for the retreat - items shaded in light yellow are optional:
    1158 x 485 - 53K
  • I'll be providing monthly updates on the Sacred Music Retreat between now and August.

    In this first update, I'm very pleased to announce our two music presenters. Kevin Allen has graciously agreed to take part in the retreat - he will be running half of the rehearsals and preparing the music for the pontifical Mass on Sunday. I'm sure Mr. Allen needs little introduction in this forum but for those of you not aware he is a very talented composer and director in the Chicago area. I will post more about him separately.

    When the retreat was still germinating as a idea, there was already a thought to use several of the pieces from his Motecta Trium Vocum. So clearly, it is very exciting that he will be one of our presenters! Although much of the repertoire is set, we may be also using his setting of Missa Rex Genitor - we'll determine that sometime in January / February.

    The second music presenter is Nicholas Lemme, director of music for the FSSP American seminary in Nebraska. As with Kevin Allen, I look forward to posting more about Mr. Lemme's background separately.

    Nicholas will be running half the rehearsals and preparing the music for the Matins / Lauds of the Dead and the pontifical Requiem on Saturday. We will be incorporating a mixture of the Victoria Requiem for four voices with the proper chant tone for the Mass.

    I pray all of you may enjoy the fruits of this season as we prepare for Christmas.
  • In addition to the music presenters mentioned above, we are very fortunate to have Msgr. Wadsworth as our spiritual presenter. Like Kevin Allen, Msgr. Wadsworth needs little introduction in this forum, having spoken at CMAA events in the past. Executive Director of ICEL, the monsignor is also assisting the Oratorian Community-in-Formation in Washington DC area.

    Bishop Slattery completes our list of presenters, celebrating the pontifical liturgies on Saturday and Sunday. These include Matins (3rd Nocturn) and Lauds of the Dead and the Pontifical Requiem High Mass at Old St. Mary's on Saturday and the Pontifical High Mass at Sacred Heart on Sunday.

    Of course, in addition to the presenters, we will have members of the Oratorian Community in Cincinnati leading various aspects. Br. Henry Hoffman will be coordinating ceremonies as principle MC; Br. Brent Stull will provide accompaniment as needed for liturgies and practices. Br. Brent (a phenomenal organist and vocalist) will be assisted by another talented musician that will be coming in from Minnesota. The fathers of the Oratory will take part in the liturgies, and a number of other clergy will also be attending / participating as needed in liturgies.
  • Registration will open for the Sacred Music Retreat in the middle of next month. The cost is $450 / person. This covers the expenses of room / board through the retreat; transport to and from local parishes for the pontifical ceremonies; presenter costs; music that will be provided; and a number of other miscellaneous costs.

    The registration form will be made available in the March update to this post as well as via our Facebook page (see above) and to a large e-mail distribution list. Registrations will be capped at 110 attendees.

    Prayers for a successful Lenten preparation.
    Thanked by 1stulte
  • Registration form for the Sacred Music Retreat. Please don't hesitate to follow up with me (contact information is in the form or via an IM on this forum) if you have questions or need assistance.

    Prayers for a profound Passiontide and Holy Week.
  • Please check out the April edition of the Latin Mass Magazine. It features an article by Roseanne Sullivan on the Sacred Music Retreat.

    Registrations have reached nearly a third of available space. Some choirs have indicated they will be registering in May / June time-frame. If you are interested in attending, now is the time to get on board!

    The retreat repertoire includes the following:


    • Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying
    • O Purest of Creatures
    • Ye Souls of the Faithful
    • O Turn to Jesus, Mother, Turn
    • Help, Lord, the Souls
    • Rejoice, Rejoice Believers
    • O Praise ye the Lord


    • Iesu Dulcis (Allen)
    • Bone Pastor (Tallis)
    • Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
    • O Iesu Christe (Jaquet de Mantua)
    • Magnificat 1d (faux bourdon)
    • Miseremini Mei (Anon)
    • Miserere Mei (Lotti)
    • Bonus Est (Palestrina) w/ ison
    • Peccantem Me (Morales)
    • Te Ioseph Celebrent (Ravanello)
    • O Sanctissima (Allen)
    • Ave Maris Stella (Victoria)
    • Panis Angelicus (Allen)
    • Quid Retribuam (Ravanello)
    • Desidero Mi Iesu (Allen)
    • Iesu Rex Admirabilis (Palestrina)

    CHANT and MISC

    • Mass III
    • Kyrie I ad libitum
    • parts of the Requiem for 4 voices (Victoria)
    • Chant Requiem
    • Mass VI
    • Credo VII
    • Salve Regina (Solemn tone) with drone

    We will, of course, be singing from the Office throughout the week... Prime, Compline, Vespers, and Matins / Lauds of the Dead, depending on the day.

  • Bumping as a reminder...

    There is still space available for the Sacred Music Retreat, however the registration period is starting to run out. Registrations at the base rate continues through end of June - there is a late registration period for the first half of July at an increased rate per person.

    We are getting some groups who were waiting to the end of their choir season to register, so there is an uptick in registrations being submitted. If you are intending to attend, now is the time to put in the registration form (attached above in the March update).

    I am closing in on having the music files prepared for retreatants - it will be a most impressive collection of chants for the Office / Mass and motets as well as some resources. The files will be posted online for preview along with playback files, and printed packets provided for the retreatants at the retreat.

    I should also mention that part of the retreat is about networking... in addition to having the various presenters, there will be a number of choir directors from FSSP and other EF parishes. One of the attendees runs the Palestrina Choir School; two of the attendees have developed apps for chant and have self-published books available for Tenebrae / Sunday Vespers (as well as other material); as well as a number of very good musicians in general looking to take part in this event. This is an opportunity to share ideas and make connections with people who may, themselves, prove to be a valuable resource ongoing.

    In the main, of course, the retreat is focused on the ideal of the Liturgical Choir - i.e. elevating the honor and glory of God by participating in a wide variety of liturgies, and helping choir members to see all of what we do - practice and Liturgy both - as a form of prayer.

    May all the blessings from Corpus Christi and the upcoming Sacred Heart benefit you and your choirs.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • I received a very kind e-mail from a Norbertine in California who offered several of his compositions for the retreat. I will include these with our packet of music / resources for retreatants, but also asked for permission to extend the share to others not attending the retreat which he very generously granted. Music attached.

    Fr. Szczurek, attached to St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, CA, and current Headmaster of St. Michael's Preparatory School for boys, also has music available on YouTube and Sheet Music Plus for those who are interested in more of his works.

    Here is the link to the Abbey website:
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • The details are coming together more and more quickly for the retreat at this point. I unfortunately spilled a large coke all over my personal laptop... and sadly watched as my programs closed out one by one as the laptop died while I frantically tried mopping up the coke with a towel. Fortunately, I was able to transfer the files to a new laptop... but I was without for the better part of three weeks, and am still working to get back some features on my programs. Consequently, had a bit of a struggle addressing ongoing retreat preparations.

    However, things are back on track, thanks to the assistance and prayers of several key people (thank you mmeladirectress for your kind words and offer of assistance!). I'm 70% with the printing and have set up a workshop in the choir loft for collating and building the individual binders. All-in-all we have 48 singers taking part in the retreat. The retreatants will be coming from California to Maryland; Texas to Minnesota; and of course from around the Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky region.

    The Liturgies are intended to span a range from very simple to very complex. Prime will be as simple as can be - recto-tone, no cantor. Compline and vespers on Saturday will be a step up in complexity (two cantors, other options). We'll have solemn vespers with two assistants in cope Sunday, and of course the Matins / Lauds of the Dead which will use 4 male cantors and 4 female cantors (one of the responsories is men-only; one is women-only; one is polyphonic). Of course the Masses range from Low to Solemn to Pontifical at the Faldstool.

    There are several Liturgies that are open to the public... Matins / Lauds of the Dead followed by a pontifical Requiem on Saturday, 8/11 at Old St. Mary's; a pontifical Mass on Sunday, 8/12 at Sacred Heart; our final vespers of the retreat on Sunday, 8/12 at Sacred Heart. Please refer to for more information on the Masses in particular.

    I'll have one final update toward the end of August to summarize the retreat.
  • spilled a large coke all over my personal laptop... and sadly watched as my programs closed out one by one as the laptop died while I frantically tried mopping up the coke with a towel. Fortunately, I was able to transfer the files to a new laptop

    When I (accidentally) left my laptop in a bag which had been leaning against the car and, accidentally backed my minivan over it, the rescue of the files took more skill than I have. My department head at the time openly wondered whether I might just have backed over it on purpose.

    How did the large Coke cause the death of the computer? Did it damage the circuits?
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    The other day I realized with panic that Dropbox could potentially go out of business.
  • Chris, thank you for making me realize that it could have been worse!!! :)

    So, first the coke fried the mother-board. Replacement was $350. After replacing the mother-board, the laptop was able to boot up... but the keyboard, touch-pad, and a specific cable would have also needed to be replaced - another $250. As I was nearing end-of-life, I opted to file transfer to the new laptop instead. The repair shop didn't charge for the mother-board (since I didn't continue with the repairs to the old laptop) and only charged me for the file transfer. Fortunately, the hard-drive was not compromised by the coke.

    I remember one horrible business trip where I left my luggage (which had my work laptop inside) on the sidewalk when I drove from Cincinnati to Madison, WI for training that I was providing. The good news is that I was able to buy clothes in Madison and was able to use one of the client computers to conduct my training. The better news was that someone kindly moved my luggage so that it was waiting outside my apartment door when I returned from Madison - with the work laptop still inside!

    Thanks for sharing your story - had I lost all of my files, I would have been really at a loss.
  • Kathy, absolutely one of the things that really saved me was the fact that I have quite a number of files on Google Drive and Dropbox. Whew!
  • The Sacred Music Retreat concluded officially early this PM with the Pontifical High Mass for our Sunday Mass, and after a luncheon for many participants, unofficially with Solemn Vespers later this PM.

    Wow. Just... wow.

    It is hard to imagine having had three better presenters for the task we had set ourselves, or that we could have had a more comprehensive experience over these past four days.

    The presenters were wonderful - which we expected. The public pontifical ceremonies were glorious and filled with a high caliber of musical repertoire and performance - which we expected. What was perhaps surprising to a fair number of retreatants was the profound spirituality from the immersion into the Liturgy, as supported by the conferences and prayers.

    In opening remarks before our keynote address from Msgr. Wadsworth, I pointed out that the retreat was NOT a conference, symposium, workshop, intensive, or colloquium. The purpose before us was a retreat in the true sense of the word - simply from a different perspective than the more traditional model. Our retreat was geared to liturgical Marthas rather than liturgical Marys... but we had all the elements of a standard retreat, apart from the lack of silence.

    In a typical retreat, some end, some purpose is described, and then exercises and conferences support a desirable outcome toward that end. In the Ignatian Exercises, for example, the first conferences deal with our personal end as created beings of God. Death, judgement, and ultimately, the choice between salvation and damnation. The conferences, the meditations, the pious exercises, the prayers... all these then support discovering our way to sanctification and how we can best accomplish the purpose for which we were created, namely, salvation.

    This retreat simply addressed a different end - the purpose for which we exist as part of a collective in the Liturgical Choir rather than on our own as an individual. The spiritual conferences from Msgr. Wadsworth would develop this thought, would enable us to deepen our awareness of the privilege and dignity we have as members of the liturgical choir... as well as of the incredible responsibility that it entails. For us, practice must be simply another form of prayer; for us, the Liturgy itself would be our meditation on the conferences. The techniques we would learn from Kevin and Nick would supplement the conferences by providing practical tools to achieve our purpose; the connections we would forge with other musicians not merely friendships for the sake of friendship, but ordered to the basic goal we must share as musicians (and even simply as creations of the Creator)... to increase His honor and glory.

    To that end, our Liturgy during the retreat should follow the words of Nike - Just Do It.

    As the retreat progressed, so many retreatants described exactly that process. The more immersion into the Liturgy; the more connection between the conferences and the practices. Most people were surprised - the schedule was not as arduous as it might have appeared at the outset. Although we were tired by the end, it was the satisfying exhaustion of leaving it all on the floor in the service of God.

    Many thanks to those who offered prayers and warm wishes before and during the retreat!
  • Starting to post recordings from the Sacred Music Retreat... This link is for the Mass to open the Retreat, the feast of St. John Vianney. We had an hour to rehearse everyone who was singing the Mass - most of those singing had rehearsed on their own before-hand, but obviously with lots of differences in how to approach various pieces and the chant. Most of the hour practice went toward Propers with some toward the Ordinary and very little toward the polyphony.

    There will be 4 areas of recordings in total: this Mass; the Matins / Lauds of the Dead; the Requiem Mass; and the Sunday Mass.

    Link 1:
  • stulte
    Posts: 355
    Very nice!
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,164
    Lovely singing!!
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • Here are the remaining areas of recording:

    Link 2: (Pontifical Matins / Lauds of the Dead)
    Link 3: (Pontifical Requiem Mass)
    Link 4: (Pontifical Sunday Mass)

    There was no practice for Matins / Lauds (apart from the polyphonic responsory which was also recapitulated in the Requiem Mass as a motet).

    The Requiem and the Sunday Mass were the focus of the rehearsals during the retreat, although as Stimson pointed out, there was a LOT of music to cover in a short span of time.

    Saturday (Matins / Lauds, Requiem) was directed by Nick Lemme.
    Sunday (Pentecost XII) was directed by Kevin Allen.

    This is the final update on the Sacred Music Retreat - again, thanks for prayers and other support from members of the forum!
  • This is more like an 'advance' than a 'retreat'.
  • I am bumping this thread for several reasons...

    First, our own NihilNominis is hosting a Sacred Music Retreat in Minnesota this summer, coincidental with the feast of the Assumption. The retreat formally opens on Friday, August 16th, running through Monday, August 19th (checkout on the 20th), but retreatants are invited to arrive early to attend the High Mass the evening of the Assumption. This will feature the Coronation Mass (Mozart), Tota Pulchra Es (Garcia) and Ave Maria (Bruckner) among other things, sung by the hosting choirs.

    Nihil is a first-rate organist and musician - so I can highly recommend the retreat from the basis of the host parish / choirs.

    Presenters include Dr. Christopher Berry (Milwaukee, WI) and Mr. Jeffrey Morse so another high recommendation for the caliber of presenters!

    Second, just to make people aware that I am in discovery phase for hosting a Sacred Music Pilgrimage... in 2023. I will periodically bump this thread as planning for the Pilgrimage coalesces, but even preliminarily it looks to be quite a mixture of liturgy and music. Our first thoughts are geared toward the UK - visiting the various Oratories, potentially including Walsingham and even the Cathedral of York (which apparently allows Catholics to celebrate Mass at the high altar). This Pilgrimage would incorporate the history of locations visited to liturgical music in general and would be exclusively Extraordinary Form liturgies. Daily sung Mass, possibly some Divine Office.

    Currently, we are looking at a trip of eleven days (including travel time).
    • 9/7/2023 - travel day
    • 9/8/2023 - Feast of the Nativity of the BVM
    • 9/9/2023 - likely votive BVM
    • 9/10/2023 - Pentecost XV
    • 9/11/2023 - likely Requiem for victims and responders of the 9/11 attack
    • 9/12/2023 - Holy Name of Mary
    • 9/13/2023 - likely votive of Ss. Peter and Paul
    • 9/14/2023 - Feast of the Holy Cross
    • 9/15/2023 - Feast of the Seven Sorrows
    • 9/16/2023 - Ss. Cornelius and Cyprian (possible travel day)
    • 9/17/2023 - Pentecost XVI - travel day

    Some very exciting possibilities have been discussed for the director(s) as well as the priest to lead the retreat, and of course, for the repertoire.

    You can find out more information as details are identified for either the Sacred Music Retreat in Minnesota this August, or the Sacred Music Pilgrimage in 2023 at our Facebook site:
  • Having just settled on the cost of the final presenter I needed to hear from, registrations will open by the weekend!

    Stay tuned!
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • As usual, the "weekend" came very late, with other issues arising.

    However, REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW OPEN! Attached below please find the information packet / registration form!
  • Bubbling this up for consideration... (, registration packet in above post) Last year's retreat was, I think, quite successful in accomplishing its intent. I'm very excited for the line-up and the structure that Nihil (an excellent musician in his own right) has prepared for this year's retreat.

    This is not simply an opportunity to make good music in a conference setting - there are lots of those options around, whether EF, OF, or both. But the retreat is more about the opportunity for the musician to be immersed in the spirituality of the Liturgy through music, rather than in the music itself.

    This is the chance to get recharged - to (in those words made famous by Avis) recall why "we are driven" to do what we do as liturgical musicians.

    May your Holy Week preparations go well and be fruitful, both with the choir and with the congregation (and with the non-Catholics that will be sure to visit during this time)...