Opportunity to sing old Holy Week chant & polyphony
  • As in prior years, we will be singing all liturgical parts of the Old Holy Week this year in York, PA, at Ss. Peter and Paul.

    Since some members of this forum took exception to my failure to emphasize this point in the past, for whatever it may be worth I wish to note that the chapel is unrecognized by the Novus Ordo diocesan authorities. I pass no judgement on anyone's liturgical practices, preferences, or opinions. Our purpose (speaking for myself and family) is simply to conserve and keep alive the traditions of the Latin Rite during the most sacred time of the liturgical year. We are convinced that as Catholics we have every right to participate in these rites with no further permission or indulgence required.

    A schedule will be forthcoming.

    Meanwhile, we would benefit and very much welcome the participation of anyone capable of and interested in singing the Gregorian parts of the Triduum and Easter, to include Tenebrae each evening (starting Wednesday evening, anticipating Matins & Lauds for Holy Thursday) and Easter Matins & Lauds Saturday afternoon.

    We would also welcome polyphonists to assist with three-, four-, and five-part pieces by the standard Renaissance composers (and some others).

    Reasonable travel and lodging expenses can be covered by the chapel along with, funds permitting, a very modest stipend.

    We welcome your sincere and open minded reflection on this positive opportunity to help us commemorate the Church's most venerable and revered liturgical ceremonies. In the event your local opportunities for the Old Holy Week are limited or non-existent, this represents an opportunity to fittingly observe the Triduum and Easter.

    Please post or message replies for further details.

    References from past participants or other musically inclined colleagues can be provided.

    Please circulate this invitation as widely as possible.

    Thank you for your interest and attention.
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 163
    I am interested in further details at least, and the schedule. Not yet sure I can/want to for various practical reasons, though (the top one being that I am in Kansas and would really like to celebrate Easter day with my parents there). But I have been really starting to think about what to do for a pre-55 Holy Week, and it is looking like I might have to settle for just being present (not saying that is bad in any way, just don't know how to put it otherwise) as opposed to singing. I am most interested in singing all of the chants; only polyphonic pieces insofar as they are extra, after all chants have been sung.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Did you, by chance, record last year's Triduum?
    Or did it even happen, given the overzealous lockdowns that took place?

    This sounds very interesting. I don't see myself being able to make it, but it is still interesting.
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    Greetings @CharlesSA and @CCooze. Thanks for your messages! Regardless of how things pan out, we'd certainly love to have either one of you.

    Charles - we sing all Gregorian as outlined in the liber (from ca. 1952). There are a few minor exceptions where we sing polyphony in place of the chant - but these are almost exclusively confined to the responsories of Tenebrae. We've organized the program to ensure that all the responsory melodies get heard (e.g., lots of the mode 8 responsories are very similar - and same for several of the mode 4), so we've constrained the polyphony so as not to eliminate the opportunity to hear all the traditional Gregorian melodies. In other cases we sing the chant through once, with the verse, and then confine the polyphony to the reprise. There are perhaps some other exceptions but none occur to me at the moment. At some point I can dig out a whole program and send it to you if you'd like.... @Stimsoninrehab was with us last year - was great to have him; if you two are in touch he can perhaps brief you on what he thought.

    CCooze -- we did pull it off last year. The chapel during that early April timeframe was one of the few places open. I don't think we recorded last year's - and our recording equipment is so bad that I am always gravely humiliated to hear how it turns out. Unless I am delusional, I am certain (I hope!) that we sound better than the recordings would indicate..... Or perhaps it is just the enthusiasm and "extasy" of the liturgical moments....

    We have been able with modest success to pull off Allegri's Miserere each year for the last several (since 2017) on Friday (last evening of Tenebrae).

    Happy to send full schedule and program when I can track it all down from last year. A broad outline is posted at last year's post here:


    Thanks again for writing.
    Thanked by 2CCooze tomjaw
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    That's really neat that someone here managed to join you!
    I just wish I was anywhere near PA, but I'm in SE Tennessee.
  • Corinne,
    Which is closer: Asheville NC or Atlanta? I worked briefly in Brevard, NC
  • CharlesSA
    Posts: 163
    @gsharpe34 I would indeed like to see last year's full schedule/program whenever you find it.

    Although it is true that I am a sort of "purist" when it comes to chant and singing all liturgical texts to their chant version in full, there is also a personal, practical/non-spiritual reason for my preference for chant - polyphony is quite hard on my voice. Which is a shame because I can sight read/sing anything and could probably help out quite a bit with polyphony otherwise, particularly when with those choirs that need all the choral/musical help they can get.

    I am sure that some voice coaching could ease the problem some, but I am not that eager to do so and put a lot of time into it, as I am very content with my ability to chant instead.

    Anyway, I'll send you private message with my email address.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Chris, definitely Atlanta, but Asheville isn't that difficult of a drive (if it's worthwhile, & I'm staying overnight).
  • gsharpe34
    Posts: 47
    @CharlesSA - Charles, sent you a PM with my email, but haven't heard from you. Looking forward to it...