Singers Wanted for new Kansas City area polyphony group
  • To any interested singers:

    I will be moving to Lawrence, KS in December '09, to start work on an organ performance/choral conducting doctorate at KU. I will also be the music director at a parish in Kansas City. I am originally from Lawrence, and have a B.M. from KU and Master of Sacred Music from Notre Dame. I will be starting a schola after the new year to perform sacred polyphony in liturgical and concert settings. While the focus will be on music of the Renaissance, we will also perform motets by later composers such as Rheinberger, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, and Durufle. Acceptance to the ensemble will be by audition only; however don't let that discourage you if you are interested. Enthusiasm and willingness to work on music outside of rehearsal are more important than your ability to sing anything on sight!

    The ensemble is not affiliated with a particular parish; my goal is to provide an outlet for singers who want to do something in addition to their current parish choir. Because of this and my own job obligations, there will never be scheduled performances on Sunday mornings.

    Because it's so hard to find a time that works for everyone, I will only try to schedule two rehearsals per month. I would expect everyone to know their part beforehand, so that we can focus on making music in our limited rehearsal time.

    I have the following goals for this group:
    1. To sing for the pure enjoyment of experiencing this repertoire together. Don't just listen to recordings of the treasury of sacred music - get together with real people to produce it yourself! I want to emphasize that the experience of making music together is the primary justification for starting this ensemble. Once I know the size and capabilities of the choir, we can determine together how much performing we want to do.
    2. To provide sacred music as a guest choir for liturgical occasions in the Kansas City area. Since most of us will have other Sunday obligations this would be choral vespers, vigil Masses, feast days, and so forth. It is a great gift to be able to offer a community a polyphonic Mass setting or choral vespers for a feast day. If you know the area like I do, you are probably already thinking of several parishes that would be perfect places to sing.
    3. To give concerts of sacred music in the area.

    While I will not be moving to Lawrence until mid-December, I would like to get started on as much administrative work as possible. If you are at all interested or know anyone who might like to sing with us, please contact me:
    Jared Ostermann
    If you would like more information about my background and qualifications, I am more than happy to send you my bio and resume. I don't consider this offensive at all - I am very picky about what conductors I commit to work with as a singer or instrumentalist.
    I look forward to hearing from you!
    --Jared Ostermann
  • Here's an update to this posting after the first 'season'.

    This group is currently made up of 12 singers, (SSSAAATTTBBB), and has given its first public performances. We have a name, 'Sursum Corda', and a website coming soon.

    Our debut was singing the polyphonic ordinary and propers for Corpus Christi, with the institute of Christ the King in Kansas City Missouri (Old St Patrick's Oratory). We sang for the external solemnity (EF High Mass), on June 3rd. The Mass setting was the Palestrina Missa Lauda Sion, and the propers were taken from the Byrd Gradualia. I would recommend this combination to anyone, by the way, as the Byrd and Palestrina share the same mode and have several motivic similarities. Especially seamless is the progression from the Byrd Introit to Palestrina Kyrie.
    The communion highlight was the 5 voice Tallis setting of O Sacrum Convivium.
    We also sang the chant Gradual, Alleluia, and Sequence, as well as chants for the Eucharistic Procession after Mass.
    After 2 hours of chant and polyphony, the recessional was the Widor Toccata on the new organ at Old St. Patrick's.

    Our second event was a solemn vespers on the evening of Corpus Christi (on sunday evening the 6th), at St Lawrence parish in Easton KS. This was based on the new liturgy of the hours (we did what they call 'evening prayer II' in those books), so the format was english. The english psalmody was chanted on the meinrad tones with newly composed chant antiphons. Most of the other responses were chanted on simple tones, and the Lord's Prayer and intercessions were sung in english (with the common 'lord hear our prayer' sung by all). For the magnificat, we sang the Tallis O Sacrum Convivium on either side of the chanted magnificat in Latin (we used tone 4 to fit the Tallis). Directly following Vespers, there was a period of adoration, during which we sang the Byrd Propers as well as the Kyrie and Agnus Dei from the Palestrina Mass. The recessional was O God Beyond all Praising, sung by all a cappella.

    I wanted to post this update both to give news about the choir, and to share details about two exciting liturgies with the forum. In particular, I think the vespers format was very successful and smoothly integrated chant, psalmody, and polyphony (not to mention english and latin). Using vespers is a great way to sidestep political issues (nobody really has an agenda for choral vespers, and they usually have no preconceptions about it) and to introduce people to the best sacred music outside the constraints of Mass.

    If you live in the Kansas City-Lawrence area, and are a singer, consider contacting me and auditioning for the group. I would like to expand from 12 to about 16 singers over the next year. All voice parts are welcome. We have had a very enthusiastic reception at our first two events, and we hope to sing at many more liturgies and concerts in the upcoming year.

    My info again, is
    Jared Ostermann
    jostermann84(at sign)
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Congrats, Jared! I'm attempting a somewhat similar endeavor myself, and am inspired by your success here. Thanks for sharing this.
  • I had the privilege of hearing the choir sing its debut performance at Old St. Patrick's Oratory. They did a marvelous job, and lifted up the already beautiful liturgy with their voices. Can't wait to hear you all again whenever the next opportunity comes!

    Cantate Domino!
    -Paul Haverstock (St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota)