Summer Chant & Polyphonic Course for Children
  • Wouldn't it be really wonderful and nice if the CMAA had a Summer Chant and Polyphonic Course for Children? Maybe even regional courses during the year for children's choirs to gather in a large city's area or at diocesan retreat centers in the country? For those of you who know the RSCM Summer Courses, perhaps something along those lines! As an expert in Boys and Girls Choirs and their training and development, I would glad offer my services for FREE!
  • I like that idea, Ken. As an idea on a similar train of thought, I'd love to see Training course for the parents, like homeschooling mothers, so they can teach the chant to their children. I know the schedules and demands on mothers can't afford time like a Colloquium, but it sure would be nice to moms trained.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Ken - What are the advantages of CMAA setting up the courses rather than guiding people to the RSCM courses themselves? While your services might be free, there are significant costs, administrative overhead and liability issues involved in such a program.

    Jennifer - Your suggestion has tremendous merit. A cadre of instructors might be able to run some day-long or evening sessions for interested parents. Even 'distance learning' methods could be applied to expand the potential audience.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Hello, Jennifer. I'm a homeschooling mom and direct children's schola for homeschoooling children. If you are interested in, I could maybe help you with some info and resources. My email address should be in the profile. (just click my username) I just happend to send the parents what we do in our class. I always inform them through the email after the class so they can reinforce what the children learn at home. I also started a half an hour recorder class before the chant class. It's fun and the children learn a lot, reading notes, breath control, listening to good tone quality, etc. We have first Friday Mass for homeschooling families (as well as other parishioners), and the schola sing for the Mass. (and yes, we sing 9 fold Kyrie, and the parents sing with us.)
  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    I feel that homeschooling families have a MAJOR role to play in the renewal of the Liturgy.
  • priorstf - To the best of my knowledge, the RSCM Courses here in America and in England do not focus primarily on Plainsong Chant in Latin. While they do offer a good diet of classic choral polyphony, their focus on music is generally on a more broad spectrum. I have been to many of them both as a chorister and choirmaster. As far as other advantages, I think they would be self evident in that the CMAA would be coming from a Catholic and perhaps even more traditional point of view and emphasis. Some traditional Catholic parents would feel more comfortable sending their child to that rather than to an Anglican based music program unfortunately. Also, there are certain issues that I, as a parent, would not want to risk my child being exposed to in the current Anglican climate (and I say that as an Anglo-Catholic).

    I am not saying that such an endeavor as I propose would be easy to set up. Of course there are very important details, some of which you mentioned. But this would be especially worth while for the CMAA to do for many good reasons. If the CMAA truly believes in promoting chant and classical sacred polyphony, (and I believe that they do, else I wouldn't support it), then it should put its words into actions (I mean no disrespect to the CMAA).

    And to couple JenniferGM's wonderful idea, mothers could come along, supervise and chaperon while singing with their child (although most children I have known would welcome a little time out from mom, especially while singing with their peers). Boy chorister singing with men would be a great male bounding and lord knows good male role models are needed these days in that area. Mothers could do likewise with their daughters. There are all kinds of possibilities.

    Anything worth doing, is going be challenging! Cost? of course, but start simple and small; grow the course. I am sure the Colloqiums started out small too. And I am certain the CMAA could get a pastor and or bishop or two to help in several ways if not even sponsor such!

    Doing nothing is not an option (especially if we are scared, afraid or timid about it all). If we all want to truly see the musical life of the Church improve, (and I am sure you would agree), then let us get into the fields and work to be examples to our children to inspire them!

    Ora Labora! Familiar with this hymn to which T. Tertius Noble set his wonderful tune to?

    Come, labor on!
    Who dares stand idle, on the harvest plain
    While all around him waves the golden grain?
    And to each servant does the Master say,
    “Go work today.”

    Come, labor on!
    Claim the high calling angels cannot share—
    To young and old the Gospel gladness bear;
    Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
    The night draws nigh.

    Come, labor on!
    The enemy is watching night and day,
    To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
    While we in sleep our duty have forgot, He slumbered not.

    Come, labor on!
    Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
    No arm so weak but may do service here:
    By feeblest agents may our God fulfill
    His righteous will.

    Come, labor on!
    No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
    Till the long shadows o’er our pathway lie,
    And a glad sound comes with the setting sun,
    “Well done, well done!”
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    an organization for children:


    training for mothers:
  • RSCM has pretty much abandoned traditional church music in its current training sessions and publications. They do maintain a good publication library.

    While there are still excellent summer traditional RSCM workshops, I have never ever heard of any Gregorian Chant being part of them. Anglican harmonized chant in English, yes.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    Isn't the Pueri Cantores' repertoire a little eclectic?
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    Yes, the repertoire is eclectic. But they are also excited about what the CMAA is doing, and will probably be bringing up lots of good musicians for the Church - future CMAA members.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    Ok, but Pueri Cantores is not a CMAA for children, which was Ken's original question.
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    that's true enough!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,995
    Just by way of saying, I agree, it would be terrific if the CMAA had a chant and polyphony course for children!
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,053
    Some of us who "do" children's choirs in the southern US have tossed this idea around for some years. We have the place in mind but never pursued it any further. Perhaps now it is time to resurrect it. Give me a few days to talk with my cohorts in crime.

    Children will be the salvation of the reform movement.
  • AMEN and HALLELUJAH Kevin!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I'll be looking forward to hear more. Thank you Kevin.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    Training especially adapted for homeschooling familes would be wonderful, Kevin!
  • Ken of Sarum < Studied boy and girl choir training, development, rehearsal techniques, and adolescent voice with Sir George Guest, Sir David Willcocks, Sir Michael Nicholas, Sir George Thalben-Ball, Helen Kemp, Doreen Rao, Jim Litton and Gerre Hancock. Would be glad to help the CMAA to make this kind of program a reality.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Would it be possible to have Ward method class for parents at the same time? I think there are insterests.
  • miacoyne - I think that would be a great idea! As a child, I was taught music and chant through the Ward method by a Sisters of Charity nun. It was fun then. I have for many years tried to find the books used in this method. It would also be important that the Directors of such Children's Choirs should be MORE than just organists-music directors. With all due respect, most church organist - choir directors arenlt that expert in correct child vocal production and techniques, vocal placement, ranges, etc.
  • I would also be happy to conduct such a course. I'm a professional singer with family ties to Chicago so I am in that area each summer. Transplanted to the UK quite a few years ago, studied choral conducting with David Hill and Andrew Lumsden, been a countertenor lay clerk at Winchester Cathedral since 1991, can give references etc. Have guest conducted the St Cecilia choir at St John Cantius Church, Chicago on a number of occasions and have worked with boys voices aged 10 to about 18 in Sweden and the USA, and also founded a successful chamber choir while I lived in Chicago. Am reachable by email from my profile here if anyone wants to get in touch. Like others here, I have bandied this idea around with a few USA musicians but questions inevitably rose over funding, scheduling, details etc etc, but I am sure if there is a will there is a way. I would love to help if anyone needs me.
    Richard Childress
  • a1437053a1437053
    Posts: 198
    This is a very exciting thread. Would like to see something grow, something that I could send my daughter to, something that could teach me how to teach her.
  • Dear a1437053 - Might I suggest the following:

    week 1) Start with silent yawning and / or vocalized yawning.
    week 2) #1 + "whooing like an owl" - start in the highest part of the head voice, in the highest tone the child can "whoo" on and then slide down - just like an owl.
    week 3) #1 & 2 + have the child listen to the melody and then sing the tune "America" to the syllable "loo" - NO WORDS YET!
    week 4) # 1-3 + have the child listen to and then sing the tune "Funniculi, Funnicula" to the syllable "loo" - NO WORD YET!
    week 5) The Modern STAFF - 5 lines and 4 spaces - we count it from the bottom to the top and the "G" clef (do not call it the treble clef). The "G" is placed on the 2nd line from the bottom. This 2nd line is "g".
    week 6) #1 - 5 + The Plainsong Chant STAFF and its 2 clefs - "c" and "f" Learn the names of the lines and spaces of each.
    week 7) Sing "loo" on somple folk and nursery songs that have downward melodies; usually by the interval of a 3rd. (Hot Cross Buns, Lightly Row, Merrily We Roll Along, etc).
    week 8) After learning on "loo" many different folk and nursery songs, then start on "loo" the plainsong chant, "Urbi beati Jerusalem."
    week 9) 1 - 8 + "Pange lingua," "Adorote devote," and "Veni, veni, Emmanuel" - ALL on "loo"

    Once all this is mastered, then start words.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,053
    Plans are forming. Do not fear.