Need some ideas to teach sacred music at a Catholic summer camp (updates and photos, video soon)
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Hey all. So I'm in charge of the sacred arts portion of a Catholic summer camp coming up and need some input/advice/etc...check it out http://www.cysc.com/

    So in the past we've had the kids make rosaries and write icons. This year the theme of the camp is the Eucharist, so I thought it would fit well to teach the kids about sacred music and then have it worked into the daily Liturgy. I'm just not exactly sure what direction to take this yet, as I've never worked with kids in this manner.

    The way it's broken up is we have 4 separate weeks of camp, 2 for junior high and 2 for high school, and they are each there for 5 days.

    Now what makes this year different is that with writing icons and making rosaries it was a hands on activity that they could do for the 90 mins. they were in the sacred arts activity, but with sacred music I'm really struggling with what to do in order to make this time not seem like pulling teeth.

    Our staff is really excited about exposing the kids to the Church's sacred music, but we want to do it in the best way possible. I'll take any ideas, what you have done before with kids, anything. How to work this into the Liturgy? Should we perhaps compile a missal for the week? Thank you!
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 331
    copying chant mss might be fun for them
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Other ideas we've had is to teach them sort of a core 8-10 gregorian hymns; we've thought of using the american gradual or the anglican use gradual; we're almost definitely going to pull from the english hymns in the commons. We want it to be doable, but challenging in a way so that doing it perfect doesn't become the focus of the Liturgy. We're trying to find the happy medium.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,282
    You could have them work in small teams to illuminate the pages of a large, choir sized chant book which contains the core 8-10 chants (like a My First Graduale).
  • This might be a silly idea ... but as a music teacher, we have "teaching aids" and posters all around the music classroom to remind students what certain things are: instrument families, solfege, tempos, etc. My idea would be to break the students up into small groups, and each group would paint a simple chant (any of the Ordinaries or hymns from the "Jubilate Deo" selections) onto a poster, and then each group would teach that chant to the entire group. Each "chant painting" would take up the entire poster, so that it would be enlarged for everyone to see. They could then put the posters all around the place, where they're staying, or where other activities take place, to remind themselves of what they learned.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 980
    I'll bet the kids could really get into making a video of their performance(s). Put it up on YouTube, post a link here, and the parents will love it too!
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 331
    i would be interested to know what is decided in the end
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    Last summer I excerpted about 8 chants/psalm tones from Justine Ward's STORY OF SALVATION, which is available at MS website gratis. The chronology was based upon the major seasons. In full disclosure, some chants such as "Conditor alme siderum" I treated with a fair measure of metrical accompaniment, but the kids ate it all up, grades K-8. When we got to Pentecost with her text set to "Veni creator..." I just used modal accompaniment with those ubiquitous "new age" synth pads, and that worked equally well.
    It takes a lot of effort to fit 8 anything in 45 minute daily sessions for five days, and then "perform" them for mom and dad, so I agree that if you can do some liturgical or scriptural catechesis that re-orients kids away from Landry-esque pap, good on ya.
    But, again full disclosure, our VBS purchased a program about "The Mass" complete with music. I haven't reviewed it, but at least for the first time in three years, I don't have to compose the music for the summer.
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone...keep them coming!

    bachlover, what is chant mss?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,588
    "mss" = "manuscripts"
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Ah, yeah, that might be good for them.

    What do you think would be the easiest setting for them to learn? We'd like to pick one Ordinary setting and use that each day.
    And here's a question, these will all be ferial days, so that would leave only the kyrie, sanctus, and agnus dei to be sung. What is typically done in the place of the memorial acclamation?
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,570
    orourkebr: in the place of the memorial acclamation?

    Well, there is always The memorial acclamation ...

    The Gregorian Missal (25 MB, right-click and save)
    http://www.musicasacra.com/books/gregorianmissal-eng.pdf
    See PDF page 26 of 718
    Mortem tuam annuntiamus ...
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,577
    Hey orourkebr - I'm guessing you have access to your Parish's resources, but if you need any extra resources feel free to let me know.

    Perhaps you could introduce them to the structure of the musical Mass and clue them in to "why" we sing what we sing when we sing it.
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Oh yes, the Mortem tuam...how silly of me.

    What exactly is the literal english translation of this?
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    Mortem tuum annuntiamus, Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias.

    Your death we announce, Lord, and your resurrection we confess, until you may come.

    Perfectly fine, too, would be something like "We proclaim your death, O Lord, and confess your resurrection, until you come." Venias, though, just means "come," not "come again," and the subjunctive implies some hopefulness or uncertainty, as opposed to declarative confidence that he will come.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    "donec" introduces a subjunctive of "time and circumstance." I think the subjunctive is used with donec more often than not. I agree that it probably has a kind of uncertain air to it, but it is not to be confused with conditional subjunctives. The uncertainty here I think is the when (as in, up until the time you come, and we don't know when that is) not the if (like, up until the time you come, assuming that you do come, which you might not).

    I definitely does not mean "come again" in any way, of course.
  • MarkThompson
    Posts: 768
    The uncertainty here I think is the when . . . not the if

    Agreed, and I didn't mean to imply the opposite, although looking over what I wrote I pretty much did (oops). I read it as sort of an "... until whenever it is that you happen to come" kind of thing.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Latin is fun times, isn't it? :)
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Not to needle but "come again" seems like correct theology at least, even if it isn't the most literal translation.
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Well here's the tentative plan. We've realized that 90 mins is actually going to fly, so we won't need any activities to do besides the actual lesson.

    So I'm going to give a very brief history of Gregorian chant, present the pertinent Church documents that have been trying to get chant into parish life for the past two centuries, and then teach the basics of reading chant.

    I will then teach the simple Salve as the first chant...I think this is a great intro to reading and hearing chant, and it's a chant every Catholic should know.
    I'll then move onto the ordinary we'll be using for the week...and then the remaining 3-4 hymns that I'm going to teach. And then possibly go over one of Fr. Weber's settings from his simple Gradual in English.

    I'm very excited, and I think the kids will latch onto this quickly, hopefully :) Pray for us, only 2 weeks away!
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Hey all. Checking in after the first week of camp. Amazing!

    We have video of the final Mass which I hope to post sometime later, but it was simply heavenly.

    We chanted more and more as the week went on, working in chant and slowly phasing out hymns as the week went on. We used Kyrie XVI and sanctus and Agnus Dei XVIII, and the mortem tuam.

    We worked up to this on the final day of camp: entrance chant in english from Fr. Weber, Missa de Angelis Kyrie (this was beyond beautiful), Sanctus and Agnus Dei XVIII, proper communion chant (it was a votive Mass of the Body and Blood of Christ), followed by Pange Lingua, and Adoramus Te by Dubois, and Salve Regina as recessional.

    Mass was also celebrated ad orientam by a priest all of 30 years old, and all of this music was sung with gusto and it was LOUD by 130 high school kids.

    Yes youth ministers, it is possible. These kids were so loud all week and so reverent. God is good.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Amazing! Congratulations! Do the kids usually hear chants on Sunday Masses? I'm not sure I can get that many number if I do summer camp, because there's hardly any church in this area sings chants regularly. Anyway, could you give us more details about the classes and activities of the camp?
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,282
    God is good.

    All the time!
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    I would say about half of the kids had heard the common Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei before coming to camp; if not, the others picked up on it very quickly.

    I was most impressed by how quickly they picked up on the antiphons in both English and Latin. Fr. Weber's simple gradual antiphons were perfect for this setting I think.

    Just for clarification, this is not a chant camp. This is Catholic Youth Summer Camp. So during the day the kids are doing activities like paintball, jetskis, zipline, etc., and one of the activities is sacred art. This year the sacred art is Gregorian Chant, and it ties in perfectly with the theme of the year which is the Eucharist. We then have Mass each day at 5:15, into which we incorporate the chant. And the evening is for the other times of prayer, skits, talks, etc.

    What I've been doing for the 90 minute session is to start I'm having the kids go through some PBC and Graduals and just picking any chant they want and copying it onto blank chant staff which I had printed onto parchment paper. They seem to like it, and it gives them something to take home.

    Then we go over the history of chant, its place in the Church, and then we sing our little hearts out for about the next 45 minutes. I'm just floored by how well the first week went. I'm currently sitting in the first session of the first day right now; hopefully week 2 goes just as well!
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Here is our website if you want some more info!

    http://cysc.com
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    orourkebr, what a wonderful program you have there. I hope you continue to be able to do chant sessions there in the future.
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Yeah, we're already thinking about what to do for next Summer. For the sacred arts session we are going to do something different next year, but we still want to have some instruction for those kids who are interested in learning more about chant.
  • orourkebr
    Posts: 57
    Well we've made even more progress with this week's group than last week.

    We're going to have Mass ad orientam today with the proper introit chant from Anglican Use gradual...last week we waited until Friday to do that. I'll say it again, it can be done! : ) If pastors and youth ministers want to hear loud singing and participation by their youth, then use truly sacred music!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    orourkebr, thank you so much for posting it. It's so inspiring for us. I was very impressed while talking to young people at the Colloquium that they actually prefer chants to guitar music, and told me that many adults are mistaken by assuming that they automatically like guitar music in Mass. I know many people who like pop music but don't like that kind of music in Mass. We, adults have a big responsibility to expose sacred music to youths in church and give them more chances to be familiarized with it. Thanks again for all your work.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,282
    In researching Episcopalian and Anglican music for my then-new job, I ran across an article from a regional youth group consortium of some sort. One thing it brought up was: what happens whenever they asked the youth themselves to plan events.
    1. They always included Mass into an event (retreat, gathering, whatever) whenever possible.
    2. When allowed to have "control" over the Mass, they almost always chose Rite I with High Church choral music.
    3. Given a choice, they always chose bells, incense, more candles, more traditional vestments.
  • JeanL
    Posts: 21
    I would strongly suggest starting with basic musicianship either in old or new notation. Help them to read, recognize and sing intervals. You can use basic chants to help, but also demonstrating on a chalk board note relationships and having them remember things like a perfect 4th sounds like "here comes the bride," or a major 3rd sounds like "Mary had a little lamb." The fundementals at that age are so important, and few children have opportunities to learn them, especially sightsinging.
  • Here are a few pictures. Still working on getting video from Holy Mass uploaded.
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  • RagueneauRagueneau
    Posts: 2,592
    FANTASTIC!!!!

    While others are busy criticizing the new (more accurate) translations, LOOK WHAT YOU'RE DOING!!!

    Wonderful !!!