70 Attend Chant Workshop - Bringing Chant Back
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    The Gregorian Chant workshop held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI, led by Scott Turkington, made the front page of the La Crosse Tribune. There will also be an article in an upcoming edition of the La Crosse Diocese paper, The Catholic Times. Here is the one from the Tribune (on the website they also have a video and a photo of Scott and some dedicated students).


    Lorraine Riedl said her kids think it’s “kind of weird” their mom likes Gregorian chanting. But the beautiful sounds of “Ave Maria” — a Gregorian chant version — she sang in high school choir still linger in her head today while she does dishes or laundry at her Tomah home.

    “I think it’s the timeless quality it has,” she said.

    It drew her Friday to a Gregorian chant workshop at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a partnership between the shrine and the Diocese of La Crosse.

    The deep, resounding tones of about 70 people led by conductor Scott Turkington through “Kyrie Eleison” rang in a basement room of the shrine. Gregorian chant is a single line of melody sung in Latin to a liturgical text.

    “It’s hard for our modern ears because we always want more — more singers, more microphones,” said Turkington, of Charleston, S.C.

    “In Gregorian chant you want less, less, less.”

    Because it has no instrumental accompaniment or harmonies, one would think Gregorian chant is simple. But the square notes, four-lined staff and many notes for each syllable are a clue it takes some work to learn.

    Participants included church organists, choir members, choir directors and the simply curious.

    Kyle and Sandy Eller came from St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Duluth, Minn. Like other Catholic churches, theirs is experiencing a resurgence of the historic tradition of Gregorian chant, they said.

    Sandy, the church’s music coordinator, said she was “so totally pumped” about encountering the “beautiful treasure of 2,000-year-old music.”

    “I’m always a little surprised by all the little places it is cropping up,” Kyle said.

    Sister Anthony Worrell, of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the Divine Teacher in Davenport, Iowa, said she has done a little chanting at a Latin Mass she attends in Iowa City. But it’s not “official” chanting, she said.

    “I want to make sure we are doing the right thing and then bring back what I learn to the rest of the choir,” she said.

    In traditional Catholic Mass before 1962, Gregorian chant was the primary liturgical music, said Greg Marco, pilgrimage coordinator for the shrine. The renewed interest in Gregorian chant has come in the past 10 to 15 years, he said.

    “Former Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been more adamant about having the sense of tradition within the liturgy,” he said.
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    Thank you Jeff.

    Some audio from the Mass at the end of the workshop can be found at our parish blog.