Any tips for a woman director with men's schola?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I(a woman) happened to take over an existing men's schola. I feel a bit awkward. I got CDs of Turco who directs both women and men schola seperate groups. Their singing is very beautiful, but they are groups of well trained musicians. I kind of like keeping their tradition of having only men in the group, but considering inviting women too. Anyone with any tips on this? (A woman director for men's schola) Thanks,

    Mia Coyne
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 312
    If you invite women, I'd highly recommend that you avoid both genders singing simultaneously. Tuning parallel octaves is virtually impossible for anyone but the most well-trained of singers. Some chants work well wth each gender group alternating phrases or verses (ninefold Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, sequences, hymns, etc.). Consider having separate rehearsal times for each group -- you'll get more accomplished, and people will appreciate the way you respect the use of their time.

    Now, one neat effect is having the men and women sing in perfect unison: that is, the men singing a little high in their range, the women singing a little low, and meeting right in the middle. I think of the beginning of the offertory of Faure's Requiem, or the Libera Me from Durufle's Requiem, and am reminded of the other-worldly, almost androgenous sound (if there is such a thing?) achieved in those pieces. Occasionally, if you find a chant with a very limited range, you might give it a try.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    I second the reservation about singing in octaves. Somehow each line loses something. Where it's appropriate, alternation is nice and helps keep the attention of both the singers and the listeners. Otherwise, one gender gets the offertory, the other, the gradual, etc.

    I've never tried the unison effect described above. But, of course, I only have women. Maybe when Michael O'Connor and I meet with our scholas at a rest stop along I-95 in Florida?
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 312
    Those McDonald's bathrooms have some of the best acoustics in the country.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    Michael, I don't want to know why you know that....;oP

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Having them alternate verses and phrases are great. So, in general, we don't have them sing together in octave. How about our singing at the Friday Mass at the Chant Intensive? There were separate singings, but didn't we sing together many parts of the Mass?
  • Check out O lux beatissima available from (wait for it..) OCP. The Cantores in ecclesia offer a superb demonstration of alternating men and women's scholas. We do this here in S Florida and it seems to work quite well. I have a soft spot for male scholas naturally, but I didn't want to leave our local women out. More work for me, but my group is as missionary as it is musical.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    Hi Mia. I'm a women director of 2 men's schola(e) (yeah). I also currently sing & have sung Gregorian chant with mixed groups. When all the
    groups sing Vespers, the men & women sing the antiphons together (at the octave) & the verses antiphonally. I too like the men's sound
    especially in our over carpeted church. When I've had a women's schola sing in the same space, they were unable to carry without mics (ugh).
    I'm new with my EF men's schola. The church 'space' for this group is excellent. The plan is to spin off a mixed choir, keep the men's schola for propers & combine for the ordinaries, polyphony etc. I think the term 'schola' is potentially problematic with a 'separate but equal' mixed situation. However, the rehearsal time commitment needed from a non-professional group to sing well a new set of propers each week is significant. I look forward to hearing more as your experience unfolds. Good luck!
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Jan, thank you so much for the info. It sounds great. I'm more encouraged now. I'll let you know.
    Mia
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Lux beatissima is not bad. It's all top chant hits, of course, but it does demonstrate men's and women's voices as well as a good deal with children. It also features both unaccompanied and accompanied chant.
  • G
    Posts: 1,397
    "Lux beatissima is not bad. It's all top chant hits, of course, but it does demonstrate men's and women's voices as well as a good deal with children. It also features both unaccompanied and accompanied chant."

    And it makes chant sound really "plausible" for us regular folks...

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)