Since arriving at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe nearly a year ago, Director of Sacred Music Scott Turkington has provided not only exalted music for Mass, but many opportunities to experience the riches of Church music more thoroughly. Prominent among these are his courses in Gregorian chant.
While the single-week summer courses are designed for young students, the Adult Course in Gregorian Chant, taking place on six consecutive Saturdays from October 28 to December 2, explores its material both more quickly and more deeply.
Designed for adult students who are busy all week, the sessions take place on Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Students will bring chant books of their own choosing, but ample additional materials will be provided. At the end of the course, the students will sing for noon Mass in the Shrine Church.
“This will be a course for anyone who’s interested,” says Turkington, “anyone who sings in a group, anyone who conducts a group, who wants to learn more about Gregorian chant.” For those who work with liturgical music, the course has particular applicability: “Adults need to learn, where do you find this chant? How do you find a book? Father has asked me to do the music for such and such a Mass; how do I find that music?” On the other hand, even apart from any practical use, many find themselves enriched by learning the sacred chants: “There are always people who want to learn … more about the Church and the [Latin] language and the Mass.”
Interest in the subject
Gregorian chant is a vast subject; taking into account the varied experience students may have, “we’ll start at the very beginning,” Turkington promises. “What is a syllable of a Latin text? What is the simplest chant you can think of?” Naturally, the course also includes training in singing.
Notably, the Adult Chant Course was first requested by friends and neighbors of the Shrine, making it “an organic development,” as Turkington puts it. The rise of interest in traditional Church music, he believes, is a hopeful sign of hearts being drawn to the beautiful and holy:
I’ve been working since the 1970s, and the landscape of the American Church has changed a lot. I think sometimes we think that we are in the worst of times, and I don’t think that’s true at all. I think we’re living in a very good time now … I think we have a very strong army of good Catholics in this country. I really do. And music is a reflection of that.
Here is the great hope and the great challenge of our time: Both inside and outside the Church, souls are sincerely longing for the good, the true, and the beautiful. Our Lady’s Shrine constantly strives to provide them with that, and does so in a special way through its sacred music programs. Learning the Church’s music can enhance one’s experience of the liturgy, helping one to offer to God this most beautiful gift.
Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for the Adult Chant Course, visit our Sacred Music Page.