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Learn the Art of Gregorian Chant
4/16/2012

Learn the Art of Gregorian ChantThe University of St. Thomas Schola Cantorum, a group that sings Gregorian chant, has grown since its humble beginnings in 1981 when it provided chant for one Latin Mass a year. Today, the group provides chant for three Latin Masses each semester.

Students studying their first semester of music history are required to sing with the Schola, and additional performances are extra credit. Still, some students choose to continue singing with the Schola even after they have completed the music history courses. Singing with the Schola offers the students an opportunity to practice reading the older notation printed in the Liber Usualis, a book transcribed from the medieval manuscripts by the monks of Solesmes in France. 

Named after Pope Gregory I, Gregorian chant originated in monastic life when it was used in celebrating the Divine Office.

“Chant is one of the most original types of singing in the church,” said Dr. Ann Fairbanks, chair of the music department. “It is part of the tradition, and it is beautiful. That is why it has survived and that is why we keep doing it.”

The Schola has grown beyond just students from the music department and includes many members from the community. The Schola is open to anyone who is interested in learning chant and everyone is encouraged to join.

“This is a group that could be considered ‘town and gown,’” Fairbanks said. “The Schola welcomes anyone from the community to chant, and you do not have to be Catholic to join.”

For more information about the Schola Cantorum, contact Dr. Fairbanks at fairbaa@stthom.edu.

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