The Saint Ambrose Schola Cantorum (www.stambroseschola.com) is a new professional sacred music ensemble at Annunciation.
When do you rehearse? Wednesdays from 5:00pm to 6:30pm
When do you sing? The Sunday 9:00 AM Mass, for 15 weeks in the Fall and 15 weeks in the Spring.
What do you sing? Medieval to Renaissance to Modern motets, Gregorian chant, Ambrosian chant, Psalms, and classic hymns.
'Schola' is a Latin word, meaning 'school.' A Schola Cantorum is a School of Singers. The word 'schola' signifies that the members of the group are not only performing, but constantly learning and growing their skills.
Audition Information 2014
Audition time, location, and packet: please visit www.stambroseschola.com.
The schola's mission to the congregation is to create exceptionally beautiful music in the context of worship. The schola creates a continuity in worship as it sings throughout the Mass, expressing the unity of those who gather.
The schola's mission to its own members is to teach excellence in the arts and to prepare members for a career in professional music. The modern music world has radically shifted in the last twenty years, and continues to shift, yet certain core principles remain the same: professional musicians are expected to excel at every aspect of performance, while maintaining a balance of ease, beauty, and freedom in their sound. Not easy! But equal to this, musicians are hired because of their personality, professional relationships, rehearsal etiquette, media following, popularity, and other aspects that are either difficult to define or completely unfair to an individual's skill level. The schola nurtures each member's skills in all of these areas, and works in an environment that talks openly about these aspects of the professional music world and prepares members to succeed. Each member will have many opportunities to develop their musicianship, leadership, ensemble skills, and artistic individuality.
We rely on a collaborative rehearsal environment where voices and opinions are heard equally. We learn from one another, we rehearse in a positive environment, we do not condemn our fellow artists for mistakes, we encourage openness in rehearsals, etc. To be a truly individual artist, an open-minded learner, and a joyful collaborator is a fine balance that is only achieved when an ensemble works together as colleagues and equals.
Patronage of Saint Ambrose
Saint Ambrose was one of the Church's earliest authors of hymns. Antiphonal chant, or Ambrosian chant, is named after him, as is the Ambrosian rite, which is still practiced in the archdiocese of Milan, Italy. Through his life, Saint Ambrose was a prolific and devoted contributor to the Church's vast treasure of sacred music. The Schola singers model themselves after this industrious, artistic, and prolific saint of the Church.
The singing of the Church comes ultimately out of love. It is the utter depth of love that produces the singing. "Cantare amantis est", says St. Augustine, singing is a lover's thing. [Pope Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 142]
"As a manifestation of the human spirit, music performs a function which is noble, unique, and irreplaceable. When it is truly beautiful and inspired, it speaks to us more than all the other arts of goodness, virtue, peace, of matters holy and divine. Not for nothing has it always been, and will it always be, an essential part of the liturgy." - Saint Pope John Paul II (1989)
The importance of music in biblical religion is shown very simply by the fact that the verb "to sing" (with related words such as "song", and. so forth) is one of the most commonly used words in the Bible. It occurs 309 times in the Old Testament and thirty-six in the New. When man comes into contact with God, mere speech is not enough. Areas of his existence are awakened that spontaneously turn into song. Indeed, man's own being is insufficient for what he has to express, and so he invites the whole of creation to become a song with him: "Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds." (Ps 57:8f.). [Pope Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 136]