This evening the schola cantorum, with four of its members sang the propers for the Vigil Mass of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist at Saint Jude’s Church and Shrine, Renfrew Station, Vancouver. We are in the process of forming ourselves so that we will eventually have that nice smooth and homogeneous sound. We have a few rough edges on which to work. I think we just need to sing together and pay attention to the small details. There are more members but not everyone is able to be a part of every opportunity when we sing.
One the things that we have found helpful is for all of us to sing from the same copy of the music, similar to the illumination at the right. To make the large format copy, I scan from the Graduale Romanum (the official book of Gregorian chants assigned for the different days of the liturgical calendar) into a document in Microsoft Publisher, print it out on 8.5 x 11, enlarge the image 200% on 11 x 17 landscape pages and insert the pages into a ledger-sized three-ring binder. For learning the pieces it is so easy to point to the parts of the manuscript that need work. Also, you can mark up the music and everyone reads the same markings. Some times I write the English translations below the text. When you are used to holding your own copy of the music, it takes some getting used to reading off the same large copy. However, once I got used to it, I really loved it. The is such a freedom in not having to hold anything in you hands. I think also it forces singers to keep their heads up instead of buried in their music. It also contributes to the unity of the group, if only from a psychological point of view. Click on the link below and hear how we are doing. We hope to sing once a month, which will help us develop as singers and an ensemble. Stay tuned and track out progress. We are singing the introit Ne timeas, Alleluia Beatus vir qui timet, the offertory Gloria et honore, and the communion Magna est gloria eius with psalm verses.