Ancient chants soared to the rafters as traditional music of the Roman Catholic Church was performed for both aficionados and new admirers at St Bede’s Church at Pyrmont on 13 February. The occasion was the 30th anniversary of the Gregorian Schola of Sydney.
It was a wonderful night, very well attended and everyone engaged with what was going on
The Schola performed chants, some of which came from a private collection of 16th Century velum manuscripts which were also displayed for the audience.
Works performed included pieces composed by St Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th Century medieval mystic and Doctor of the Church.
The evening’s performances were conducted by Mrs Ellen O’Connor, a liturgical musician who has been a member of the group since 2006. Harry Stephens, current chairman of the Schola said the evening was very successful. “It was a wonderful night, very well attended and everyone engaged with what was going on,” he told The Catholic Weekly.
“There were some intelligent questions at the end of the night as well during the Q&A.”
Questions from the audience were taken by Sr Marie Levey RSJ, a leading Sydney expert of ancient Church music. Gregorian Chant is an ancient genre of liturgical music associated with the Roman Rite dating back to the early centuries of the Church in Rome.
The term ‘Gregorian’ refers to Pope Gregory the Great (AD590–604) under whose papacy much chant was collected and codified. Gregorian chant became integral to the development of all Western music to date – liturgical and secular.
Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium urges that Gregorian chant “be given pride of place in liturgical services” owing to its importance to the liturgical heritage of the Roman Rite.
The Gregorian Schola of Sydney rehearses every Thursday evening from 6 – 7.30pm at St Bede’s. New members are most welcome and no audition is necessary.
Contact Harry Stephens for more information at: [email protected] or 0418 230 322.