Musica Sacra Florida Gregorian Chant Conference

Sacred Music, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Musica Sacra Florida Gregorian Chant Conference


On Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, over thirty participants and three faculty members gathered for the inaugural Musica Sacra Florida Gregorian Chant Conference, co-sponsored by the Florida chapter of the Church Music Association of America and the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. Singers and directors came from the South Florida metropolitan area, as far north as New Smyrna Beach and Tampa, as well as from the west coast.

Friday evening began with a Vespers service chanted by the conference faculty assisted by David Taylor, Maria Adriano, and Gustavo Zayas. At the conclusion of Vespers, Dr. Jennifer Donelson, music faculty member at Nova Southeastern University and conference host welcomed the participants to the conference. The evening concluded with a lecture entitled "The Secret History of Gregorian Chant" in which Dr. Michael O'Connor traced major historical events that contributed to the development of chant from the first through the eleventh centuries including the hymn sung after the Last Supper by Christ and his apostles, the Edict of Milan, the fall of Rome, the rise of the Carolingian dynasty, the development of notation, and the contributions to pedagogy by Guido of Arezzo.

Saturday morning began with an 8:30 rehearsal in which participants were divided up into three choirs according to their familiarity with Gregorian chant and square-note notation. Dr. Susan Treacy led the advanced women's schola in learning the introit Reminiscere from the Graduale Romanum and the tract Commovisti from Chants abreges, Dr. Michael O'Connor directed the advanced men's schola which sang the gradual Sciant gentes and the offertory Meditabor, both from the Graduale Romanum. Dr. Jennifer Donelson taught the beginning mixed schola, covering the basics of Gregorian chant notation and rhythm and the Communion Visionem from the Graduale Romanum. All choirs sang the Mass Ordinary: Mass XVII.

Rehearsals on Saturday were punctuated by breaks and two talks. The first, given by Dr. …

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