Choir Practice ....by Sr. Monika
Gregorian chant notation
This afternoon I am getting ready for our Thursday choir practice. This happens in every Benedictine monastery because it takes practice to chant the psalms and canticles in our Book of Praise twice each day. We practice chanting in one voice--no voice standing out louder than others or sounding very different from the rest. St. Benedict wrote in the Rule that our hearts are to be in harmony with our voices. Sometimes our community can chant so heavenly. That's what comes of regular practice. We usually chant with the modes composed by Fr. Columba Kelly from St. Meinrad's in Indiana. These modes are based on the Gregorian modes and so they have a sound and a rhythm that connect us to our monastic forebears.
At choir practice we also look ahead at the coming week for what is happening liturgically, and we practice responsorials psalms and hymns. Is there a solemnity coming? Is there a feast day coming? If so, we get ready for it. It is important to be prepared for celebrations and feasts. The liturgy is an elegant, prayerful movement in time and space, and we give ourselves over to the drama and sacredness of it.
In special seasons, we plan and practice solo work or schola (small group) work. These enhance the celebration and raise the level of experience at prayer.
Well, I'd better be off now. Choir practice begins soon!
(Want to hear us sing? Listen to our Sisters in the "Tour of St. Placid" video here.)