On the weekend the National Post ran an article about Gregorian chant and its place in Catholic liturgy. I was surprised to see that the article focused on the Gregorian schola at the parish of St. Vincent de Paul in Toronto, which is the parish that we have begun attending in the past year. I was surprised because we usually attend an early morning low Mass, at which there is no choir and no Gregorian chant (apart from the Mass Ordinary, which the congregation sings), so we have not had opportunity to hear the schola.
We did hear them sing at the Triduum liturgies during these past few days, however, and they were excellent — better, I think, than any parish schola that I have heard before, and certainly better than any schola in which I have sung. They are an all-male group, which gives their sound a solid, resonant quality. It was wonderful to hear them. In fact, putting it that way is too weak. I was greatly edified and even transported by their singing. I seemed to hear in it all the mystery and ancient beauty of the faith — at least when I wasn’t dashing after a toddler.
The National post article is accompanied by this short video showing the schola in rehearsal. It was recorded in a rather arid acoustic; they sound better when singing in the church. At the end there are some amusing, and even slightly touching, clips of the choir director, Philip Fournier, trying to teach the reporter, Charles Lewis, to sing a few notes of chant.
Anyway, it is nice to see Gregorian chant getting some attention simply for being sung in its natural habitat.
(As is always the case when I try to write something in Latin, corrections to this post’s title are welcome.)