From coast to coast, from Washington State to South Florida, and as far away as Guam, some seventy Church musicians– priests, religious, and lay people– came to hone their skills in the art of sung prayer at the Summer Music Colloquium XI held on the campus of Christendom College in Front Royal, VA, from June 19-24, 2001.
Participants, ranging in age from 9 to 79, attended workshops on Gregorian chant conducted by Rev. Ralph March, SOCist, and sang sacred polyphony under the expert direction of Maestro Paul Salamunovich. Rev. Robert A. Skeris, President of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) and Colloquium Director, delivered a four-part lecture series on the Theology of Worship and its Music, and B. Andrew Mills of St. Agnes Church in New York held a workshop on Basic Organ Repertoire for the Roman Catholic Church Musician Today. Each day’s program began early with the chanting of Morning Prayer in Christendom’s Chapel of Christ the King, ending with the chanting of Evening Prayer, and centered around Holy Mass, in which the colloquiants participated with sacred song, ably accompanied by master organist Calvert Shenk, Director of Music at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.
Special guests this year were a children’s schola and their families from Parkersburg, West Virginia. These homeschooling families had offered their services to their grateful parish priest, and came seeking inspiration and expert instruction in Gregorian chant from Maestro Paul Salamunovich.
On Wednesday, June 20, the CMAA held its annual meeting, at which was announced the retirement, for reasons of health and age, of Fr. March, Paul Salamunovich, and Fr. Skeris. Fr. Skeris will continue to serve as Colloquium chairman in close collaboration with Christendom College Professor, Dr. Kurt Poeterack, who was named Managing Director of the Colloquium for the near future.
It was also announced that, on May 23 of this year, Fr. Skeris was chosen to succeed the late lamented Dr. Theodore Marier, a great friend of Christendom College and the Colloquium, as chairman of the Dom Mocquereau Fund and Director of the Center for Studies in the Ward Method of Gregorian Chant, whose offices are located at Benjamin T. Rome School of Music of the Catholic University of America.
The week’s programs concluded with a beautiful Latin Mass celebrated in the crypt church of the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., with sacred polyphony and Gregorian chant sung by colloquiants. This event happily coincided with the celebration of Fr. Skeris’ 40th anniversary of priestly ordination.
Next year’s Colloquium XII is scheduled for Tuesday June 18 to Sunday June 23, 2002. Further information can be had of Dr. Kurt Poterack, the choirmaster at Christendom College (email:firstname.lastname@example.org).