“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.” Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #112
The above quote comes from the documents of the Second Vatican Council in regards to the Church’s understanding of liturgy, primarily the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. Here at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, we are very blessed to experience this great treasure each and every Sunday. The outstanding quality of music that the Cathedral Parish enjoys should never be taken for granted. I have traveled throughout the country and experienced music in many cathedrals and parishes – many of which are larger in membership and geographical reach than us – but pale in comparison to the talent and care that has been given to the liturgy, specifically sacred music, here at the Mother church of Charleston. Everything we do within the Mass is for the worship and glorification of God, and I believe that you, the parishioners of the Cathedral, should be very proud of fostering this gift to our Creator.
The music program at the Cathedral is composed of extremely talented professional staff singers and dedicated volunteers who spend time rehearsing and personally studying the music that is sung at the various Masses. The full choir continues to sing at the Solemn 11:15am Mass, and a small schola from that ensemble has began to provide the Propers of the Mass and choral music at the 9:00am Mass.
Sadly, there is one important aspect of the music program which is missing – our youth. This piece of the puzzle is so crucial to not only a healthy music program within a parish, but for the universal Church. For this “treasure of inestimable value” to be available, we must introduce it to our children at a young age. In a world that is primarily focused on giving youth a new fad every few months, it is more important than ever that tradition, timeless art, and the Faith become a focus for our children. My own music career began at the age of 10, when I was asked to join the boys and men choir which sung at the Dominican Parish my parents began attending due to its focus on reverent liturgy. This introduction to a range of sacred music from Gregorian Chant to stunning pieces for children in the English tradition led to my passion of all forms of music. Being involved in sacred music at that age allowed me to acquire knowledge and skills that prepared me for an easy transition into the college music scene.
The tradition of children’s choirs has been apart of the Church’s musical tradition for more than a century, and is the catalyst of sustaining this treasure for many years to come. You will find a flyer in this Sunday’s bulletin outlining the Youth Music Program. Our goal is to provide not only a musical education for your children, but also one that teaches them the Faith at a new and deeper level. Through music theory, history, and choral skills, the youth of the parish will have the opportunity to develop knowledge that will propel them into whatever the future holds for them. It is also their chance to give God the worship due to Him within the Mass. I hope every single parishioner with children will prayerfully consider signing them up to be apart of this program. While there is a firm commitment needed to participate, I plan to work with all parents to make it as convenient as possible to be involved.
Let us work together to create a parish that is focused on giving God the most perfect glory and praise in thanksgiving for the sacrifice of His Son through the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.
Director of Sacred Music