Music

St. Mary's Church is proud of its long tradition of sacred music, alive and active well into its second century. Twenty-five singers of all ages, from middle school to retirement, sing each Sunday in St. Mary's Choir. The Schola Gregoriana of St. Mary's Church sing the Gregorian chants, integral to the Catholic liturgy for millenia, on a regular basis. The newly-restored pipe organs ring out at every weekend Mass. Visiting choirs, orchestras, organists, and singers perform concerts of sacred and classical music throughout the year.

At the Saturday 5:30 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. Mass, the congregation sing the Ordinary of the Mass (the Glory to God, Holy, Holy, and Lamb of God) and two hymns, with the accompaniment of the organ. The psalm and the alleluia are sung by a cantor, without accompaniment, as in the early Church. At the 7 a.m. Sunday Mass, there is no singing, but organ improvisations are played before the Gospel, during the Preparation of Gifts, and during the Communion, along with a prelude and postlude.

The Sunday 9:45 a.m. Sung Mass with St. Mary's Choir is at the center of the parish's musical life; each week the choir sings two choral works by a range of composers from Palestrina to Paulus, sings the Psalm and Gospel Acclamation, and leads the singing of the congregation in the Ordinary of the Mass and two hymns. The choir thus lives out the words of the Second Vatican Council: “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.” Sacrosanctum Concilium, ¶112 Visitors should note that the texts and translations of the music sung by the choir, as well as the names of composers and sources of text, are always printed on the front page of the bulletin, in line with the Order of Mass.

On Solemnities and Feasts which occur on Sundays, at Christmas, and in Holy Week, the Choir is joined by the Schola Gregoriana. This smaller ensemble studies and performs the Gregorian chants proper to each liturgical day: the Introit, Gradual (psalm), Alleluia, Offertory, and Communion antiphons. This music is a gift from our mothers and fathers in the faith, allowing us to worship God with the same words – and melodies –known to saints in the earliest days of the Church, and remains a vital component of the modern liturgy: “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” -Sacrosanctum Concilium, para. 116.

On Holy Days of Obligation that fall on weekdays, a Sung Mass will be celebrated, most often at 7 p.m., at which the Schola will sing the proper chants, and a Gregorian setting of the Ordinary of the Mass will be sung in alternation by the Schola and Congregation. And, on certain Solemnities, for example, the Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi), or Christ the King, Vespers is chanted at 4 p.m.

In the seasons of Advent and Lent, Compline is chanted in candlelight every Sunday night at 8 p.m. by the Schola Gregoriana, joined by members of St. Mary's Choir, and singers from neighboring parishes. Compline is preceded by an organ recital on the 3rd Sunday of Advent and on the 4th Sunday of Lent.

The Choir and Schola are always glad to welcome new members; those interested in singing should contact director Philip J. Fillion via email (link to email) or by phone: 315-252-9545. Prospective singers should bear in mind that participation in musical ensembles, like any other team, requires punctuality, discipline, and a commitment to continued learning. Previous experience is not necessary – but a willingness to study and practice outside of rehearsal is required for success. For those interested in joining the Schola, instruction in the notation used for chant can be provided, as needed.

The Choir rehearses from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings in the church, and from 9:00-9:30 prior to the Sunday 9:45 Mass. The Schola rehearses from 8:45-9:45 a.m. on Saturday mornings in the church, and prior to liturgies as needed.

For information on upcoming choral music, concerts, or special liturgies, see our Facebook page, or consult the parish bulletin.

The history and specifications of the 1890 Barckhoff organ in the gallery and the 1872 House organ in the chancel can be found in this document.

A summary of the history of music and musicians at St. Mary's can be found in this document.

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Music News:

The Baptism of the Lord
At the 9:45 Mass, the choir sings two unaccompanied modern motets:
From 2018, Hic est filius meus / This is my Son, by Fred Gramman, sets a Medieval carol recounting the story of Christ’s baptism and its meaning for the Christian.
From 1957, Egil Hovland sets the familiar beginning of John’s Gospel in a mystical frame, a most suitable text to ponder on this day of the Theophany, when Christ’s glory was made manifest to the world.
Hymns: Songs of thankfulness and praise; To Jordan Jesus humbly came
Organ: Reger, Benedictus; Widor, Finale from the 2nd Symphony. And at Communion at the 5:30, 7a, and 12p, Bach’s flowing prelude on the baptism hymn “To Jordan came the Christ our Lord”, BWV 684.

To share along with this new choral music, here is the oldest known image of the Baptism of Christ, from the early 2nd century, in the crypt of Lucina in Rome.
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The Fourth Sunday of Advent
At the 9:45 Mass, the choir sing:
Elgar: Ave Maria
Willcocks: Of the Father’s heart begotten
Hymns: O come, O Come, Emmanuel; Saviour of the nations, come
Organ: Jongen, Alma redemptoris Mater; Egerton: Veni, veni Emmanuel

At 8pm, the Schola Gregoriana sing the final Compline service of this Advent season.
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Tonight!We are so excited to welcome the SCHOLA CANTORUM OF SYRACUSE, who will perform this Friday night at 7:30pm. Their program, ¡Navidad!, is packed with festive and joyous Hispanic music for the season from the old and New Worlds. We'll begin with solemn celebrations for church with motets by Francisco Guerrero, Crsitobal Morales, Pedro Bermudez, and a mass by the pre-eminent Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria based on his famous motet "O magnum mysterium". Then figuratively move outdoors to the plaza for rollicking festivities, singing and playing villancicos, canciones and guineas by new world composers Rafael Antonio Castellanos, Gaspar Fernandes, Juan Guittierez de Padilla, Juan Garcia de Zespedes, Antonio de Salazar and others. Hear more about the program in an interview with Barry Torres, at www.wcny.org/december-16-2019-barry-torres-schola-cantorum/

Admission is free; a freewill offering will be taken.
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1 month ago

Choir and Schola of Saint Mary's Church, Auburn

We are so excited to welcome the SCHOLA CANTORUM OF SYRACUSE, who will perform this Friday night at 7:30pm. Their program, ¡Navidad!, is packed with festive and joyous Hispanic music for the season from the old and New Worlds. We'll begin with solemn celebrations for church with motets by Francisco Guerrero, Crsitobal Morales, Pedro Bermudez, and a mass by the pre-eminent Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria based on his famous motet "O magnum mysterium". Then figuratively move outdoors to the plaza for rollicking festivities, singing and playing villancicos, canciones and guineas by new world composers Rafael Antonio Castellanos, Gaspar Fernandes, Juan Guittierez de Padilla, Juan Garcia de Zespedes, Antonio de Salazar and others. Hear more about the program in an interview with Barry Torres, at www.wcny.org/december-16-2019-barry-torres-schola-cantorum/

Admission is free; a freewill offering will be taken.
...

View on Facebook