Chant school forming; first session Nov. 1

In an effort to increase the knowledge of and appreciation for Gregorian chant in the Diocese of Peoria, a Cathedral Chant School has been formed and the first session is next Saturday, Nov. 1.

People with all levels of musical experience are welcome to come to the class, which will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. and includes a light lunch. The group will meet in the music office of St. Mary’s Cathedral, which is located on the second floor of the building that is directly behind the church.

The rest of the classes will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. on most Saturdays after that, according to instructors Adam Ways and Angela Manney. Both are members of the Cathedral Schola and pontifical cantors.

Ways, who holds a bachelor’s degree in voice from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., is the sheet music specialist at Kidder Music in Peoria. When he isn’t singing at St. Mary’s Cathedral, he shares his talent with a number of groups in the Peoria area, including the Bradley Community Chorus.

Manney, who holds a liberal arts degree from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., has taken an advanced course on chant with Dom Daniel Saulnier of the Abbey of Solesmes, France, a renowned expert in Gregorian chant. She is the music teacher at St. Mark’s School in Peoria.

“We don’t want people to feel intimidated in any way,” Manney told The Catholic Post. “They don’t have to be expert musicians.”

“What we’re hoping for is a wide mix, including some people who can share their knowledge,” said Ways. “We’re also hoping for some people that will find this to be something new. It’s always interesting to see somebody building a new understanding.”

The goal is to help people “pray, peruse, participate and perform,” according to Manney.

While class time will be devoted to singing, participants will also learn about the history of chant, how it fits into the liturgy and how to sing it knowledgeably and prayerfully. Eventually Manney and Ways would like to form scholas to sing at the Latin Masses that are celebrated at the cathedral every Saturday at 4 p.m.

Because lunch is being served at the first class of the Cathedral Chant School, reservations are requested. Contact Dr. Sherry Seckler, director of sacred music for the Diocese of Peoria, by phone at (309) 672-6447 or by e-mail at sseckler@cdop.org.

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