St. Augustine’s Schola Cantorum
Have you ever wanted to be transported back in time? If you sing, are looking for a way to augment your religious experience or want to try something new, join us for a session at the parish’s Gregorian Chant Schola, under the direction of the parish’s Music Director Andrew Violette.
The Schola has members from diverse musical backgrounds– from neophytes and amateurs to classically-trained musicians. We gather weekly to chant Latin psalms and hymns in a musical tradition that is more than one thousand years old in one of the city’s most beautiful churches. The Schola is a low-commitment group which welcomes all, including walk-ons and guests.
Some members experience chant as prayer in the form of music based on the Psalms and other ancient texts that have been sung for centuries. Others are drawn to the music’s beauty while others find it as a meditative tool and a healing balm in difficult times.
For the last seven years on Good Friday, St. Augustine’s is the only church in the city to provide the unabridged monastic service in Latin called the Tenebrae. The four-hour service by the Schola is a retelling of the dramatic story of the Passion through psalms and prayers chanted with accompanying choral responsorials. Tenebrae can be experienced in its entirety or in smaller 30 to 45 minute sections on a drop-in basis and English translations are provided.
Led by Andrew, the parish is also the only one in New York which gathers on weekends to chant acclimations or Tierce (a little hour) and Vespers in Latin at before the 5 p.m. Mass on Saturdays and after the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday mornings at the parish rectory located at 116 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn. During these sessions, members learn and rehearse the chant.
All are welcome to come and join us.
MUSIC AT ST. AUGUSTINE
Music is an integral part of St. Augustine Parish’s spiritual life. The church’s Music Director is Andrew Violette, who has a Master’s from The Juilliard School. He’s also a former contemplative Benedictine monk of the Subiaco Congregation.
Andrew also treats church goers who arrive early before the 9 a.m. Mass on Sundays to a concert that includes music by Bach, Mozart, Buxtehude, Bruckner and all the greats.
The parish is also graced with our cantor, Taylor, a gifted soprano, who sings without a microphone and whose perfect pitch has both rescued and inspired many a failing voice.
Andrew previously taught an evening course in chant several years ago after work and is offering a class for all beginners this fall. For further information, contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.