Arlene Oost-Zinner and Jeffrey Tucker

At the time this article was published, Arlene Oost-Zinner and Jeffrey Tucker were, respectively, president and director of the St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum in Auburn, Alabama.

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Chant Leaves the Ivory Tower

In November 2006, Francis Cardinal Arinze, the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, came to St. Louis, Missouri, the home of the musical revolution of the early 1970s, and delivered a blunt message to American parishes. “It is not true that the lay faithful do not want to sing the Gregorian chant,” he announced. … Read more

How To Start Your Own Garage Schola

Monsignor Grau began by demonstrating that the Church wants the faithful to sing Gregorian chant, citing a century of documents, most of them issued after Vatican II and one of them released in 2005 at the last Synod of Bishops. He quickly contrasted this with the current reality: The almost outright ban on Latin and … Read more

The Return of Chant: Rediscovering the Church’s Musical Tradition

Catholic musicians—serious ones who regret the disarray in liturgical music over the last decades—were among those rejoicing at the election of the new pope. Vatican watchers have long known Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to be one of Rome’s most vocal proponents of Gregorian chant, and the entire musical tradition that extends from it. His writings are … Read more

An Idiot’s Guide to Square Notes

You can’t get too far into Catholic sacred music without bumping into “neumes,” those little square notes on four lines that look beautiful if oddly antiquated. Most people have no idea how to read them, and most trained musicians are as much at a loss as anyone else. They don’t teach this stuff in graduate … Read more

A New Dawn for Latin Chant

Catholic musicians are haunted by the question: Is the music in our parishes getting better or worse? Supposing we agree on what that means (and granting that some members of an aging generation are still attached to guitars and folk styles), it is a very difficult question to answer. The experience of the local parish … Read more

Fourteen Easy Ways to Improve the Liturgy

Boredom during the liturgy is something all Catholics have felt from time to time, and it’s never justifiable. No matter how mundane the architecture, how dull the homily, or how bad the music, what’s taking place on the altar is a miraculous sacrifice that gives us the grace for salvation. That reality should be enough … Read more

Twelve Latin Chants Every Catholic Should Know

Many Catholics pine for the return of Gregorian chant, and for good reason. The chant of the Roman Rite represents the very voice of the Faith, a true prayer in song, one that can and should draw all generations of Catholics together in the Mass and all other liturgies of the Church. You can find … Read more

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