The following guest post is by Andrea Leal, a home-schooling mother of 6 who lives in the Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada. Andrea leads a Schola Cantorum of youth singers, ages 9-18, who sing Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony at a weekly Traditional Latin Mass. Additionally, she has assisted Fr. James Fryar of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in Los Angeles (FSSPLA) to organize the Sacred Music Symposium since 2016.
I have served with the Symposium for the last few years in an effort to do whatever is in my power to further the use of authentic sacred music in our churches. Most of my young singers have traveled down to Los Angeles for the Symposium the past two years and it has tremendously improved their musicianship. Even more importantly, it has given them a great passion and love for sacred music. These young singers are the next generation of church musicians, bringing the mystery and beauty of the Lord to their fellow Catholics at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
This year we have the great honor of receiving Fr. Josef Bisig at the Symposium. Fr. Bisig is one of the Fraternity’s original members and was its first Superior General. Father will also celebrate Holy Mass at the end of the Symposium. At this special Mass the Symposium participants will sing all of the sacred music they have rehearsed that week.
Participants that week will spend time under the baton of composer Kevin Allen and conductor Dr. Horst Bucholtz. Additionally they will have a chance to attend conducting clinics, courses on counterpoint and Gregorian chant, and will also have the opportunity to meet other church musicians from around the country and the world (we have several international participants traveling to the Symposium this year).
Sometimes meeting someone who is experiencing similar struggles in their music programs can be very encouraging – to connect with others and know that you are not alone in your struggles to bring beauty to the liturgy. This has been very true for me, personally. Las Vegas is located in a desert geographically, and in some ways, spiritually too. Traditional liturgies and sacred music are both hard to find outside of a few places. Because of this, I have benefited tremendously from connecting with other musicians who have similar challenges to the ones I face.
The Sacred Music Symposium will be held in Los Angeles at St. Therese Catholic Church from June 18-22, 2018. View complete schedule and sign up here.