The Saint Anselm College Choir has won local renown for the musical and spiritual quality of its music. As the official choral group representing Saint Anselm College, it is appropriate to the Benedictine Tradition that the choir be primarily a liturgical choir.
The Choir is open to Saint Anselm students. Rehearsal and performance schedules are arranged in a way that respects the students' primary responsibility: i.e., attention to academic studies. The Choir, therefore, works with a limited amount of available rehearsal time, and seeks to produce the best music it possibly can within the time restraints necessary to allow Saint Anselm students a varied and balanced program of extracurricular and academic activities.
The Choir's repertoire includes the best of contemporary and traditional Christian music. Students are introduced to some of the great classics of Christian civilization, including Gregorian Chant, Palestrina, Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Tallis and others in addition to some of the finer contemporary works written primarily for the American Catholic Church. Members of the choir are given the opportunity to perform music that is often only available to students who are majoring in music in more specialized institutions.
The choir serves the college community in several ways: It is a liturgical choir which sings at the Sunday Choral Eucharist at 7 p.m. and on other special occasions such as Family Weekend. Many students from the choir are invited to join special ensembles to sing other occasions including the Sunday Morning Mass at 11 a.m. Membership in these ensembles is by audition. The choir offers two concert performances each year, DecemberSong during the Advent Season and a spring concert usually held close to Easter.
The choir goes on tour occasionally to local parishes. Every two years the members of the choir have the opportunity to participate in a European Concert Tour. In past years they have been to Vienna, Prague, Leipzig, Rome, Venice, Florence, Budapest, Salzburg, Zurich, Belgium, Luxembourg, Paris, Nice, Cannes, Avignon, Monaco, Carcasonne, Montserrat and Barcelona, and Ireland.
Joining the Choir
To Register for an Audition
Email Eric Bermani, Campus Minister and Director of Liturgical Music, email@example.com with the following information:
Name, address and cell-phone number
Your voice part. (If you're not sure, we'll determine your part during the audition)
Some information about your prior experience
If you play an instrument proficiently (i.e., you can play to a metronome and have good sight-reading ability), please let me know.
If possible, a small picture file (of yourself, obviously).
All necessary information will be sent to you by email. After you are registered you will be contacted via your Saint Anselm email to arrange a time for your audition.
To be accepted into the choir, you need to pass a small audition. This audition is meant to assess your voice range, tone and pitch ability. It must be passed before you will be able to sing with the choir. In some cases, it may be necessary to arrange for individual coaching before becoming a member of the choir. If you have no prior experience, it is possible for you to become a member of this choir if you agree to regular coaching at the beginning of the year. If accepted into the choir, it will be necessary to purchase the appropriate concert attire. This will be available at the start of the academic year.
The Choir practices on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. in the Abbey Church, and meets at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening to prepare for the 7 p.m. Choral Eucharist.
Students are encouraged to take their responsibility to the music and to the group seriously, and to honor the commitment they have made to these time-slots. Choir members are expected to take responsibility for managing conflicts with other activities according to their commitment to the choir, and are asked to keep the Director informed via e-mail about projected or unexpected absences, course conflicts, and lateness. Occasionally members are dropped from the choir roster due to excessive absences and/or lack of personal accountability.
Many students who are in the Choir also participate in the performances of the Abbey Players, and practice/performances for both groups are coordinated so that it is possible to participate in both activities, although not advisable for students who struggle to maintain a 2.0 GPA.
All rehearsal information will be sent to you upon your acceptance into the choir. Enter the church using the footbridge across from the large St. Benedict statue. Take the elevator downstairs and follow the signs to the rest rooms. The Director of Liturgical Music's office is in that area and is clearly marked.
Normally Choir members are expected to dress in a way that is appropriate for a lector or Eucharistic Minister. Casual, but nice. Slacks are fine for women but low-cut tops and bare midriffs are not allowed.
Men: ties and/or jackets preferred but not required. Collared shirts are required. No shorts and t-shirts.
All members: collared shirts or sweaters are required.
Since the choir practices in the church, attention needs to be paid to dressing respectfully. Polo-type shirts and/or button down shirts required for all. If you're only wearing a T-shirt, have a jacket or sweater to cover it up. Women's Short shorts are not allowed.
Choir members are required to purchase a choir gown or tuxedo. At the time of the audition you will be measured. Current prices will be distributed to all members at the beginning of the academic year (cost ranges from $60-$135). Tuxes and gowns are ordered the first week of school and arrive near the end of September -- plenty of time to get them tailored and hemmed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Between 70 and 100 students, depending on how great the response is from your class.
The college choir is a liturgical choir and we sing the student Sunday evening Mass each week and on special occasions such as Family Weekend and other college events. In addition we have two special performances in our Concert Series: "DecemberSong" (the first Saturday after Thanksgiving Weekend) and an annual Spring Concert in March or April. In addition, selected members of the choir are given opportunities to sing at other events on campus. In addition to this, during Spring Break of even-numbered year, members of the choir CONCERT TOUR abroad.
Rehearsals are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m., and Sunday evening at 6 p.m. (a warm-up for the 7 p.m. Mass). In addition there is one special weekend practice in the fall semester. That's all.
You will find, and choir members will back me up on this, that being in the choir will actually help you handle the academic pressure. It provides a stress release, the music refreshes the mind and soul and spirit and helps balance out your brain energies, it keeps you coming to church, it helps develop your spirituality, gives you a sense of belonging and an outlet for very worthwhile community service.
Any experience at all is desirable although some students have actually begun their singing careers in choir. There is a required audition which is not terribly difficult. You can get more information about the audition at the choir website.
Yes. The Abbey Players and the Choir arrange their schedules so that there are no rehearsal conflicts. Many students are involved in both programs (provided they can keep their grades up.)
All accepted members of the choir are eligible to go on Tour.
Email Eric Bermani, Director of Liturgical Music at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your name, address, e-mail and cell phone number. Please list what voice part you sing and briefly describe your former experience. Once registered, you will get further information via email when you come to campus.
Philosophy of Music Ministry
These principals from the Catechism are applied in the following way at choral Masses at St. Anselm Abbey
A choir of voices or instruments has two roles in a Catholic Mass.
To lead the congregation in song during "the designated moments" of the Mass, which are the following:
the Opening Hymn or song, the Gloria, the Psalm Response, the Alleluia, the Holy, Holy, Holy, the MemorialAcclamation, the Amen, the Lamb of God. Note that full participation in music and spoken responses is everyone's responsibility, and we are encouraged to support and encourage one another by our own presence, attentiveness and good spirit. While the music for these parts of the Mass is generally contemporary in nature, care must be given not to remain "stuck" in any one small period of time (such as the 60's and 70's) in the Church's musical heritage which spans almost two millennia of history. The Saint Anselm College Choir continually updates its service music with an aim to expanding the musical horizons of our literate, educated congregations at St. Anselm. All the music meant to be sung is provided in printed format at each Mass, and there is frequent repetition to allow for greater familiarity with the music as the school year progresses.
The second role of a choir or organ or instruments is an offering to God of first-fruits of time and talents, and a ministry to the congregation seeking to provide appropriate music for prayer, reflection and meditation. The liturgy allows for such music before Mass, during the Offertory, during Communion and after the Dismissal (in place of a closing hymn). These musical offerings draw from the Church's rich musical heritage and ministers of music are encourage by the Church to develop their talents in the service of the liturgy. Organ music, instrumental music and choral works are offered not as mere entertainment or performances, but as a form of prayer which hopefully can move others to pray as well.
Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are "more closely connected...with the liturgical action," according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful: