The Saint Anselm College Choir

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.

Additional Information

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, with the following information:

  • Name, address and cell-phone number
  • Graduation year
  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Between 70 and 100 students, depending on how great the response is from your class.

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 Memorial Acclamation, 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:

How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears, distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face -- tears that did me good. (St. Augustine, Convessions 9:6, 14)

— from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1157