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Thursday, 22 January 2009

The Jubilus Course

It is hard not to be encouraged by what is going on all over the Catholic world.
And thanks to the blessing of the Internet, the news goes out to all the world!
(And though state-of-the-art technology, the mimeograph, helped trash the Liturgy in the day, the new technology will speed the clean-up.)
Gregorian Chant ...a way of singing parts of the Mass in a way that elevates it to a more contemplative, peaceful experience and adds a spiritual dimension... Today, it has found a young audience. A Gregorian chant course run during World Youth Day at St Augustine’s Church in Balmain last year drew so many pilgrims – over 200 – that they had to use the Protestant church down the road to cater for them all.
Jeremy Fletcher, a 37-year-old graduate of music at the Australian Catholic University, helped run the course, as well as one during Melbourne’s Days in the Diocese.
“If you present something to young people when you’re passionate about it and they can see you know what you’re talking about, they respond to it,” he said.
He was only two years old when Paul VI issued Jubilate Deo “as a gift” to the bishops of the world, but ever since learning the organ from an Anglican as a teen growing up in Grafton, NSW, he has been passionate about promoting music of good quality.
“I’ve always been dismayed that many Catholics have been unfamiliar with things like Paul VI’s letter to Catholics,” he said.
So he started the Sacred Music Centre in West Melbourne in 2006 and last month released the Jubilus Chant Course – based on Paul VI’s Jubilate Deo - to make ordinary Catholics more familiar with their heritage in an easily accessible way.
It is the first multi-media course in Gregorian Chant, incorporating a DVD, a chantbook, an audio CD and internet services.
Initially transferred from generation to generation by oral tradition, the need to transcribe the chant onto paper arose in the 10th century.
It was only a matter of time, Jeremy says, before chant became available through digital media.
Gregorian chant is difficult to produce, he admits, as it has its own form of notation. Compared to conventional music, the stave uses four lines instead of five, and the notes are square instead of round. Singers must also be able to sing without the accompaniment of an organ or piano.
Initially transferred from generation to generation by oral tradition, the need to transcribe the chant onto paper arose in the 10th
Jubilate Deo contains simple chant settings in Latin of the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and the Agnus Dei. It also provides musical settings for the dialogues between priest and people, such as before the Preface, and the Ite Missa est, the response to the Prayer of the Faithful, and others.
An expanded edition of Jubilate Deo was later issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1987. Yet most Catholics still haven’t heard of it. Jeremy plans to change that....
It would nourish the personal faith of everyone who is involved in sacred music – which is basically singing, which means everyone in the congregation would benefit”.

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