"Chant isn’t just for the old Mass"

Lawrence Stich, the director of the Holy Redeemer Schola Cantorum, kindly granted me an email interview–a first for my blog, and I hope to do some more interviews. The Schola sings Greogrian chant about twice a month for our 7am Sunday Traditional Latin Mass, including this Sunday, Nov 25th. They welcome new members, and no prior choir experience is required. Leave a comment or use the “Contact” link at the top of the page if you would like me to put you in touch with Larry. Increasing hunger for truly beautiful, truly Catholic music is reflected in this recent rave review of Larry’s music for a Solemn High Wedding Mass at St Stanislaus in Milwaukee. 

Chant isn’t just for the old Mass. Larry is also now preparing a choir at St Patrick parish in Cottage Grove, for the Novus Ordo Mass. West of Madison, Fr Rick Heilman’s parish St Mary of Pine Bluff has wonderful chant in Latin and in English under the skilled direction of Aristotle Esguerra.

Larry, thank you for letting me interview you. Can you first tell something about yourself and your long history as a church musician?

Liz, I’ll begin a bit earlier—I was an altar boy when the Extraordinary Form was still in regular use. As to the music part, after several years of piano instruction I was privileged to study organ under Sr. Mary Theophane (Hytrek) OSF at Alverno College, and began as an organist at about that time. That was in the early 1960’s. When the next parish over needed a choir-accompanist/organist, I took the position (they paid for my services!) After a few years, I was asked to become the choir director, too. Most of that work was done in the “New Rite”—today’s Ordinary Form– although we continued to use Latin music about 10-20% of the time. After 20 years there, the Pastor retired. I was married and we lived on the opposite side of Milwaukee from that parish, so I took a similar position with a Parish closer to our home. In that assignment, I had a wonderful organist/accompanist—a Ph.D. nuclear engineer, by the way—who was the first person to petition for an Indult “Old Rite” Mass in Milwaukee. When that petition was granted by Abp. Weakland[!], I was asked to become the choir director for the Old Rite Mass. That was actually my first experience with Chan propers.
continue at Laetificat

This fellow sounds like he knows what he's talking about.


JoshD said...

Always great, and encouraging, to see people working hard for the restoration of true beauty and sacredness in the Liturgy. It is extra exciting to see it happening in Wisconsin

Also always great to hear reference to St. Anthony's and Lee Erikson. Probably the best parish in Milwaukee for "doing the Ordinary Form" right! I'd love to see it featured on this blog sometime :-D

Badger Catholic said...

Josh, you will be happy to hear I plan to visit St. Anthony's next time I am in town(I have a "Places in WI I need to visit" again on the side bar).