Participants of the workshop pose for a photo with Kevin Allen (front row, extreme right).Participants of the workshop pose for a photo with Kevin Allen (front row, extreme right).
SINGAPORE – Choir leaders from various parishes attended a workshop on choir leadership from July 7-11 at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre (CAEC) at Highland Road.

Seventy-six participants from eighteen parishes attended the nightly sessions led by Kevin Allen, a Catholic composer based in Chicago who has been highly regarded as a composer of church music for the Roman Rite.

Allen’s works have been performed in churches and concert halls throughout the United States and Europe. He was invited to share his expertise on managing choirs as well as conduct a master class for conductors.

The aim of the workshop, organised by the Liturgical Music Committee of Singapore (LMC), was to encourage choirs to be more proficient in leading their choirs and to collaborate with their clergy and congregation towards a more orthodox and appropriate liturgical celebration of the Eucharist through the rediscovery of the Church’s liturgical traditions in chant and sacred polyphony.

Allen covered a wide range of topics. These included how to organise auditions that set the precedence for singing discipline for new members, and how to manage rehearsals while teaching and encouraging orthodoxy in music selection through chant and sacred polyphony, vocal development and exercises for choral singing, just to name a few.

The workshop concluded with a Mass in the Ordinary Form at the chapel of SJI International, Thomson Road on the morning of July 12.

Participants were able to appreciate the culmination of all the material they have learnt during the week, made present and practical as they experienced the Mass through chant and sacred polyphony.

Many of the participants expressed that they have experienced a new solemnity towards the Mass and that a deeper reverence and adoration was inevitable.

Mr Ivan Lee from the Church of the Risen Christ, said, “I’ve come to understand the reasons for chant and sacred polyphony by appreciating the history and traditions of Sacred Liturgy.

“I also appreciate why we should recover this tradition in our Liturgy in place of the contemporary music we use in our Mass today. The liturgy accompanying the celebration of the Eucharist was made more solemn and there was a certain grandeur about it that was appropriate for the sacrament.”

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