22-28 June – Chicago – Sacred Music Colloquium

From a reader:

“Seven Days of Musical Heaven”

June 22-28, 2009 (Monday noon through Sunday morning) Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois Sponsored by the Church Music Association of America

The Sacred Music Colloquium is the largest and most in-depth teaching conference and retreat on sacred music in the world.

Attendance is open to anyone interested in improving the quality of music in Catholic worship. Professional musicians will appreciate the rigor, while enthusiastic volunteer singers and beginners new to the chant tradition will enjoy the opportunity to study under an expert faculty.

Francis Cardinal George, O.M. I., will be the celebrant at Wednesday’s 10:00am Mass, which is a great honor for us and those attending. Attendees will also benefit from camaraderie with like-minded musicians who share their love of the liturgy of the Church. Growing awareness and appreciation of chant and its solemnity has generated particular excitement about the conference this year.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ygnacia says:

    Thank you for posting this, Fr. Z – it sounds like it will be truly wonderful! On the website it says the Mass will be celebrated in both forms.
    If people are interested, they should sign up soon.
    The deadline for all tuition and fees due is May 15, 2009.

  2. There is also this video, which shows live footage from the actual event:


    CMAA Video

  3. Girgadis says:

    A little too late for this year but good to know for next. What I would find
    most helpful is advice on how to approach the music director about incorporating
    chant and reducing and/or eliminating all of the Marty Hauggen-type “hymns”
    from her repetoire. I purchased the Adoremus Hymnal and accompanying CD’s to
    give her but I haven’t mustered the courage yet to do it. I was hoping our new
    pastor would exert some influence in this area, especially given his interest
    in the EF, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

  4. Flambeaux says:

    I’ll be there. I hope to meet some of y’all.

  5. JoyfulMom7 says:

    I hope to be there, as well.

  6. VickiW says:

    Girgadis, I would encourage you to subscribe to the CMAA’s site forum. http://www.musicasacra.com/forum/ It is populated by Catholic musicians who love the Church’s traditional music. Many of them are music directors and/or choir directors who have lots of experience with what is likely to work and what isn’t in influencing musical choices in your parish. And you would be assured of many sympathetic, but sane and sensible ears.

  7. JH says:

    I’m going!!!! And I convinced my organ teacher to come with me. I’m very excited.

    Girgadis, as a church music director, my suggestion would be to first request one hymn that is already in your materials. People can usually handle this. Then if you do give her the Adoremus hymnals, try to sound really excited about it and show her individual pieces that you really like.

  8. Fr. Totton says:

    I will be there as well. We should have a Fr. Z. Fan Club gathering (sort of like a Blognic, but of course, Fr. Z. may not be there – or will he?)

  9. Jenny says:

    I have gone to the Colloquium for each of the past three years (twice at Catholic University, last year in Chicago). It is worth every penny and more. It would be worth it for the liturgies alone but you also are exposed to some of the greatest music of the church taught by conductors who are master of their craft. Morning prayer, night prayer, sung vespers- in a way it has all the musical benefits of living in a monastery plus a great cafeteria! But seriously- We work hard but there is much laughter and brain storming and the beautiful sung liturgies would reduce the hardest heart to tears. I was nervous about attending the first time. I was afraid I was not advanced enough but the welcome from the other musicians was warm and I learned so much I couldn’t not return. Join us!

  10. Girgadis says:

    Thank you VickiW and JH, I certainly will take both of you up on your advice.

  11. chironomo says:

    I too will be there. For those who are new to the world of chant, the “Chant Intensive” would also be a good option. I haven’t read anywhere if there will be one given at Loyola this year before the Colloquium. Would anybody out there know this? A Fr. Z blog gathering would be a good idea. I will be blogging daily from the colloquium at http://www.authenticupdate.blogspot.com


  12. chironomo says:


    What you are suggesting doing is, unfortunately, more complex an issue than you may know. To request that a specific hymn or song be sung on this or that day is one thing…to go to the Music Director and request a change in liturgical vision for the parish…that is something else altogether. Even changing hymnals, if everyone is on board for the idea, is a several-step process at most parishes. And not everyone will be on board for the idea, I assure you!

    I notice you said “our new Pastor…”. Keep in mind that most new Pastors are going to be hesitatnt to change ANYTHING for at least a year to 18 months after being assigned. That’s conventional wisdom in a Catholic parish. After that time, he may begin asserting his personal vision, so you just may have to wait it out a bit.

  13. Mary Jane says:

    There is a Chant Intensive the week before the Colloquium and I believe there are a very few slots open if you enroll immediately. In a lifetime of conferences and meetings, both the Intensives and the Colloquia have been the best!

  14. Girgadis says:

    Thank you chironomo, I was thinking the same thing – that it will take some
    time before Father can sort everything out and enact changes as he sees fit.
    The preliminary signs have been very positive so I must manage a little more patience.

  15. Ben D. says:

    Girgadis, you can start by getting as informed as possible. The CMAA is the best place to get informed, both at their forums as mentioned above, and also through their very nice quarterly print publication, “Sacred Music”.

    Jeffrey Tucker’s book “Sing Like a Catholic” (available on Amazon.com or for free, digitally, on Scribd) is a great collection of his recent essays on liturgical music. It could use some editing for typos but the information and argument and tone are excellent: http://www.scribd.com/doc/12699133/Sing-Like-a-Catholic

    (Tucker is the managing editor of “Sacred Music”)

    In addition to the theoretical topics, Tucker talks a lot, and very helpfully, on practical matters. For example, in the long run it can be much less expensive for a parish to use chant and good polyphony and so forth, than to get all the standard missalettes, choir books, and so forth from Oregon Catholic Press or another of the established, for-profit liturgical publishing houses. This might be one angle of approach that a pastor or choir director would find more compelling than going straight for the Haugen-jugular, as it were.

  16. Kathy says:

    I’ve been to both the Colloquium and the Chant Intensive, and I can’t recommend them enough. Very joyful weeks! No guitars!

  17. little gal says:

    Can anyone tell me if this conference is appropriate for someone who wants to learn Latin chant–in other words a rank beginner?

  18. little gal,

    the answer to your question is YES

  19. Girgadis says:

    Thanks Ben D and everyone for the practical advice. I have registered with
    CMAA and will subscribe to “Sacred Music”. Pray that I go about this the
    right way.

  20. Girgadis says:

    Better yet, the subscription comes with the membership. Can’t beat that.

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