Notre Dame Children’s Choir Summer Tour Announced

(Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

(Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

Notre Dame Children’s Choir National Tour June 13-21, 2015

The Notre Dame Children’s Choir (NDCC) makes its inaugural national tour this summer with performances in South Bend, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, Philadelphia, Abington, PA, and New York City. The tour includes evening performances with the Cincinnati Boychoir and the Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs of Saint Mark’s Church of Philadelphia.The NDCC is an ecumenical ensemble within the Sacred Music Program at the University of Notre Dame, specializing in sacred music from both Catholic and Protestant traditions. The audition-based group includes children ages 5-14 from the South Bend, IN area, although only the Chamber Choir (ages 11-14) will be touring.
The Choir’s performances include works by Benjamin Britten, Giovanni Pergolesi, Gabrielle Fauré, and new commissions by Ruth Boshkoff and Stephen Mager.
All performances are free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

South Bend, IN
Sunnyside Presbyterian Church
115 South Frances Street, South Bend, Indiana 46617
Saturday June 13, 2015
4:00pmIndianapolis, IN:
Christ Church Cathedral
125 Monument Cir.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Sunday June 14, 2015

Cincinnati Museum Center Rotunda
1301 Western Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45203
Monday June 15, 2015

First Lutheran Church,  (With the Cincinnati Boychoir)
1208 Race Street
Cincinnati, OH
Monday June 15, 2015

Columbus, OH
Holy Cross Catholic Church
204 S. 5th St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Tuesday June 16, 2015

Philadelphia, PA
Saint Mark’s Church (With the Boys’ and Girls’ Choir of St. Mark’s Church)
1625 Locust St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Wednesday June 17, 2015

Abington, PA
Abington Presbyterian Church
1082 Old York Rd
Abington, PA 19001-4593
Thursday June 18, 2015

New York, NY
Church of Notre Dame
405 W 114th St
New York, NY 10025
SaturdayJune 20, 2015

About the Notre Dame Children’s Choir
Established in 2013, the Notre Dame Children’s Choir (NDCC) promotes the central role children can play in the musical life of the church, while seeking to educate the whole child through musical, spiritual, and social means. According to NDCC’s Artistic Director, Dr. Mark Doerries, connecting children to sacred music at an early age can help create a lifelong engagement with both church life and the arts.South Bend area children aged 5-14 audition for the group’s age-based choirs (Cherub, Cantabile, Descant, and Chamber) and come from diverse religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. The free and ecumenical ensemble performs a wide variety of music from both Catholic and Protestant traditions, including Gregorian chant, spirituals, classical cantatas, folk, and contemporary music. They also sing in various venues and formats, including traditional concert settings, prayer services, vespers, evensong and lessons and carols services. The Notre Dame Children’s Choir recently performed as part of the 2014 international conference, “The Chorister and the Church of The Future,” and presented a TEDx talk in February 2015 titled, “What if Children Were More Than Cute.”The NDCC is made possible in part through the generosity of Lilly Endowment, Inc., an Indianapolis-based philanthropic foundation supporting the causes of religion, education, and community development. For more, visit the NDCC website at


A New Organ on Campus

I remember coming to audition day in March and seeing a delivery truck filled with organ parts parked behind the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. I knew the Basilica was due to receive a new organ, but I did not realize it would be arriving this quickly. It turns out that was the wrong organ. The Sacred Heart Parish church that meets in the crypt of the Basilica was the recipient of a new Rieger organ. The organ was donated by Durel and Barbara Reid from Dallas Texas, and it was built in Austria by the firm Rieger Orgelbau. The dedication concert on Wednesday night, September 10, displayed the value of this new instrument as both a versatile performance instrument and a leader of song. The organ has only 7 ranks dispersed across three divisions and is only eight feet tall, but the builders of the organ made every pipe and inch of space in the organ count. The swell box has plexiglass sliders to control volume and the pipes of only independent pedal stop, the Subbass 16’, are attached to the back wall of the organ. However, that independent pedal stop, along with a reed in the swell, and flue pipes at 8’, 4’, and 2’ pitch make it a very versatile instrument for its size.

            The organ repertoire chosen for the program demonstrated both a performance and liturgical use for the organ. The Mendelssohn pieces played by Dr. Craig Cramer absolutely sang in the room, especially the Andante in D with Variations. They showed the warmth and beauty of the flue stops in the organ. The Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541, by J. S. Bach, was a splendid show of the organ’s contrapuntal capabilities. The liturgical aspects of the organ were demonstrated by Dr. Paul Walker, using liturgical music from four different Christian denominations to show the organ’s versatility. The Lutheran chorale settings of Bach demonstrated counterpoint and showed that great organ music does not necessarily require pedals. These three settings were written for no pedal, but that does not diminish their complexity or effectiveness a bit. The hymn Praise My Soul the King of Heaven was taken from the Episcopal tradition, with four different harmonizations, one for each verse, taken from the Episcopal hymnal. It demonstrated the organs’ purpose in church, to lead the song. The singing was so enthusiastic, the organ was temporarily lost in the space, though that is probably due to the number of professional singers in the room at the time. Under normal circumstances, this organ should lead song magnificently, though it would be wonderful to have congregations sing loudly enough to drown out the organ more often! From the Dutch Reformed tradition, a song about the calling of Simon and Andrew was the subject of a modern Neo-Baroque chorale setting which used some fun and modern technical devices which had the audience on the edge of their seat, especially when one of the variations just seemed to stop without any hint of conclusion. The Catholic tradition was represented by a setting of Ave Maris Stella by Charles Tournemire from his L’Orgue Mystique, which was an appropriate chorale, given the proximity of Wednesday to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

            The donors of the organ were both present at the recital. One thing that made them very happy about the organ donation was the opportunity the students would have to use it for practice. Organ playing has been labeled as a dying art quite often, unfortunately, and it is encouraging to see such a thriving organ program at a university dedicated to the church. That this organ can be used for both worship and teaching is quite fortunate and certainly something to be thankful for. It is indeed a cause for celebration that another beautiful-looking and beautiful-sounding instrument has found its way to the campus of the University of Notre Dame.


The parts of the organ began arriving in March of 2014, and they were slowly reassembled over the summer. Here are some pictures showing the progress.


Announcing the program of “Learning from the Masters; Learning from the People,” a Sacred Music Conference at Notre Dame



September 19-20, 2014, Notre Dame Conference Center, McKenna Hall
This program is subject to change. For the latest information please contact Daniel Stein at
Session 1- Friday, September 19, 10 a.m.
Modernism and Postmodernism in Latin America: derivative or prescient? The case of the sacred music of Mario Lavista. 
A dedicated session sponsored by the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies
Welcoming Remarks. Peter Holland, Associate Dean of the College
Introductory Remarks for the Conference and for the Session: Framing A Conversation about Sacred Music. Carmen-Helena Téllez, University of Notre Dame
Historic Sources of Parallel Streams: Bernardino de Sahagún’s Psalmodia Christiana and Catholic Formation Among the Mexica in Sixteenth-Century New Spain. Lorenzo Candelaria, University of Texas-El Paso
Mirrors of a Superior Order: Mario Lavista’s Religious Music. Ana Alonso-Minutti, University of New Mexico.
A Conversation on Sacred Music and the Goals of the Contemporary Artist-Composer in the Postmodern Era. Mario Lavista, Colegio Nacional de Mexico, with Carmen-Helena Téllez
Session 2 – Friday, September 19, 2 p.m.
Learning from the People: Sacred Music and Spiritual Formation
The Alleluia Project: A Program for Liturgical Participation Goes On Line, Margot Fassler, Director, Sacred Music at Notre Dame
Luther and the Chorale: The Birth of a New Participatory Liturgical Repertoire, Mary Frandsen, University of Notre Dame
Liturgical and Artistic Issues of the Large Church Music Program: The Case of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart Andrew McShane, Music Director, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame
The Presbyterian Hymnal Project, David Eicher, St. Mary’s College
Reyes Hall: Works on Sacred Texts by Mario Lavista, Robert Kyr, and Tomás Luis de Victoria, performed by Notre Dame Vocale and guests Kosmologia  and the Larchmere Quartet.
Session 3 – Saturday, September 20, 10 a.m.
Creative Sacred Music
This session is part of the “Creative Sacred Music” series at the Sacred Music Program, sponsored by the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, Henkels Lecture Series
Reform, Revision and Restoration: Music for the Latin Rite, Kevin Allen, Monastery of the Holy Cross, Chicago
Communicating the Spiritual Message Through Musical Drama: Sacred Music by Jorge Muñiz, Jorge Muñiz, Indiana University-South Bend
The Music on Sacred Topics by Robert Kyr, Robert Kyr, University of Oregon and Oregon Bach Festival
Session 4 – Saturday, September 20, 2 p.m.
Music and the Liturgical Service
In this corner, the heavyweight champions: Gregorian Chant and Palestrina; and their lightweight opponents: Haugen, Haas and Joncas … Pastoral Reality or Conservatory Construct? Edward Foley, Capuchin, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
•Respondents: Wishart Bell, Marvin Curtis , Carrie Bowie, Hillary Doerries, Susan May, Paul Walker
“Diverse Traditions in Catholic Music – a Banquet to Which All Are Called.”, Steve Warner, Director of the Folk Choir, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame
Readings of works by young composers and proposed examples by the lecturers. Private meetings in composition.
Anonymous 4 in their farewell tour, 7:30 pm in Leighton Hall

SMND Announces Sacred Music Conference

Learning from the Masters. Learning from the People.


For Registration Information for Non-Notre Dame Visitors, click HERE.

“What constitutes great sacred music? Should we prefer the historical repertories of chant, polyphony  and baroque cantatas that have been recognized for their beauty and spiritual refinement? Or do we embrace the music of the people and of the times?  Do we judge the quality of sacred music on the basis of its intrinsic beauty or for its capacity to promote congregational participation? Should liturgical music have a separate style than music for everyday life?  Can we question the role of contemporary popular styles and of publishers’ anthologies if they appeal to the congregation?

A distinguished group of composers, scholars and conductors will examine these topics from their individual perspectives, to ascertain if the beauty and spiritual inspiration of sacred music can emerge from different models, practices and performance contexts. The discussions will be complemented by readings of new works of sacred music proposed by emerging composers and conductors registered in the colloquium. Young composers will be able to discuss their scores privately with the master composers of the conference.”
A full program will be posted here shortly

Dr. Robert Kyr,
 Professor of Music, University of Oregon, Resident Composer, the Oregon Bach Festival and Capella Romana

Mario Lavista, Music Chair, Colegio Nacional de México, Winner of the Tomás Luis de Victoria Ibero-American Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Composition

Jorge Muñiz, Associate Professor of Composition, Indiana University South Bend

Kevin Allen, Sacred Music Composer and Pedagogue, Monastery of the Holy Cross, Chicago

Dr. Marvin Curtis Composer, Dean of the Raclin School of the Arts, Indiana University South Bend

Dr. Margot Fassler, Musicologist, Director of Sacred Music at Notre Dame
Dr. Michael Driscoll, Liturgical Stduies, Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
Dr. Edward Foley,  Capuchin, Professor of Liturgy and Music, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago

Dr. Lorenzo Candelaria, Musicologist, Associate Professor, University of Texas El Paso

Ana Alonso Minutti,  Musicologist, Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico

Mary Frandsen, Musicologist, Associate Professor of Music, University of Notre Dame

Plus a distinguished panel of sacred music directors of the region:

Dr. Andrew McShane, Director of Music at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame

Steve Warner,  Director, Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart’s Folk Choir

David Eicher, Editor, Glory to God, The New Presbyterian Hymnal
Hillary Doerries, Music Director, Chirst the King Lutheran Church, South Bend

Dr. Wishart Bell, Founding Artistic Director of Vesper Chorale Inc. and of the Children Choir of Michiana

Susan May, Choir Director, First Presbyterian Church, Mishawaka

Carrie Bowie, Liturgy Director, Sisters of the Holy Cross and Our Lady of Loretto Chapel

Performances and Readings by:

Kosmologia, C.H. Tellez, conductor: Music by Kyr, Lavista and Victoria, Friday September 19

Anonymous 4, Sacred Music of the 14th Century, Saturday, September 20
Learning from the Masters; Learning from the People” is made possible with support by the  Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, Henkels Lecture Series and The Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

Chris Dekker, D.M.A. Organ, Wins Prestigious Sacred Music Scholarship

Second year doctoral student Christopher Dekker Publicityhas been awarded a scholarship from the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (FUMWA).  Open to all undergraduate and graduate students of any denomination intending to pursue a career in sacred music, the award was given to the candidate showing the greatest potential for outstanding promise of future impact in the field, as exemplified by their current work and schooling.  This news will be featured in an article in the October edition of the FUMWA magazine and in other publications of the United Methodist Church.