Saturday, February 27, 2010

Passport to Rome

This week Nathaniel and Emma are filling out their passport applications so that they can go on a pilgrimage to Rome with the Jam Session. They fly out of Newark on June 28 and return July 10. They will also visit Siena and Assisi. I don't know yet what they will be singing.

Nathaniel and Emma's first experience with the Jam Session was the most recent one, Jam Session V, in Syracuse, NY, singing Josquin des Prez' beautiful Missa Pange Lingua. In the Jam V group photo above, Nathaniel is in the front left wearing a leather jacket, and Emma is one row behind Fr. Stanich, just to the right of him.

Here is a history of the Jams taken from the New Year's Eve fundraiser concert program. (The concert was performed by the Jam Session Chamber Ensemble):

In 2004, Father Stephen Stanich was transferred from St. Louis, Missouri, to Dickinson, Texas. In December 2007 he invited four singers from his former parish to join a few of his new parishioners in rehearsing and performing a polyphonic Mass--in this case, the Missa Brevis by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.

This Jam Session, as we called it, was such a success that the following August it was repeated in St. Louis, this time with the Missa: O Magnum Mysterium
of Tomas Luis de Victoria. In December 2008, Dickinson hosted Jam Session III, singing William Byrd's Mass for Four Voices; Jam Session IV took us to the high hills of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Victoria's Missa Quarti Toni. This fourth Jam Session suddenly doubled the choir in size, from the original sixteen (with a few additions over the other two Jams) to a staggering thirty. One of the founding members is about to receive the habit in a Dominican convent in New Zealand; some are married and have relinquished the Jam in favor of their families; but the new singers have stepped up boldly and we sing on. New friendships have been made over the Jams; old ones are strengthened every time; together we sing God's praise--praying twice, as St. Augustine would say; and, in the words of another great saint, Ignatius of Loyola, we "laugh and grow strong" in the Faith.

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