I have just had a Jesuit novice ask for some recommendations as he makes a 30-day pilgrimage (I think they call it an “experiment”) with no cash, no lodging, etc. He writes: “We are allowed to start anywhere in the lower 48 and can go anywhere in the states during that time. One thing that has been coming up for me in prayer is to seek out an experience of American liturgy, especially focused on music. What I lack is knowledge. I don’t know where the great centers of liturgy are (whatever that means). I’d be very happy in a monastery that still chants the office, learning how to do that. I’d be happy in a basilica, learning how they do their thing. Choir rehearsals. I’m proficient in voice, piano, and guitar. Maybe meeting some composers. Talking with people about what music helps them pray. I like the whole rainbow of music, from Palestrina to Bob Dylan to Bach to Phish.” I should mention that this novice studied conducting and composition at Carnegie Mellon and has some experience with opera, recording, etc.
Off the top of my head I’d recommend (in no particular order):
St. John’s Abbey and University
St. Meinrad’s Abbey
The Camaldolese Community at Big Sur (unless their recent troubles with mudslides would make that impractical)
Notre Dame’s Liturgy and Music program and the worship there and at St. Mary’s College
Catholic University’s Liturgy and Music program and the worship at the Basilica
The Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis
The Paulist Center in Boston, MA
I’d love suggestions from either coast of the USA and from the Southwest.