A rare opportunity to peruse Richard Proulx’s complete works!

It has been more than three years since 54 boxes containing all of Richard Proulx musical holdings arrived at Saint John’s. “Shortly before he died, Richard was planning to send what he considered his most important manuscripts and archives to St John’s. But due to his unexpected death, what ended up coming here was everything!” explained Michael Silhavy, who will be presenting on the collection at the Collegeville Conference of Music, Liturgy and the Arts this summer.

Matt and Michael
Michael Silhavy with Saint John’s University student and cataloger, Matthew Jakubisin standing by some stacks housing a part of Proulx’s collection.

Receiving Proulx’s unmitigated collection turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Alcuin Library at Saint John’s University, is now the proud guardian of over 400 published works and 1000 unpublished ancillary arrangements, psalm settings, harmonized Anglican chant tones, hymn reharmonizations, descants, and Eucharistic acclamations and other short works which Proulx used on a day to day basis in his work at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Alcuin also received all of Proulx personal copies of hymnals, liturgical books, organ and choral music which contain Proulx’s doggie-eared pages and annotations such as personal notes to self, rehearsal markings used with his choir, and organ registration to pieces.

Sanctus of the Community mass
“One of the first things many notice when one first encounters a Proulx manuscript is his beautiful orthography,” says Michael Silhavy.

This remarkable collection will make its public appearance for the first time at CCMLA. Learn how the Proulx collection came to be, what gems have been unearthed from the collection, and hear inspiring personal stories about the man himself from Michael Silhavy, who worked closely with him on his hymnary collection and cataloging his manuscripts before his sudden passing. Participants will also get an opportunity to peruse the entire Proulx collection themselves.

Register for the conference now to save over $100 with Early Bird Discounts. Student discounts, seminarian discounts, and internships are also available until April 30.

Visit www.ccmla.org to check out keynotes, speakers, and the full conference schedule, or email ccmla@csbsju.edu for more information.

6 comments

  1. Does this collection include all the unpublished material that Richard contributed to the music program at the Madeleine in Salt Lake City — I believe during a sabbatical there? There are some wonderful pieces there that we were privileged to hear during a SWLC Mass a few years back.

    1. @Paul Inwood – comment #1:
      Paul, I have seen all those manuscripts in the Madeleine library. Many of those are now published by GIA (like The Pelican). However, there are interesting little things, like instrumental parts for Rheinberger’s Missa puerorum, that may not be in that collection. Those may be just in the Madeleine library. I would be interested to know as well.

  2. Thanks for making mention of the collection. I sense there are many manuscripts that are not in the collection. Richard was most gracious in writing compositions, arrangements and parts on request for colleagues.
    (He created a set of cello and flute parts for his Community Mass Sanctus at the request of a church with two regular professional players.) The collection would benefit from – and I would be very happy to hear from – anyone who has manuscripts that can be catalogued into the collection (michaelsilhavy@gmail.com). A complete listing of his published works should be available shortly. Once the collection is fully catalogued and organized, any church musician visiting St. John’s will certainly want to visit the collection. We should all be grateful to the abbey, the university, library staff and student workers for this undertaking.

  3. I am happy that St. John’s University will hold this fine collection. But I am wondering why the title of this thread refers to “A rare opportunity to peruse…” Will access to the collection be restricted after CCMLA?

    1. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #5:
      Hi Ron,
      There is a special guided presentation of it during the conference which you wouldn’t get otherwise. After the conference, it will be accessible to individuals like the rest of special collections in the university library.
      awr

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