Yesterday afternoon the choristers of the National Catholic Youth Choir arrived at Saint John’s Abbey and University from all parts of the United States for an intensive 9 days of singing, prayer, fun, study, and community. The choir has been running since 2000, and has grown this year to include 33 young people. The choir is singing in cathedrals and churches in Duluth (with Bishop Power of Superior diocese), in St. Paul (with Archbishop Hebda), and in Sioux Falls (with Bishop Swain). Camp concludes on Sunday, June 24, the feast of John the Baptist, with Mass in the abbey church.
Taking its theme from the concluding Mass, the concert program this year is “Prepare Ye the Way!” The choir is singing Gregorian chant and music by Handel, Joncas, Clausen, Moses Hogan, and Palestrina, among others.
Camp began with a prayer service at the statue of John the Baptist in the abbey church, a twentieth-century piece by Belgian sculptor Doris Caesar. Picking up a tradition from the statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the choristers touched the hand of the statue in an act of pilgrimmge.
As young people do, some of the returning singers gathered around the piano before the first rehearsal to do a run of Palestrina.
And then rehearsal begun. Here, about ten minutes in, is master condctor André Heywood in a first run-through of “Keep Your Lamps Burning.”
Here’s the full performance schedule for this week. If you’re in the area, be sure to come!
St. Benedict’s Monastery, Wednesday evening prayer and a mini-concert, 7:30 pm
St. Michael’s Church, Duluth, Thursday concert, 7:30 pm
St. Paul Cathedral, Friday concert, with archdiocesan “pick-up choir” on some pieces, 7:00 pm
St. John’s School of Theology Saturday Morning Prayer at school reunion, 8:30 am
St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Sioux Falls, anticipated Mass, Saturday, 4:00 pm
St. John’s Abbey, mini-concert and Mass, Sunday 10 am.
Here is this year’s Program.