Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota, the only Catholic institution in the U.S. to offer an ATS-accredited masters degree in church music, is now also offering a Graduate Certificate in Liturgical Music.
The new program responds to the current shortage of trained liturgical musicians, with the goal of helping musicians hone their musical skills while becoming more theologically and pastorally informed.
This new 18-credit program is for those who would like to complete their studies in one academic year, or spread the certificate requirements over a longer period of time for part-time study.
The flexible certificate requirements foresee 6 credits in theology and liturgy, 4 credits in Liturgical Music Seminar including Chapel Choir, and 4-6 credits in applied music (organ, voice, piano), with further electives possible in those areas or choral conducting, choral literature, Gregorian chant, or theology and liturgy. Qualified students may do supervised lab conducting of Chapel Choir.
Theology and liturgy courses may be taken online; residency is required for the Seminar, Applied lessons, and Choral Conducting courses.
The application process includes submission of a recording demonstrating one’s abilities in singing or playing. Basic musical proficiency in one area (keyboard, voice, conducting) is to be demonstrated for completion of the certificate.
Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict are centers for choral music. World-renowned conductor Dr. Axel Theimer is co-founder of the VoiceCare Network which meets annually on campus, and Dr. André Heywood, Artistic Director of the Saint John’s Boys’ Choir and the National Catholic Youth Choir, conducts the graduate Chapel Choir. Rounding out the conducting faculty is Susan Vollbrecht, who specialized in music education.
The 3-manual 1961 Holtkamp pipe organ in the St. John’s Abbey Church is currently being expanded by renowned organ builder Martin Pasi. The transformation into a four-manual instrument of some 115 ranks is slated to be completed in the next year, with installation beginning this summer.