Diocesan News

Diocese to host clinic on sacred music Aug. 27

‘Early bird’ registration deadline is May 31

Story by S.L. Hansen

LINCOLN (SNR) - The Diocese of Lincoln will host its first “Sacred Music Clinic” Saturday, Aug. 27 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on the campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

The clinic is meant for all those who contribute to liturgical music at Mass on any level – beginning, intermediate or advanced. That includes cantors, adult or youth choir directors, singers, organists and other instrumentalists, clergy and religious.

In a letter to parish musicians across the diocese, Bishop James Conley called the clinic, “an exciting opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the Church’s liturgical and sacred music tradition.”

Father Daniel Rayer, chancellor for the Diocese of Lincoln, said that several members of the diocesan Liturgical Commission who have attended the annual Catholic Music Association of America colloquium wanted to start a smaller version for musicians in the diocese.

“What we’re trying to do is help musicians from across the diocese know and understand what the Church documents really teach about the music at Mass and what kind of music is designed for the Sacred Liturgy,” he said.

Sacred music has always been a key part of liturgy. As Father Rayer pointed out, Church documents say quite a bit about music at Mass.

“We’re called to sing the Mass, not just to sing at Mass,” Father Rayer said. “Chant has really been the Church’s musical tradition for centuries.”

Two accomplished musicians will lead the clinic.

Adam Bartlett is a composer, conductor and teacher of Catholic sacred music. Currently, he is president and editor of Illuminare Publications, as well as a visiting faculty member for the Liturgical Institute and Mundelein Seminary of the University of St. Mary on the Lake. He will give a talk called, “Singing the Mass: The Musical Structure of the Liturgy.”

Organist Matthew Meloche is director of sacred music at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix. He has been working in parish music ministry for 15 years, in both the United States and his native Canada, and frequently leads retreats and missions. His presentation is titled, “Introducing Sacred Music to a Parish Community.”

Several breakout sessions will focus on different aspects of liturgical music. These will include chant, organ accompaniment, hymn selection, leading the responsorial psalm at Mass and other pertinent topics.

“A lot of what we are doing is a beginning level, but also hope to have some breakout sessions for those who are a little more advanced,” Father Rayer said.

There will be some Latin at the clinic, but Father Rayer assured that there will be plenty of English as well.

“The instructors will start with some English chant,” he said. “Both languages will be present.”

The clinic will open at 8:30 a.m. with registration and conclude at 5 p.m. with Solemn Mass, giving participants an opportunity to immediately practice what they have learned during the day.

Related to the clinic, artist/writer David Clayton will deliver a free lecture at the Newman Center on the Friday evening preceding the clinic at 7 p.m. A native of England, Clayton is a graduate of Oxford University. He is currently provost of Pontifex University and a visiting fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire.

In addition to being an internationally recognized painter, Clayton has published many articles and two books about sacred art and culture as connected to the Sacred Liturgy: “The Little Oratory- A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home” and “The Way of Beauty – Liturgy, Education and Inspiration for Family, School and College.” He is a frequent contributor to the New Liturgical Movement website.

This lecture will be the first in the autumn series of public lectures for the Newman Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture. All are invited; no pre-registration is necessary.

Father Rayer said the Liturgical Commission intends for the sacred music clinic to become an annual event. Attendees will be asked for their feedback about what topics they would want covered in the future.

“We want to make this as helpful as possible for the musicians of the diocese,” he said.

The “early-bird” cost of the clinic is $45, $35 for clergy and religious. An optional dinner with Clayton’s keynote address, titled, “Beauty and the Liturgy,” will follow for an additional $10 fee. Reservations are due by May 31 for the discounted rate. After that deadline, the clinic cost will be $60, and available until Aug. 8.

A limited number of rooms have been reserved at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel, which is a short walk from St. Thomas Aquinas Church in downtown Lincoln. Reservations must be made by Aug. 15 by calling 1-866-706-7706 and asking for “Sacred Music Clinic Room Block.” Or, go to www.TheCornhusker.com, select “Check Rates and Availability,” choose your overnight dates and enter the code SMCSMCA. Rooms are slated for a special rate of $119 per night.

For more information, please contact Father Rayer at (402) 488-0921 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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