BC Sacred Music Symposium: July 20-22, 2018

Sts. Joachim & Ann Parish in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, under the care of pastor Fr. William Ashley, has gained local renown for its rich liturgical life and beautiful sacred music program. All the parish liturgies are celebrated ad orientem and employ both the chanted ordinary and propers of the Mass. The Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated on Sundays and feast days, with chant and polyphony directed by the parish’s chant master, Alex McCune, and Vespers is sung every Sunday afternoon before Benediction.   

“Chant is simple music that anyone can learn,” says Mr. McCune. “Not only that, it’s music with a uniquely Catholic character. The sounds of chant grew out of our Catholic liturgy, and nothing is better suited for our worship. As Catholics, this is truly our music.”

This deep devotion to their liturgical patrimony has led several members of the parish’s schola cantorum to organize a conference, dubbed the BC Sacred Music Symposium, as a way to share and promote what they have cultivated at Sts. Joachim & Ann. The inaugural symposium will be held from July 20 to 22, 2018, at Sts. Joachim & Ann, with the support of Una Voce Canada.

“We truly believe in the power of beauty to turn the minds and hearts of men towards God,” says symposium planning committee president Ryan Bjorgaard. “This is especially true when beauty is encountered within the context of the Sacred Liturgy, which, as St. John Paul II teaches, is the privileged place of encounter with God.”

The aim of the BC Sacred Music Symposium is to invite people with a general interest in sacred music, especially those involved in parish music ministry, to come and learn, to experience the riches of the Church’s music tradition, and to be inspired. “You don’t need to have any particular expertise in sacred music to benefit,” continues Mr. Bjorgaard. “We will have workshops for people will all levels of experience, from those who have never seen a square note in their lives, to those who would have little trouble sight reading one of the great motets by Palestrina. The only real requirement is good will.”

This year’s keynote speaker and the celebrant at the symposium’s principal Mass will be Bishop Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Early registration (January and February) is now open. The early registration fee is $50 per individual participant. Group rates are available: $45 per participant for groups of 5-9, and $40 per participant for group of 10 or more.

For more information or to register, please visit the symposium website at www.stsjoachimandann.org/symposium

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