Worship the Lord

Sacred Music:
Sacred Music Apprenticeship

Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when it is celebrated in song… Indeed, through this form, prayer is expressed in a more attractive way, the mystery of the liturgy, with its hierarchical and community nature, is more openly shown, the unity of hearts is more profoundly achieved by the union of voices, minds are more easily raised to heavenly things by the beauty of the sacred rites, and the whole celebration more clearly prefigures that heavenly liturgy which is enacted in the holy city of Jerusalem (Musicam Sacram, 5).

The Sacred Music Apprenticeship provides musical and liturgical training for high school juniors or seniors who wish to serve at Mass through their musical craft. With an emphasis on formation in the sacred liturgy, students will understand their role practically and spiritually through their musical contributions to the church. Our apprenticeship offers two tracks:

Vocalist track - Singers are formed to be receptive to Holy Scripture, humbly proclaiming the Word of God with proper phrasing, elocution and posture. “Among the faithful, the schola cantorum or choir exercises its own liturgical function, its place being to take care that the parts proper to it... are properly carried out and to foster the active participation of the faithful by means of the singing” (General Instruction on the Roman Missal, 104). Applicants should have some choral and/or instrumental background.

Organist track - Organists are trained to enrich the liturgy with the organ’s noble sound which “adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 120), and to accompany congregational singing "in such a way that it meets the needs of the liturgical celebration, and is in the interests both of the beauty of worship and the edification of the faithful" (Musicam Sacram, 63). Students with little or no organ experience are encouraged to apply but must have basic keyboard skills.

The program culminates in a capstone project in which the young person plans, prepares, rehearses and conducts the music for the main Sunday Mass. Upon graduation from this program, the apprentice will have received rigorous formation in both theological and practical areas, and will be poised to continue in university studies or continue directly to a parish music program.

Topics include:

  • the theology of liturgy and the role of sacred music
  • the parts of the Mass
  • the history of the Mass
  • chant and standard music theory
  • the spirituality of the church musician
  • an introduction to the liturgical books
  • sacred music legislation

In addition, the apprentice will be able to:

  • plan and direct music for a Sunday Mass
  • effectively employ the appropriate liturgical books in musical planning
  • conduct Gregorian chant and polyphony in a choral ensemble
  • prepare a choral rehearsal
  • read chant notation
  • cantor Mass (vocalist)
  • accompany Mass (organist)

If you have questions about our music program, please contact our Director of Music, James Senson: [email protected]