Saturday, May 04, 2013

St. Paul's Choir School Sings First Traditional Mass

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (April 28, 2013):
This past Thursday, April 25, another long-anticipated event came to pass: One of America’s most famed Catholic musical institutions, the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School at St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sang its first Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form. St. Paul’s is the United States’ only boys’ choir school, founded in 1963 by the late Ted Marier. The parish music program is a mixture of Gregorian Chant – in English as well as Latin for the Ordinary Form Masses – sacred polyphony, and traditional hymns.

Liturgical blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf was the celebrant of the Harvard church’s first Solemn High Mass since Vatican II. It also marked the first occasion that the choir has sung an entire Mass from the long-disused choir loft. Four individuals from Detroit and Windsor made the trek and were in attendance.

As one might expect, the music was nigh-perfect. St. Paul’s is a perfect storm of a church, with reverberant acoustics, dual pipe organs played antiphonally, and a Men’s Choir which sings with the Boys’ Choir. Many of the young choirsters move on to become organists, music directors, and priests. Things which might seem odd elsewhere don’t seem all that surprising in this environment: for example, one 13 year old boy is an accomplished organist with several compositions to his credit, including a piano sonata and a Mass setting for three parts and organ.

Readers frequently ask whether it is possible to hear the Boston Boys Choir on-line. After many years of media silence, they have at last debuted a YouTube channel, stpaulsharvardsquare, which features excerpts of the choir singing Latin and English Propers and polyphony at an Ordinary Form Mass. PBS also aired a special about the Choir School’s unique mission which is linked on the school web site,

BBC Sacred Music Broadcasts

The BBC offers many unpublicized gems on both their television and radio services. Periodic radio broadcasts of Solemn Vespers in the Extraordinary Form from the London Oratory are offered, the most recent having been on Easter Sunday. These broadcasts are made available on the BBC web site for approximately one week after their airing.

On the video side, the BBC offers a series called Sacred Music. Past episodes include “Palestrina and the Popes” (viewable on YouTube) and “The Story of Allegri’s Miserére”, which may be of interest to those who look forward to hearing the Assumption-Windsor choir sing it each year on Good Friday.

Tridentine Mass Added to Friday’s Bus Tour

A Tridentine Mass at the historic St. Joseph’s Shrine in Brooklyn, Michigan has been added to the schedule of the bus tour this Friday of churches in the Diocese of Lansing. For further information or to sign up for the tour, see or call (248) 250-6005. Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 04/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Peter of Verona, Martyr)
  • Tue. 04/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin)
  • Fri. 05/03 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart) [First Friday]
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat (Detroit) and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for April 28, 2013. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

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