In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The National Catholic Youth Choir was founded in 2000. The choir is sponsored by the School of Theology•Seminary and meets on the grounds of Saint John's Abbey and Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. This choir was begun under the motto Spreading the Catholic Faith Through Great Music as a response to the call of Pope John Paul II for a "new evangelization." The choir sings music of various Christian traditions, ranging from medieval Gregorian chant to twentieth century music. The primary focus of the choir is liturgical, and the choir seeks to implement the directive of Vatican Council II that the "treasury of sacred music" be preserved and fostered in the modern liturgy.
In past years the choir has sung in several cities in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in Chicago, Atlanta, Des Moines, Kansas City, Kalamazoo, East Lansing, Indianapolis, and Omaha.
Several dozen high school students going into grades 10, 11, and 12 from across the United States are selected to participate in the choir on the basis of written applications, recommendations, and taped auditions. The summer camp includes choir rehearsal; repertoire-based classes in religion, music theory, and music history; daily worship and prayer (Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament); CD recording, sports and recreation. The choristers are trained to be cantors as encouragement for musical ministry in their home parishes. The choristers worship together as a group with the Benedictine monks on campus and with the Benedictine sisters in nearby St. Joseph; they conclude each day by singing Compline.
The National Catholic Youth Choir is a liturgically-based choir open to Roman Catholic youth entering 10th-12th grade. The conductor of the choir is internationally renowned choral clinician Dr. Axel Theimer. Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, a monk of Saint John's abbey, is the founding director of the choir.
Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict are two premier Catholic undergraduate colleges for men and women respectively, with coordinate coeducational learning in all departments, and majors offered in the humanities, sciences, and fine arts.
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Review: The National Catholic Youth Choir sings a variety of sacred music from the Renaissance through modern periods. The theme of the 2001 season, "Death and New Life," runs through the pieces. Selections include "Ehre sei Dir Christe," by Heinrich Schutz, "Pie Jesu" and "In Paradisum," from Gabriel Faure's Requiem and "At the River," by Aaron Copland. Led by Axel Theimer, the goal of the choir is to "spread the Catholic faith through great music.
Review: The National Catholic Youth Choir sings sacred masterpieces from Gregorian chant to newly-written pieces. "Doxology" was commissioned for the choir from Kevin Vogt for the 2000 premier season. It interweaves Latin doxology with English liturgical texts. Other selections include "A Maiden Most Gentle," by Andrew Carter, "Panis Angelicus," by Cesar Frank and "Tu Es Petrus," by Maurice Durufle. This highly select group of singers is conducted by Dr. Axel Theimer and accompanied by Michelle Plombon.