CHOIR, DRAMA, AND ART: A LIVING PARTICIPATION IN BEAUTY
All-school Schola Cantorum
From the time of St Gregory the Great in the 9th century the words “schola cantorum” (“school of singers”) have referred to a group of singers who devote themselves to enhancing liturgical worship though sacred music.
Youth is an excellent time to learn how to sing. It is an excellent time to gain an appreciation for the most beautiful music this side of heaven. Every student at Sedes Sapientiae School sings in the Schola Cantorum.
The Schola Cantorum’s purpose is to foster a love for the treasury of sacred liturgical music and to gain the skills needed for excellence in choral singing. Students not only “hear” the beauty of the music — they also use their own voices to “make” it, and work together for the sake of the whole.
These purposes also enable and encourage students to participate in and contribute to church music programs as supporters of the Church’s treasury of sacred music.
Giving students an acquaintance with beautiful liturgical music is a reward in itself and certainly in keeping with the wishes of our Holy Fathers.
All-school Drama Program
As long as there has been human societies, there have been people who told stories and acted them out — for teaching, entertaining, and handing on to new generations the wisdom of prior generations.
All of our students participate in putting on a dramatic performance. In these plays, students encounter engaging stories with strong heroes and dastardly villains, and divine principles and human frailty, all crafted in beautiful language.
Not only do students passively “see” the dramatic and linguistic beauty, they themselves participate in making it. They make beauty by learning and delivering their lines, working together, building sets, crafting costumes, and adding the fine touches that result in an outstanding production.
In the process, students learn self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment, they learn to project and modulate their voices for all manner of public discourse, and they learn to add a dramatic flair to their conversations.
All they while they receive — and hand on — some of the greatest dramatic works of all time.
All-school Art Classes
Visual arts involve skills that anyone can develop with practice. These skills involve not only motor skills to control the drawing materials, but also a careful observation of the objective reality to be depicted.
Our students begin with drawing, which is fundamental to other visual arts such as painting and sculpture. We use the Bruges method — the same used at the great art schools in Florence.
Looking at great art, such as in museums or depicted in textbooks or on the internet, is certainly a great way to understand beauty. It also helps students appreciate the potential of human ingenuity and hard work to create great masterpieces. However, to really appreciate beauty, students have to make it.
“But I don’t know how to draw!” And, “I am so not artistic!” Like any other school subject, all it takes is practice — time and again, students amaze themselves at their own achievements.
Perhaps some of our students will become artists later in life. Perhaps not. But they all encounter beauty first-hand.
This is a rehearsal during the 2017-2018 school year.