The St. John Schola for Gregorian chant is a small men's choir, founded in 1995 and open to interested amateurs without audition, whose purpose is to foster the traditional Roman chant, known as Gregorian chant, not as mere secular performance, but in the actual religious setting for which it was composed, the Traditional Latin Mass and Divine Office of the classical Roman Rite. The chant (plainsong) used for the Hours of the Divine Office and at a Missa Cantata or High Mass is the ancient music of the Roman liturgy and is named after Pope St. Gregory I (590-604), who codified the existing chant melodies.
Therefore, the St. John's Schola Cantorum), which is composed of three to seven laymen who have had no extensive previous musical training, but who have practiced each Sunday to develop the use of the chant, can serve as a practical example and model of what can be achieved in the average church or chapel setting. This schola is similar to those that have sung the chant for two millennia: peasants and nobles, farmers and clerks, the urban and the rural.
Although there are many recordings made in recording studios, or sometimes in larger churches or monasteries with professional or dedicated choirs, there are few, if any, recordings made by the average small lay choir, chanting what can actually be attempted in the smaller churches, chapels, and oratories, to which the Sacred Chant can be a great addition in the traditional Roman liturgy, not as mere secular performance, but in the actual religious setting for which it was composed, the Traditional Latin Mass and Divine Office of the classical Roman Rite.
The St. John Schola is, therefore, recording a CD and MP3 series consisting of live recordings of the type of chant pieces that may be used at traditional churches and chapels. It makes no pretense to being professional, but to what is achievable, with a little work, by the average small lay choir. Our hope is that this series will serve as a practical guide for the wider use of Gregorian chant in the traditional Roman Catholic liturgy. Supporting music sheets and booklets are available to accompany the recordings and aid small choirs in using Gregorian chant for the traditional liturgy.
For our CD and MP3 series flyer, click on Gregorian Chant.
To hear the St. John Schola, click on Gregorian Chant.
The St. John Schola chants the Hour of Terce of the Divine Office every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. High Masses are chanted approximately monthly throughout the year. Other chant that the Schola essays is that for the Midnight Matins and High Mass of Christmas, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. In addition, the Schola sings the chant for Litanies and Processions on High Feasts, such as Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart.
Additional men are invited to add their voices to the St. John Schola to sing authentic Gregorian plainchant in the authentic Roman church services for which the chant was written. No previous knowledge of the chant or musical notation is required; most of our participants have had little or no music background. We can teach you all that you need to know by ear if you have just a basic ability to sing. No auditions. You do not have to be Catholic. We are a small, friendly group, no pressure, just enjoyment, but we are led by a highly-experienced praecentor (leader).
For twenty years our group has been chanting in St. John's Oratory at the historic Fishermen's & Seamen's Memorial Chapel at Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco. We practice 9:00-9:30 a.m. Sundays and then chant the traditional Hour of Terce 9:30-10:00 a.m and chant monthly for the only fully-traditional High Masses in the Bay Area.