Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Sacred Music Program at Franciscan University of Steubenville

As a graduate of the class of 2012 from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music with a concentration in organ, I was recently asked to share a few words on the quality of the University's Sacred Music Program and how it has prepared me for the future. It was difficult to sum up my experiences within the Sacred Music Program in only a few words as these past four years within the program have been filled with invaluable, life-changing opportunities for me as a musician. Where do I even begin? And I am sure I will still receive numerous benefits and insights from my time here many years after my graduation. That being said, I have included my quote below in order that you might get an idea of the beautiful experiences and the excellent education which the Sacred Music Program has to offer.

"My formation within the Sacred Music Program has been a time of immense blessing, inspiration, and thorough immersion into the musical traditions of the Catholic Church. 
It is a gift to be taught by faculty that are loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church and possess a love and a zeal for the faith. This attribute is uncommon in the field of music. It is a substantial blessing to be taught by Catholic musicians who become just as enthused as their students over a stirring liturgical text as they elucidate the theological meaning behind the melodic setting of a word or phrase. I would not be the accomplished musician I am today if it were not for their artistry, dedication, and perseverance. I did not begin to study organ until I changed my major to sacred music at the end of my freshman year, yet under Dr. Paul Weber’s careful guidance my skills as an organist have grown in leaps and bounds.
The program’s careful attention to the individual needs of the student, their encouragement of the pursuit of excellence, and their emphasis on beautiful music as an integral part of evangelization have nurtured a group of musicians who are armed with a double edged sword: the sword of truth and beauty. Truth speaks to the mind, but beauty speaks to the heart. Pope Benedict XVI calls sacred music 'an audible and perceptible rendering of the truth of our faith. In listening to sacred music - suddenly we feel: it is true!'
This program is forming musicians for the conversion of souls."

Below are a few videos from the Schola Cantorum Franciscana's concert at St. Elizabeth Seton parish in Carnegie, Pennsylvania this past semester of spring 2012. We were graciously invited to the parish to give a performance in the recently expanded space. The concert was a beautiful experience for both the members of the schola and the parishoners. One older woman approached me at the end of the concert and told me that her husband had passed away a few months ago. "Your music is helping me to heal," she said. "It was a gift." I counted her words as one the highest compliment one can ever receive as a musician. A true musician does not perform his art for himself but for others, to relieve pain and to heal souls. If one has accomplished this for even just one person, than he has succeeded in his art. May the glory of God be always at the center of this program.

 Excerpts from Palestrina's Missa Tu Es Petrus
sung by the Schola Cantorum Franciscana of Franciscan University.


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