Franciscan University of Steubenville is pleased to announce the creation of a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music to begin in the fall of 2007. The degree may be pursued in either the program in voice or the program in organ. Pianists may audition for the program in organ on the piano. Courses will include private instruction on the major instrument, music theory, music history, conducting and a year-long course in Gregorian Chant. In addition, students will participate in the Schola Cantorum Franciscana, which concentrates on polyphony and chant and sings for occasional services on and off campus.
Interested students may apply for admission to the university at:
Franciscan University of Steubenville
1235 University Blvd.
Steubenville, OH 43953
Students interested in auditioning may contact Prof. Paul Weber at the above address or by telephone at 740.284.5884.
[Via Vivat Jesus]
Within about two days, you’re going to see various Jesuits and various bishops denouncing this program as reactionary and disruptive.
Sacred Music? Wow, and you all thought secularite universities had a monopoly on bogus majors like gender studies or evolutionary biology.
Always nice to see Catholics who appreciate Catholic music. I believe that Steubenville has the ingredients to make a good program.
Of course, there is supposed to be a school of sacred music in every diocese …
It sounds good, but forgive me for being skeptical. Steubenville doesn’t exactly have a reputation for excellence in the areas of liturgy and music for liturgy. Also, a Schola Cantorum with sacred music majors ought to be singing every week, not “occasional services.”
Wonderful to see these things popping up. Ave Maria, CUA, Mundelein, and now Steubie.
As a student at Franciscan as well as a member of the Schola Cantorum Franciscana, I believe I can speak pretty accuarately on this subject. First off, calling a major “bogus” without knowing anything about the subject is assinine. Currently, there are only a handful of schools where one may receive sacred music major — Catholic U, Ave Maria, and a few others. Secondly, the need for people who actually are educated in the music of our Catholic tradition and heritage is incredibly great. I, for one, dream of parishes completely devoid of the music stylings of Marty Haugen, David Haas, and the St. Louis Jesuits. Sacred music major = choir directors who do not only pay attention to the last forty years of music. Now that we’ve established a legitimate need for this legitimate major, lets look at how good this particular program will be.
While it is true, Steubenville is not known for the orthodoxy of its liturgies, this does not really factor in to the major’s worth. The program promised to teach music history, instrumentation (i.e. organ), and an entire year of gregorian chant. The program speaks to its own value. The only unknown is the faculty who will run the program. I can personally attest to Prof. Weber’s orthodoxy and knowladgeability, as could many out there in the blogosphere, and he will most likely be the one chairing the major. Take another look at the Epiphany Declaration and note his name gracing the list. As a final point, I will make a note on the Schola. It does not sing in public each week, because the atmosphere at the college does not allow it, but upon hearing them perform, one would cease to doubt their worth.
My hope is that this program will draw the sort of people who believe in liturgical excellence to the school. Even if the program does not change the school’s attitude towards liturgy, there is no reason to believe the school’s attitude will affect the sacred music program.
vince, what do you mean by *the atmosphere* at franciscan university not supporting the schola? i thought franciscan was about as conservative and orthodox as they come! am i misinformed?
While Franciscan U is theologically unquestioned in its orthodoxy, some do question its charismatic preferences, which translates to liturgies that tend towards emotional expressions and follow more secular and Protestant-worship-style music patterns. Much of the Catholic teenage and young adult praise and worship music out there has been written from Steubenville-affiliated people.
Thus, I too did a double take when I saw where this new Sacred Music program was coming from. I know many people from Steubenville, all of them solid and trustworthy in their theological understanding, but all of them very much in favor of guitar music and “Haugen” music at Mass – with a general impression of chant and traditional music as being “fine, but not what is wanted now”.
At the same time, my own roommate is a Steubenville grad, and she’s the one who first challenged me to relook at my assumptions about Steubenville – she does play the guitar, yes, but she is also very much in love with chant. According to her and many of those who are at Steubenville right now, the “tide’s a turning” when it comes to traditional worship styles and music.
When you look back at the history of Steubenville, it wasn’t that long ago that it was a bastion of heresy and Catholic Lite – then in the 80s, Fr. Scanlon took over and steered a new course towards revival and faithfulness. The fruits of that are self-evident today. However, the “charism” of the University, which was very charismatic in the 70s, stayed very charismatic – but more and more on the side of orthodoxy. Nowadays, the school is well established in its orthodox reputation, and it seems too that the charismatic influence (while it will likely continue to be there) is somewhat weakened. Many of the students choose to go off-campus for Mass, there are at least three other parishes around the area that offer more traditional worship services, as well as a Sunday Mass in Latin in Pittsburg.
Now, if only they could do something about that chapel (which EVERYONE agrees is hideous 70s architecture) and the fact that every “big” Mass on campus ends up in the fieldhouse… My answer? Start a capital campaign for something like the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe!
I just wanted to note that Franciscan offers a monthly Latin mass, and now has a Gregorian chant choir. Both are accepted and appreciated by the majority of the students (however I would estimate only a small group of the students are not too fond of the mass.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that the far majority of Franciscan students are orthodox (at least out of the current students.)
I must, as a student of Franciscan and a member of the Schola Cantorum Franciscana, chime in. Elizabeth, yes the monthly Latin Mass is nice, but only after long struggles was it implemented. As for the Schola Cantorum Franciscana, it does not seem to me that we are appreciated very much. The one time a month that we do sing mass attendance appears to drop, I am not trying to insinuate a corolation here but it sure looks like it. I will attest to the “Dynamic Orthodoxy” that the students hold, and the profs. teach, but I WILL NOT call the liturgy on campus any type of orthodoxy. First off, the chapel. If you have ever seen the shark fin you will know that it does not promote orthodoxy at all. If the school and the students are orthodox inside the liturgy, then the Schola might be able to sing more often, maybe once a week. But will you ever find the Schola singing at what is called the “big mass”? The answer is NO, you will never.
I would next like to comment on those who say that this new Sacred Music major is bogus. I can attest to the integrity of the department and Prof. Weber whom I have known now for 2 years. I have had the oportuninty to sit down and talk to him about the major and the requirements. It will constitute, what I would call, a “Dynamic Orthodoxy”. I my self who was going to major in Sacred Music at another University,can with confidence say that this will be a program that will benefit not only the University from an intellectual standpoint, but it will also benefit,I hope liturgically on campus. My hope is that this will draw more people with a Dynamic Orthodoxy to the University. I doubt that this program will change the outlook of the university as a whole, (Charismatic) but one should not base their opinion of the Sacred Music program on the University alone. I can and will attest to the qualifications of the faculty, and the integrity of this program.
This is a step in the right direction.
Here’s what they did for Holy Week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naH8r3b7zAg
As a former student, I can attest to the excellent comments of Vincent, Roamin Roman, and Matt.
I believe that in 10-15 years time, the liturgy at Franciscan Univ. will be quite different than how it is now.
There is a small but growing group at Franciscan who are discovering the traditions of the Church, and I believe that this Sacred Music major will further this movement along.
Is Fransciscan prepared to devote more Masses to traditional sacred music, as would be required for the majors to gain practice and experience? I am told that 90% of their Masses now have charismatic music. Some of those Masses will have to be “converted” so that the schola can sing for Mass, and so that their organ students can play for Mass. Just off the top of my head I’d think that at least 50% of their Masses would have to be scheduled for organ, schola and/or choir (more as the number of organ students grows). Are they prepared to do that?
This all brings up an interesting question. Can an insitution make a claim to orthodoxy if it is deficient in the area of liturgy, or is this one area too much of an overall detriment? Thoughts?
Whatever the challenges, whatever the 70s-esque phantoms haunting the school, Praise be that the Paraclete is moving! God provides the Church what she needs at the very moment she needs it, and this new major is desperately needed!
And, where better to open hearts to the beautiful traditions of Mother Church than at a University that currently doesn’t favor it? (A doctor goes to the sick, Jesus to the sinner)
Now, if only I can figure out a way to sign up for this degree…
Matt is right; I should have been more specific in my comment. The education that is provided at Franciscan is very orthodox, while the liturgy is, well… lacking. By saying the students were mainly orthodox, I meant in no way traditional. I just ment that they are faithfull Catholics. There is an amazing culture within the university, especially compared to the far majority of “Catholic” universities. Franciscan is not perfect, but I have yet to find a perfect school.
I’d like to add to my earlier comment by saying that I majored in liturgical music at a school not known for its orthodoxy. Despite what went on around us, the professor in charge of my program was a truly good Catholic, and a recognized scholar in his field. We had a weekly chanted Mass–attendance was small, and when the schola sang vespers before Mass we were frequently the only ones there. But we sang every week, and I had the opportunity to practice my skills as a choral conductor and organist, especially in my senior year.
Even if the Schola Cantorum at Steubenville is not currently welcome to sing at Mass every week, I would encourage them to consider taking over a small space somewhere to sing Vespers together once a week. For someone who plans to study sacred music and become a parish music director, singing–praying (not just rehearsing)–chant weekly is an invaluable spiritually formative experience, especially if you also use your physical postures in the prayer by standing, sitting, and bowing in the indicated places. It will be good for your singing voices, and good for your souls.
Like the other students above, I too can attest to the doctrinal orthodoxy of Franciscan. The liturgy, however, is atrocious.
My wife and I converted to the Church last Easter and, up until moving to Steubenville, only attended either a reverent Latin NO or a TLM. For months the only things we were exposed to were chant, incense, Latin, silence, reverence, etc. When we came to town we went to a mass on campus, and my wife left in tears (she couldn’t believe that there were masses like that).
I have heard that the tide is turning here towards tradition, but it is slow.
I am Professor of Music and Chairman of the Department of Sacred Music at Ave Maria University, where we offer a BA with a concentration in Sacred Music. As Professor Weber’s predecessor at FUS, I congratulate him in this new venture and wish him every success. I am glad to see that my many years of proposing a music major have finally come to fruition. Franciscan is indeed theologically orthodox and deserves to have the best liturgical music, and I believe that things are changing gradually at FUS in the field of liturgy. I was the director of the Schola Cantorum Franciscana from 1993-2005. When I started there, the Schola sang only once a month, at a Novus Ordo Latin Mass. Over the years, the Schola’s services were enlisted more and more often, so that by the time I left, it sang (in addition to the monthly Latin Mass) two Sunday Masses (if not pre-empted by a special Mass, like St Francis or Christ the King), a Holy Week Tenebr� service, part of a Good Friday service, and an Advent Lessons & Carols service. In addition, the Schola sang for the Saint Francis Day drama and it also sang off campus sometimes in Pittsburgh, Steubenville, and even Cincinnati. There is definitely a desire on the part of many students and faculty to have more of the “Heritage of Sacred Music” in Masses at FUS. Let’s support this new program with our prayers.
Bravo. Now hopefully this will work and they’ll expand the program to include a Master’s degree, and I can apply.
I never went to school in Steubenville, but I have been to conferences. At Defending the Faith, they do a decent job even with the praise and worship music. The Young Adults conference left a lot to be desired with its pep-rally atmosphere (e.g. priest repeating the Sign of the Cross because he didn’t think we said “Amen” loud enough).
However, I think we ought to give them a chance on this one before we all chime in with our cynicism. Whether we like the charismatic element of the university or not, we are simply engaging in friendly fire that is going to put people off who may otherwise consider the Catholic Church. Let’s save these remarks for our real enemies.
If the music at their Masses is seriously lacking (and the video above is evidence that it is, among other things), then this major may well be a step in the right direction. It may well be that enough students are known to go off campus for Mass that they are going to use this to give them something that they will stay on campus for. It just can’t be considered a good thing that some students won’t touch their on campus Masses.
With the right faculty and right program, this could be a real blessing for a university that is one of the few Catholic universities that is Catholic in more than just the name.
No doubt all criticisms here have some validity, and I know little about Steubenville, but there is irony in the fact that a university is maligned as unorthodox because it is strongly charismatic.I see the benefits of Steubenville through the Steubenville East conferences. The liturgies that you abhor are creating young, faithful, enthusiastic leaders over here. That may be an effect of God’s mercy, or it may also be that what you abhor does have some good purpose as long as it isn’t carried to ridiculous extremes.
As to the quality of the music program, my daughter’s band instructor has wonderful ways of getting around the separation of Church and State at her public middle school. He adds slight variations to the music and renames it. S’thing he bills as “A Winter Medley” for instance, will consist of religious music, but that part of the audience that would object is clueless. The rest of us just smile and bask at the quiet rebellion one shrewd Lutheran music director. (Shhhhh) What I’m trying to say is that the environment doesn’t have to limit the music.