The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art”
(Sacrosanctum Concilium ,112)
At Holy Rosary, we do not just sing at Mass, but we solemnly sing the Mass. As Pope Benedict stated: “Music and song are more than an embellishment of worship; they are themselves part of the liturgical action. Solemn sacred music…is not therefore a kind of addition that frames the liturgy and makes it more pleasing but an important means of active participation in worship.” This means that we do not normally have four hymns at a Mass but rather we try to opt for what the Church has given us. On Sundays our priests will chant the collects and together we sing the Mass Propers* that are given in the Roman Missal for that day. Mass Propers include the Entrance Antiphon, Psalm, Gospel Acclamation, and Communion Antiphon. Unlike other forms of music, such as hymn singing, singing the propers of the Mass is truly “the mass sung,” with all of its texts taken from scripture passages and prayers particular to each Sunday and feast day.
Our 10:30am choir explores a range of sacred works from across the centuries of the church’s history, from renaissance polyphony and Gregorian Chant to modern composers of choral pieces.
At our 4:30pm, 9:00am, and 12:15pm Masses we are blessed to have cantors to help lead us in chant and song.
The cantor is both a singer and leader of congregational song. The cantor may sing in alternation or dialogue with the assembly. Cantors are to be adults possessing a good voice, confidence, and poise, and must receiving training from the Director of Music.
The Parish Choir is the primary vocal ensemble of the parish. The choir is a mixed voice (SATB), non-auditioned ensemble. All parishioners with a good singing voice are strongly encouraged to serve the parish as members of the parish choir. The choir sings at the 10:30am Sunday Mass and rehearses on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm in the Choir Room.
Holy Rosary Youth Choir
The Youth Choir is for 3rd—8th graders. The choir sings weekly at the Friday 8:15am all-school Mass.
If you would like to join the choir or would like to learn more please contact Dr. Trent Zitzelberger, Director of Liturgical Music at 901-767-6949.
*What are the Propers?
The Propers of the Mass are the liturgical texts (usually sung) that vary from day to day according to the church calendar, depending on what is being celebrated at Mass. At Holy Rosary, we try to sing the Introit, the Offertory, and Communion antiphon chants as often as possible.
Why sing the Propers?
- The Propers have been an indispensable element of Mass, from the first centuries of Christianity onwards. The Church has always taught that they should be the first musical option for Mass.
- The very first document out of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), says: “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.” How great is this message! The Propers, core to the Church’s tradition, are a wonderful way to celebrate our church’s vast tradition of sacred music.
- Vatican II called for the use of more Scripture at Mass and for chant to have “pride of place” at Mass: all of which is found in the Propers! Lots of Scripture, beautiful Psalms and poetry, and sublime chant.