Notre Dame's Program in Sacred Music supports two graduate degrees: the Master of Sacred Music in organ, choral conducting, and voice; and the Doctorate of Musical Arts, in organ and in choral conducting. Our program prides itself in the close personal attention from our masterful faculty given to each of our very talented students, as they prepare for careers in the church, the academy, and the public sector. Through a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, we have been able to start the Notre Dame Children's Choir this year, a choir for the training of our graduate students and the teaching of music to local children, flourishing under the superb leadership of Dr. Mark Doerries.
The piece we are singing at Saint Clement on the afternoon of May 12 is a participatory Vespers service, one of the most ancient of Christian traditions. The style is that of chanted psalms, but adapted into English, and for the idiom of jazz. Thus we combine the traditional and the modern, and through this artistically well-informed blending, create something truly new.
This service proudly highlights many distinctive features of our Sacred Music program at Notre Dame. It is the composition of choral conducting student J.J. Wright, who performs it here with his jazz trio including Chicago musicians Matt Ulery on bass and Jon Deitemyer on drums. Also featured in the service is the Notre Dame Children's Choir. Joining the children will be cantor Benjamin Liupaogo, a master's degree voice student, and other members of our graduate program, singers, conductors, and organists, one of whom will offer a short organ prelude before the singing begins. The joy of joining the children's voices with the practiced voices of the graduate musicians is very special, and something truly unique to our program.
We will delight in having the entire congregation join in the singing, praising God with full heart and full voice through the ancient texts of the Psalms, and swinging out with Easter joy as well.