Inaugural Notre Dame conference features sacred music performances

by Michael O. Garvey

Choir rehearsal for Masters of Sacred Music students

The University of Notre Dame’s inaugural Sacred Music Conference will be held Thursday through Saturday (Sept. 13 through 15).

The conference will feature sacred music from the Renaissance to the present day and will bring together composers, scholars and conductors of sacred music to discuss, share and perform their work.

Several concert events are open to the public and free of charge.

A Vespers service will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 13) in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Basilica rector Rev. Peter Rocca, C.S.C., will preside at the service for which sacred music will be provided by the South Bend Chamber Singers, conducted by Nancy Menk, and accompanied by organist David Eicher. The music will include composer James MacMillan’s “Magnificat.”

A Sacred Chamber Recital, with Notre Dame music faculty organists Craig Cramer and Paul Walker and baritone Stephen Lancaster, will be held at 4 p.m. Friday (Sept. 14) in the Reyes Organ and Choral Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Pomerium, the a cappella ensemble directed by Alexander Blachly, will perform Renaissance music on the feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary Friday (Sept. 14) beginning with a pre-concert talk by musical scholar Emily Snow at 7 p.m. in the Leighton Concert Hall of the performing arts center.

Aguavá New Music Studio and the Notre Dame Festival Chorus and Orchestra under the direction of Carmen-Helena Téllez, professor of music at Notre Dame, will perform the world premiere of “Cum Vidisset Jesus,” a commissioned motet by James MacMillan dedicated to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, and MacMillan’s cantata “The Seven Last Words from the Cross” at 8 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 15) in the Leighton Concert Hall. The concert will be preceded at 7 p.m. by a panel discussion with MacMillan and Téllez, moderated by Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy at Notre Dame.

Like the Vespers service, the recital and concerts are free, but tickets are required and may be obtained by calling the performing arts center ticket office at 574-631-2800.