In an effort to offer musical education on expressions of sacred Catholic liturgy, the Psalterium Institute will offer three events in the coming weeks to promote and celebrate Catholic musical tradition.
Compline by Candlelight is set for the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, located on 122 Ash Street in Lewiston, on Friday, Oct. 14, at 9 p.m. Compline is the ancient Night Prayer of the Church which takes place at the end of the day before retiring to bed. All are welcome to join Prince of Peace Parish and the Psalterium Schola Cantorum in the beautiful Dominican choir stalls at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul for beautiful and peaceful chant and choral selections lasting about 30-45 minutes. This liturgy will also be livestreamed at www.princeofpeace.me.
All are also welcome to gather for sung vespers for the dead, an ancient evening of prayer consisting of chanted psalms, antiphons, and hymns. Two presentations will be offered: Saturday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. (Sacred Heart Church, 326 Main Street in Yarmouth), and Sunday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street, Portland). November is the month generally dedicated to prayer for our beloved dead. Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the Psalterium Institute Chamber Choir will present the Votive Office of the Dead and choral preludes and postludes.
The Psalterium Institute is dedicated to the mission of training singers to produce beautiful choral music, while also instructing them in the traditions of Catholic sacred music including Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, and modern sacred repertoire.
Leon Griesbach, the executive director and founder of the Institute, is the former director of music at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland and former director of liturgical music at the Pontifical North American College in Italy, where he led the seminary’s 45-voice choir in liturgies at the seminary and St. Peter’s Basilica.
“My experiences in choral music over the last 30 years have all formed me deeply,” he said. “Every time I hear a powerful performance, see a brilliant work of art, find myself in an awe-inspiring structure, or in other situations where beauty is apparent, I am most often brought back to moments as a boy chorister, weeping because something is so beautiful it hurts. One of the reasons I founded the Institute was to ignite in each heart a desire that takes them on a lifelong journey punctuated by moments of deeply consoling and satisfying beauty.”
For both singers and listeners, in settings both sacred and secular, the Institute serves as a source of education and formation in broader musical education.
“The Institute presents learning and listening opportunities to an array of audiences while training clergy, music directors, cantors, and choristers for the full range of liturgical offerings throughout the Diocese of Portland,” said Griesbach.
For more information about the concerts or the Institute, visit www.psalterinstitute.org.