As of the First Sunday of Lent, Thomas More College’s choir is providing beautiful polyphonic music for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass celebrated once a month at Saint Patrick’s, a local parish in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“We sang at the invitation of Father Kerper, the parish’s pastor,” said Artist-in-Residence, David Clayton. “We hope very much to be asked back!”
In fact, the choir already has been asked back, and it looks as if this will be a regular occurrence.
The College has enjoyed a long connection with the parish. Most notably, its longest standing chaplain, Father John Healey, is resident at the church. Moreover, while Mass is offered Monday through Friday in the College’s chapel, students can be seen piling into cars to attend Sunday Mass at Saint Patrick’s on the weekend. More often than not, a few Thomas More die-hards regularly attend the Extraordinary Form Low Mass offered by Father Kerper on Saturday mornings.
The young men and women of Thomas More College pack the pews—a happy sight for the other parishioners—and the parish has even seen student converts receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion. In addition to students, the faculty and their families are present each Sunday. Following Mass, it’s not uncommon for everyone to make their way around the corner to the popular haunt, Bagel Alley, where you’ll find the most scrumptious bagels and cream cheese in Nashua.
Given the close ties to the parish, choir students were very pleased to be able to sing there. They learned a Mass by the German composer, Blasius Amon, in the 16th century: Missa Super ‘Pour ung Plaisir,’ and did a beautiful job.
“The Mass is relatively simple, but good for those learning polyphony,” said David Clayton. “Our director, Dr. Thomas Larson, did his usual and put his cell down among us in the choir stall. He came up with these recordings.”
Below are links to recordings of the College’s choir performing the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei from the Mass.
The role of sacred music is a central part of life at Thomas More College. Following the Psalmist’s exhortation to “make a joyful noise to the Lord,” students not only learn the mathematical and theoretical principles behind Sacred Music in the Way of Beauty Program, but also experience firsthand the rudiments of Gregorian chant through the Divine Office, prayed every evening. If they are ambitious and have a particular love for music, students may also join the College choir or the Saint Gregory Sacred Music Guild, where they can increase their mastery of both plainchant and polyphony.