Music at the Monastery
"Schola" is short for Schola Cantorum, the Latin term for a school or group of people who join
together to learn and sing ecclesial chant, the song of the church. It is a choir, but one dedicated to the ancient chant tradition-- although that's not the only music they sing.
The schola is an integral part of prayer life at Saint Benedict's Monastery, as it would be at any Benedictine monastery because of the importance of sung prayer at the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. The schola provides music leadership as well as inspiration and encouragement to the gathered assembly. At Saint Benedict's Monastery, the community continues to cherish Gregorian chant as part of their Benedictine heritage. We invite you to sample some of our schola's singing by clicking on the clips from their 1997 recording, Chants and Motets, at the bottom of the page.
The schola of Saint Benedict's Monastery has two CDs available for purchase from Saint Scholastica Gift Shop or Whitby Gift Shop. Mail orders welcome.
Chants and Motets
Chants and Motets, a compact disc released in December 1997 by the monastic schola, includes chants, motets and with other compositions, including "Beautiful Savior," "Ave Maria," "Lasst uns erfreuen," "Salve Regina" and "Ubi Caritas."
Hodie Christus Natus Est
Today Christ is Born was recorded in 2004 by the monastic schola. It includes 20 selections of Christmas carols from many countries and Gregorian chant. The selections are accompanied by a variety of instruments including the cello, flute, piano, organ, electric keyboard and drums. The songs are mostly traditional and include German, Polish, American Indian and French backgrounds. Other carols bring a new contemporary style of sound.
The schola was for many years under the direction of Sister Urban Gertken (1893-1987), and benefited from the work of her sister, Sister Cecile Gertken (1902-2001). To this day there are wonderful liturgists, composers, organists and singers leading Saint Benedict's Monastery schola, exploring new material and preserving the chant tradition so important to Benedictines. Sister Christine Manderfeld continues to write motet settings, and Sister Delores Dufner continues to write new texts for traditional and original hymn settings.
Photo at right: five of the seven Gertken sisters, clockwise from left: S. Urban, Agatha, S. Cecile, S. Assumpta and S. Gemma