Music Conference

Marg Spooner, Director of Music, Heathfield

Sudbury was the location of the 2006 Ontario Liturgical Commission Summer School in early August. The conference was unique in that it was a bilingual event, involving 110 musicians from Ontario and one from Newfoundland. The well-planned week was a great opportunity for social interaction with other church musicians.

Father Murray Kroetch gave the keynote address, Many Voices, One Assembly. He told us that our Catholic liturgy, the action of the body of Christ, is not the action of an individual or group, but a corporate action with Christ as the head, and we are the members. Without full, active and conscious participation, liturgy can’t happen.

Each morning after breakfast, delegates participated in morning prayer at St. -Anne-des-Pins Church. This was followed by plenary and skill sessions, such as Cantor or Choir Directing workshops. Afternoons also gave participants the opportunity for more skill sessions and open sharing sessions.

Each evening closed with Evening Prayer, where participants, after being auditioned, led the assembly as cantors or leaders of song. It was interesting to have a combination of French and English during Morning and Evening prayers. One prayer included a sweet grass ceremony led by a Native Sister.

In our down time, we went sightseeing, socialized with new friends over dinner and spent time practicing playing piano and organ. Everyone enjoyed the drum circle – playing African-made drums and other percussion and rhythm instruments.

The fourth day continued with plenary andskill sessions and daily liturgies. The Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, Jean-Louis Plouffe, hosted dinner for all participants. This was followed by a trip to the Laurentian University Planetarium.

On the final day of summer school, Mass was celebrated at Ste.-Anne-des-Pins. During his homily, the Bishop thanked summer school participants for sharing the gift of music.

“You play an integral part in the life of your faith communities and I trust that this week has been an opportunity for you to be nourished,” he said.