Announcing Summer 2024!

The Catholic Institute of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California is proud to announce its second summer term. Through the sponsorship of generous donors, we are delighted to be able to offer all courses with FREE TUITION for all applicants who are accepted into the program for this summer.

The Catholic Institute of Sacred Music offers a rich learning experience for parish and school musicians who want to immerse themselves in the beauty, truth, and holiness of the Church’s sacred music and liturgy. The Institute offers a daily schedule of sung liturgies on campus and opportunities for private prayer, a world-class faculty, dormitory rooms and common meals on a beautiful campus in the temperate climate of Silicon Valley, and opportunities for study, both in-person and online, in subjects that are inspiring, challenging, and practical.

Whether you’re new to sacred music or have studied music at the graduate level, our courses will assist you in unlocking the treasury of Catholic sacred music, helping you grow in your spiritual life, amplifying your knowledge of and love for Christ and the Church’s music, and strengthening the skills needed for faithful service in the Church.

Join us this summer to experience the depths of the Church’s riches, taught by experienced teachers and musicians, faithful to the Church’s magisterium and tradition.

Application deadline: Monday, May 1

More information
FAQ & Brochure
Application (for new and returning students)

Entering More Deeply into the Psalms…

We had a great time at Fr. Neu’s lecture on Friday evening, “Vox Psalmistæ, Vox Ecclesiæ: A Biblical-Liturgical Study of Sunday Vespers.”

Did you miss it? Fear not, here it is, archived for your viewing.

Spring 2024 Workshop Series

Join us for three topics, each with their unique audience!

Register here for access.

Chironomy Basics
Mondays, January 29 and February 5, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., PST

Would you like to develop conducting skills for Gregorian chant that help your choir sing better and discover the nuances of phrasing that make the chant beautiful? Join Dr. Donelson-Nowicka for two one-hour sessions to cover the basics of directing chant (chironomy) according to the “Old Solesmes” method developed by Dom André Mocquereau. The first session will outline the theoretical basis for the method in practice through targeted exercises which help singers and directors understand the structure of some sample chants, and then develop a physiological basis for the conducting gesture from an understanding of the architecture of the examples. The second session will cover more sophisticated gestures which elucidate for singers the musical shape of more difficult chants. Tips on structuring rehearsals to meet the demand for learning quickly to sing in the liturgy will be discussed, as well as warm-ups and teaching techniques which develop singers’ awareness of nuances in conducting.

This workshop topic is an excellent introduction to the course content of Advanced Seminar in Gregorian Chant: Conducting (Chironomy) that will be offered in the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music’s Summer 2024 Term.

Tra le Sollecitudini – Directed Reading Group
Mondays, February 19, and 26, and March 4, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., PST

Led by Drs. William Mahrt and Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka, participants will make an in-depth study of this important document which was seminal for the twentieth-century renewal of sacred music and the Liturgical Movement. Starting from the history and development of the document, the nuances of each of the motu proprio’s articles will be discussed in its historical, liturgical, musical, and canonical contexts. The evolution of the legislative status of various articles will be discussed, especially in light of dubia submitted in response to the legislation, as well as the documents of Pius XII and Vatican II.

This workshop topic is an excellent introduction to the study of legislative documents on sacred music, a study which can be furthered in the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music’s Summer 2024 Term course “History and Principles of Sacred Music.”

Introduction to Chant: Spirituality, Reading, and Style
Mondays, April 8, 15, 22, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., PDT

Serving as an entry point for professional and amateur musicians alike, each session of this workshop topic will begin with a reflection on the spirituality of Gregorian chant, and what the chant can teach us about praying the sacred liturgy. Participants will then move through the basics of reading neumatic notation (square notes), prepped with some exercises which develop healthy vocal technique for singing chant. The modality and style of the chant will also be addressed.

Appropriate for new singers of chant, or those who wish to develop their teaching of new singers, this workshop topic will serve as a sort of mini-retreat for spiritual refreshment and professional development.

First Event of Spring 2024 Public Lecture and Concert Series!

Join us for the first event of the Spring 2024 installation of our Public Lecture and Concert Series! RSVP here!

Vox Psalmistæ, Vox Ecclesiæ: A Biblical-Liturgical Study of Sunday Vespers

Lecture by Fr. Joshua Neu, Assistant Professor of Sacred Scripture and Director of Sacred Liturgy at St. Patrick’s Seminary

Friday, February 9, 2024

7 p.m. PST

Free Admission

In-person at St. Patrick’s Seminary (320 Middlefield Rd., Menlo Park, CA), or online streaming available.

Vespers and a reception follow the in-person event. Ample on-site parking is available. Please note that streaming of vespers following the lecture is not available.

About the Lecture

The psalms and canticles of the Divine Office represent the voices of ancient Israel from the time of the Exodus through the Second Temple period, more than 1000 years of the Divine encounter with Israel. Each psalm, whether praise or lament, history or instruction, sings of this encounter from its own particular circumstance, but in a way that opens into new readings of the psalms through the unique encounter between God and man in the Incarnation. The Church, whose liturgical prayer is one with the prayer of the Incarnate Son glorifying the Father, suggests fresh readings of the same psalms through the antiphons of the Divine Office, readings that both respect the voice of the original psalmist and simultaneously draw out meanings the psalmist may not have recognized. This study of Sunday Vespers explores the meaning of these important psalms in their original context and the renewed meaning of the same psalms when the voice of the psalmist is taken up into the voice of the Church at prayer.

About the Speaker

Fr. Joshua Neu is an Assistant Professor of Sacred Scripture and Director of Sacred Liturgy at St. Patrick’s Seminary.

About the Series

The Public Lecture & Concert Series of the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music welcomes the general public to St. Patrick’s Seminary to hear from preeminent scholars about topics which have a profound impact on the Church and humanity, inviting them especially to consider the Church’s wisdom on matters related to the worship of God, the spiritual life, beauty, and works of art.

We invite you to join us for these important and inspiring events.

First Semester of Continuing Education for CISM Students – Spring 2024

We had such a great summer 2023 term, and now is the time to meet up again!

We are delighted to be able to offer continuing education opportunities for CISM students. Covering helpful topics with thoughtful perspectives from top professionals in the field, we are sure that these events will provide a great opportunity for students to learn more, brainstorm answers to practical questions, and meet again with fellow classmates.

Students will receive an invitation via email for the events, which are free, or they may RSVP here. Entrance to the events is reserved for students and not open to the general public.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Dignum et justum est – A Fitting Tribute to Bill Mahrt

In early November, a hundred participants gathered to fête the life and work of Dr. William Mahrt. The Catholic Institute of Sacred Music was proud to co-sponsor a three-day conference of scholars and practitioners, inspired by the scholar and practitioner Dr. William Mahrt. About thirty wonderful papers and recitals adorned the liturgical structure (sung Lauds, Mass, and Vespers) of the conference, in emulation of the six decades of Dr. Mahrt’s example at Stanford University and in the Church Music Association of America.

Now, we look forward to publishing a festschrift in honor of Dr. Mahrt through the CMAA’s publishing house. Stay tuned for an announcement about CISM’s first publication!

In the meantime, enjoy a selection of pictures from the conference here.

And catch the keynote by Dr. Kerry McCarthy that formed part of our Public Lecture and Concert series.