On December 2nd, the St. Gregory Institute of Sacred Music received some well-deserved promotion on the national stage when Professor Nicholas Will met with Fr. Mitch Pacwa, live on EWTN. Professor Will, the President and Founder of the Institute, spoke at length with Fr. Pacwa about sacred music history, the beauty of Gregorian chant, and its role in the liturgy. With an intuitive analysis of the current “trajectory” of Catholic music, Professor Will called attention to the substantial changes in the Novus Ordo liturgy, and its music, from the past 30 years. He then highlighted the fascinating resurgence of desire for the Church’s traditional musical forms (i.e. Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony)–both from the clergy and laity, and particularly among the younger generation. Speaking further for Catholic youth, Professor Will affirmed that there is a growing desire for things that are “authentically, unapologetically Catholic.” He posited that the Church at large is finally working through what Vatican II hoped to accomplish–where the Church’s priorities are, and what liturgical and musical traditions remain important to our Catholic identity. As this continues to unfold, the Church will organically continue to develop accordingly. Toward the end of the hour-long interview, Professor Will shared his motivation and vision for creating the St. Gregory Institute. He cited an observation in the sacred music community, where very competent musicians could perform and work in parish programs, but may not be well-versed in Church history and traditional repertoire. The St. Gregory Institute was created to fill those “gaps”–taking already proficient musicians and supplementing their repertoire and knowledge with official Church documents, organ lessons, conducting skills, chant notation, etc. A more important distinction, the Institute serves as a mediant alternative between week-long church music seminars and full university or conservatory degrees. With a small scale, personalized tutelage, and modest pricing, the Institute essentially serves as a vocational school for new or experienced church musicians. A Youtube link to the full EWTN interview is below. Many thanks to Fr. Mitch Pacwa for a fascinating and uplifting conversation! For more information about Professor Will and the Institute, please visit https://saintgregoryinstitute.org. All the best wishes to Professor Will, his fellow faculty, and all current and prospective students in this most worthy and timely endeavor!
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