Church choir to balance Catholic, local traditions

Music is considered one of the highest art forms for worship and prayer, and choral music is particularly the epitome of internal participation and prayer, says Shanti Michael, co-founder of Laudis.

Malaysia
Jan 09 2014, 6:40 PM
Church choir to balance Catholic, local traditions
Laudis chamber choir.

The ‘Laudis’ chamber choir in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is seeking to revive the tradition of singing sacred music in consonance with local music.

“We cannot perform contemporary and local music at the expense of the rich heritage that belongs to the Roman Catholic culture; nor can we simply perform the great music of our Catholic heritage at the expense of our local tradition, because we are such a multicultural country,” said Shanti Michael, a co-founder of Laudis.

“Music is considered one of the highest art forms for worship and prayer, and choral music is particularly the epitome of internal participation and prayer,” she added.

“Finances and time should always be invested in musical and liturgical training programmes for church musicians and in appropriate resources for church choirs.”

Laudis specializes in polyphony, the only style of music, aside from Gregorian chant, that the Second Vatican Council identified in particular as welcome in liturgical celebrations. Laudis sings polyphony by Victoria and Palestrina, among other 16th century composers.

The group was founded in 2013 by Michael and Lisa Ho, and draws singers from several denominations.

Michael acknowledged that the main challenge for a Catholic chamber choir in Malaysia is that there are a “limited number of experienced, formed singers.” The Catholic Church has lost much of its choral tradition.

She also emphasized the need for inculturation in the country, and observed that a “balanced repertoire” is appropriate.“I believe we are still searching for a liturgical musical identity.”

Source: Catholic News Agency

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