By Matthew Biddle
The return of Gregorian chant to Perth parishes is underway, with Kelmscott the first to hold a one-day workshop in the sacred music.
The aim of the workshop was to provide the participants with a basic Gregorian chant repertoire for use in the liturgy, which could be gradually developed in time.
Mr Cichy covered vocal technique and pronunciation, before going through, line by line, the entire Mass setting.
“I also taught them how to sing a couple of motets for use at the offertory and communion,” he said.
“They’re all taken from Pope Paul VI’s Jubilate Deo published in 1974, which really should be the minimum chant repertoire for any Catholic parish.”
He said he was satisfied the workshop had achieved its aims.
“The participants could go away, practice what they’ve learnt, and they can hopefully sing a Mass within a fortnight,” he said.
“The idea was to provide some beautiful music for Mass that’s accessible in time.”
Kelmscott parishioner Clive Maher attended the workshop and said it was a fantastic event.
“I was very happy and … pleasantly surprised at the concept, the turnout, and at the end of the day, the success,” he said.
“We achieved so much in such a short period of time.
“It’s a very difficult topic to cover – yet the majority of people left feeling they are now more educated and felt more accomplished.”
Mr Cichy agreed, saying he was extremely pleased with the results of the workshop.
“People came out of it with enough music to be able to sing at Mass and they’ve got the beginnings of a good Gregorian repertoire,” he said.
“The fundamentals are now in place, all they need to do is consolidate them and … then begin to look at expanding their repertoire.”
Although he is also conducting a more in-depth 10-week course in Gregorian chant, Mr Cichy said he would be happy to do more one-day workshops at parishes.
“Any priest interested in having a workshop in their parish can contact me and … we’ll discuss their particular musical needs and try to develop something that is appropriate to that parish,” he said.
“The second Vatican council encouraged the use of Gregorian chant, and what I’m trying to do is put a Gregorian repertoire, or at least a part of it, back into the congregation.”
The response from Kelmscott parishioners was overwhelmingly positive and very encouraging, according to Mr Cichy.
“It showed the interest is out there and that Gregorian chant is quite accessible,” he said.
“The people took to the melodies and took to them fairly quickly.
“Essentially it shows that Gregorian chant is an accessible art form, that it’s not too difficult for the people in the pews, and that it will add a very beautiful dimension to the liturgy.”