Sacred Music at St. Mary Magdalene

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.”

Sacred music is integral to the liturgical life of the Church, in which the members of Her Mystical Body unite with Christ, the Head, in His eternal sacrifice on the cross. Sacred music is characterized by beauty and sincerity of form. It flows from and is united to the Liturgical texts and actions. It is holy, set apart, and expressive of the spirit of communal prayer. It engages the mind, body, and soul to enter into the mysteries of our faith. Whether an ancient chant or a modern sacred composition, it conveys the truth of the eternal.

Interested in becoming part of the sacred music at Saint Mary Magdalene? Please review all the opportunities below and contact Claire to discuss your role!

Choral Program

At Saint Mary Magdalene, our music program is focused on liturgical choirs for adults and children, contributing to the beauty and dignity of the sacred liturgy according to the rich tradition of sacred music as understood and shown forth by the mind of the Church.

Each choir at Saint Mary Magdalene is named in honor of Our Lady under a different Latin title from her litany. For many centuries, liturgical choirs were known as Schola Cantorum (literally, “Singing School”).

The choir season runs from September (after Labor Day) through early June. From mid-June through the end of August, the choirs are on break and Liturgical Music is led by cantors/small teams of men or women.

Members of all choirs are provided an emphasis on and guidance toward a healthy and pure vocal approach, teamwork, aural skills, and musical literacy. All choirs and instrumental ensembles come together each Spring for a concert in late May.

2020-21 Youth Schola Masterclasses

Enrollment opens September 18
Fall semester: Oct 6 - Dec 18 • Spring semester: Jan 5 - May 28

Masterclass = small group of 12 or fewer students of a similar age and vocal/musical stage of development.

Small class size allows us to space out in the choir area; also conducive to a focused & personalized learning experience.

Ages: Masterclasses are envisioned for students who are comfortable English readers (generally age 7/gr 2 & up).*

*Currently, we are unfortunately not offering choir for children who are younger than reading age (though we hope to bring this back in the future).

Class Sessions are 1 hour/week for grades 2-8 and 75 min for teens. Select days: Tues/Wed afternoon/early evening for lower grades; Sat morning for teens.

Class placement is at the discretion of the director so that students will be in a class most conducive to their development. We will do our best to include all interested children, though space is limited.

Mass: Each masterclass will sing for Liturgy about once a month. Mass time can vary so flexibility is requested. We will provide this semester’s Mass schedule as soon as possible

Students receive focused training on liturgical spirituality and music theory (to excite and challenge them, whatever their current level), alongside preparing sacred music for worship.

Sign Up Today

Priority will be given to SMM parishioners and/or returning choir families.

Adult Scholas

For Fall 2020, adult scholas serve in a small group context. To learn more, contact Claire. We are always eager to meet potential new members.

Cantor Ministry

Seasoned vocalists ready to bring prayerful and competent vocal leadership to the role of cantor (either alone, or in the context of a schola) are invited to speak with Claire about opportunities.


Individuals who are trained in organ and piano, have accompanying experience, and desire to support the voices of cantors, choirs, and congregation in sacred music.

Instrumental Ensembles

Two instrumental ensembles contribute to the most solemn and festive liturgical celebrations throughout the liturgical year, such as Christmas and Easter, as well as participate in the annual Spring Concert. Admittance by audition for experienced musicians (teens and adults).

Ensemble Ecclesiae

(an-sahm-bul ek-keh-zee-eh)
Wind/brass ensemble in honor of Mary, Mother of the Church

Rehearsals on select Saturday mornings from 8:30-9:45am.

Ensemble Immaculata

(an-sahm-bul em-ah-koo-lah-tah)
String ensemble in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Rehearsals on select Monday evenings from 7:00-8:30pm.

Instrumental Soloists

Adults or (advanced high school students) who have private training and strong experience in solo playing of string or woodwind instruments are welcome to play for Mass on a regular basis. Violinists and flutists are especially sought.

Sound Board

Individuals who are technologically savvy, have a keen ear, and are willing to assist by monitoring the sound board during liturgies. Training provided.