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 preeminence is that, as sacred song closely bound to the text, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.
—Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 112
Because of the liturgical ministry it performs, the choir or the Capella Musica, or Schola Cantorum deserves particular mention. Its role has become something of yet greater importance and weight by reason of the norms of the Council concerning the liturgical renewal. Its duty is, in effect, to ensure the proper performance of the parts which belong to it, according to the different kinds of music sung, and to encourage the active participation of the faithful in the singing. Therefore: (a) There should be choirs, or Capellæ, or Scholæ Cantorum, especially in cathedrals and other major churches, in seminaries and religious houses of studies, and they should be carefully encouraged. (b) It would also be desirable for similar choirs to be set up in smaller churches.
—Musicam Sacram, Instruction on Sacred Music, No 19
The Second Vatican Council stated emphatically that choirs must be diligently promoted while ensuring that “the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs. . . .” Choirs and ensembles…comprise persons drawn from the community who possess the requisite musical skills and a commitment to the established schedule of rehearsals and Liturgies. Thus, they are able to enrich the celebration by adding musical elements beyond the capabilities of the congregation alone.
—Sing to the Lord, No. 28
Responding to the call of the Second Vatican Council to “diligently promote” the ministry of the choir in the liturgy, the music ministry of St. John Chrysostom Roman Catholic Church works to promote full, conscious, and active congregational participation in worship by providing musical leadership for congregational music and by the performance of music drawn from the great choral tradition of the Catholic Church. In addition to our primary ministerial role at Sunday Worship, the music ministry provides an opportunity for members of the parish community to serve their community through music ministry and outreach opportunities, to grow in faith, to experience the great treasure of Sacred Music of the Catholic Church, and to increase their musical skills. Members of St. John Chrysostom Music Ministry give Christian witness to the Gospel to the local community primarily through music.
The St. John Chrysostom Schola Cantorum is the premier parish ensemble and regularly performs at the Sunday Evening 5:30 p.m. Mass. Its repertoire consists of chant (congregational, choral, and solo), including the Proper and Ordinary of the Mass; and polyphonic choral works drawn from the great patrimony of Medieval and Renaissance polyphony, with music of the Baroque and Classical eras, as well as occasional music from other periods, well-represented. The core quartet of staff singers is regularly expanded for special occasions, including Sacramental Masses (e.g., Confirmation) and major feasts, including the Paschal Triduum, Christmas, Epiphany, Pentecost, and Christ the King.
The Cappella Musica of St. John Chrysostom Church is the largest parish ensemble and consists of professional singers and instrumentalists, usually around twelve to sixteen in number. This ensemble performs major choral works at several liturgies during the year, including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Mass in honor of St. Josemaría Escrivà in June, a Requiem Mass on All Souls’ Day in memory of the deceased of the parish (featuring Requiem Masses by Fauré, Duruflé, Mozart, and others), at Christmas (at the Vigil Mass and at Midnight Mass), during the Paschal Triduum, and on Christ the King (featuring the performance of a major Mass setting; in 2018, they will perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass).
Years in preparation and formed in early 2017, the Coriolan Virtuosi, St. John Chrysostom’s resident chamber orchestra, serves the parish and surrounding communities through educational outreach programs to underprivileged schools, both private and public; performances at hospices, retirement homes, and senior centers; as well as to the general public in the local community and at locations throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area. Inspired by the mission of Antonio Vivaldi’s renowned orchestra of the Hospidale della Pietà, in seventeenth-century Venice, the Coriolan Virtuosi , to bring the art and elegance of the music of the Italian Baroque, J.S. Bach, Teleman and Handel to a wider audience, especially to those that might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the beauty of this repertoire. Members of the Coriolan Virtuosi have performed in the past and present with the LA Phil, LA Chamb orch, La opera orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the LA Mozart Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Santa Barbara Opera Orchestra; most members are also studio musicians in the Los Angeles area.
The St. John Chrysostom 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Spanish Choirs sing at weekly Sunday Masses and sing together on more solemn occasions such as the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Christmas, and the Paschal Triduum. At the core of their repertoire is chant (Gregorian, Mozarabic, and occasionally other kinds) and traditional devotional music from the modern Ibero-American Repertoire. In addition, the Music of the Spanish Missions of California is also represented, along with music from Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical Mexico and Spain. The groups regularly sing in Latin and Spanish.
The Saturday Evening 5:00 p.m. English Mass regularly features Gregorian chant, traditional hymnody accompanied on the organ, and choral and solo selections from the classical repertoire. On certain Feasts and Solemnities, the cantor and soloist may be joined by a trumpet, cello, or violin. The Sunday Morning 8:30 a.m. English Mass features traditional hymnody led by a cantor and accompanied on organ. The Sunday Morning 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Spanish Masses feature traditional Spanish devotional songs and hymns led by a cantor and accompanied on organ.
MUSIC DEPARTMENT STAFF
Director of Music
Director, St. John Chrysostom Schola Cantorum
Director, Cappella Musica of St. John Chrysostom
Artistic Director, Coriolan Virtuosi
Fr. Theodore Ley, SM
Director, Visiting choir, The Schola Cantorum of the Pacific
Assistant Director, 1:00 PM Spanish Choir
Elliot Z. Levine
ABOUT THE ORGAN
Abbot & Sieker Opus 93 has served the parish since 1986. The organ has three divisions, controlled by a two manual and pedal console in the center of the choir loft at the back of the church. The organ has 24 ranks and 1442 pipes on slider chests with electric pull-downs and stop action. The pipes reside in two chambers recessed into the slightly canted rear wall, with minimal grills covering the openings. The tops of each chamber are angled at 45 degrees to aid sound projection. Facing the back of the church, the Swell division is in the left chamber and the Great and the independent Pedal stops are in the right chamber. In spite of the depth of the chambers, projection is excellent into the nave thanks to extremely favorable conditions within the chamber (the walls of which are solid concrete several feet thick) and due to the excellent acoustic of the nave, perhaps the best in the Archdiocese. Contributing to the 6.8 seconds of reverberation time are several decorative elements: the travertine wainscoting on all walls one fourth the way up to the ceiling; the sealed cement walls above; the coffered, beautifully decorated cement ceiling rising sixty-eight feet above the floor of the nave; and the narrowness of the stained glass windows. Additionally, the solid cement floor is covered with terrazzo, except for the Altar platform and Sanctuary floor, which is covered with Calacatta Gold marble.
Abbot & Sieker Opus 93, 1986
Dolce 8 (Swell)
Dolce 4 (ext. Swell)
Dolce Celeste 8 (TC)
Harmonic Flute 4
Resultant 32 (Subbass 16 + Gedeckt 16)
Gedeckt 16 (Great)
Gedeckt 8 (Swell)
Principal 4 (ext.)
Trumpet 16 (ext. Great)