I have been a cantor for 20 years in the suburbs north of Boston. Occasionally, I would sing chant, but it it was always rushed, 'seat of your pants', never fully DELIVERED, and learning it was rote, rote, rote…drilling it into your head (I wasn’t a good sight reader)!! And what’s with those squares, and crazy squiggly notes?! All very intimidating, albeit fascinating. But I always knew there was more, I just didn’t know how to explore it.
Thanks to the crazy world we live in, I found a posting for Angela and her classes online. My original desire was to study privately with Angela, but after a phone call, she determined I would be best suited to her 5 week chant class via Zoom. This is the first sign of a noble soul-rather than schedule private lessons, ensuring a higher rate of pay for her, she tailored her offerings to WHAT THE STUDENT NEEDED! 'So shines a good deed in a weary world', especially online! Thus, before I sang a note, I knew I was in good hands.
When you want holy water from Lourdes, you go there. When you want the Benedictine chant tradition faithfully passed down, you go study with the monks at The Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Solesmes. Can’t afford a trip to France, and stay there for the summer? Well, Angela did, and she’s bringing all the lineage to you!
I had the most enjoyable classes for 5 weeks! Angela was flexible and punctual with our class time. I learned some killer techniques for learning and practicing chant, and I was given access to all kinds of resources to dig in, prepare and learn chants on my own. As a practicing singer for 20 years, I think of these techniques as hacks-they immediately made me a better studier and preparer of chant. BUT, I noticed some bleed over affect into my modern music notation sight reading as well! This is exciting for a singer like myself who is CONSTANTLY jumping back and forth between the musical worlds of opera, Catholic liturgy, Baptist liturgy…Angela’s tools have upgraded MY toolbox!
The classes were all followed up with an email summarizing the lesson, AND included multi-media items of what we discussed and learned in the lesson, such as YouTube videos of monks performing the pieces looked at, PDFs of frequently requested chants and chant sight reading exercises-all went into my personal study library!
Whenever I had a question ('Where can I find this type of chant?'; 'What about the same tunes, but with English words?'), Angela supplied the answer! This would all be enough, but there is a 'full package' vibe happening: not only will you learn tremendous skills and techniques to learn chant, Angela will begin your lifelong journey of interpreting chant CORRECTLY. This isn't a subjective issue: there is a long standing demand for chant and its proper execution in Catholic liturgy. Angela has been doing it for a long time, and will help you make the text and melody come alive together.
I cannot recommend Angela highly enough, and I am so thrilled I found her, and I am honored to call her my chant teacher. I will be checking in with her for more interpretive lessons, and more 'hacks' into this beautiful, mysterious, fulfilling art form. She is an incredible resource in my corner, and she is a kindred spirit who takes seriously liturgy coupled to melody. 'Chant is the hand maiden of the word', she is fond of saying and writing. Now that I’ve studied with Angela, I know SHE is a hand maiden for the Lord!"
Brian L. ~ professional tenor