Thank you for the commentaries in last week’s paper about the unfortunate departure of Collegium Cantorum. Please allow me, however, to make one small but crucial observation about Collegium and what exactly it is that the University of Dallas is losing. Collegium is first and foremost an avenue of prayer and spiritual development for its members. It is only secondarily an outlet for the “musically-inclined” to express themselves.
Admittedly, many members of Collegium are initially attracted to the choir because of this secondary purpose. However, new members learn very quickly that approaching Collegium in this way – as just another fun extracurricular activity – is not enough. Being a member of Collegium is not easy (I haven’t had a Friday evening all to myself in four years!). The sacred music that Collegium sings demands perfection and the utmost reverence and devotion from the members of the choir. Certainly, there are many members who come and go because of the level of commitment required.
However, what makes students stay in Collegium – what makes them learn to love dedicating so much of their time and energy – is the sweetness that comes from learning to pray with the sacred music.
Collegium teaches its members – who have each been given very special gifts from God in their voices – to use their voices for the sole purpose for which they were given: to glorify God. And because of the level of self-giving that the music requires, the sacred words become a very intimate and personal form of prayer for each choir member.
It is, to say the least, a shame that future students will not be able to benefit from the spiritual delights of Collegium Cantorum. Should other music groups begin to arise around UD, they will be hard-pressed to fill the spiritual void left by the departure of Collegium.
Senior theology major