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Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast

61 EpisodesProduced by Square Notes: The Sacred Music PodcastWebsite

You’ve got questions about sacred music? Here’s your chance to learn what the Church teaches and envisions for music in the sacred liturgy.Welcome to Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast with your host Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka. We address topics of interest both to priests and liturgical musi… read more

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Music of the California Missions: Understanding the Construction of a Vibrant Musical Culture - with Dr. Craig H. Russell

June 4th, 2022


How did the Franciscan missionaries of California engage the people they were evangelizing through music? How did their training in music enable their missionary work? What were the forms of music the missionaries used? …

Paleography, the Semiological Approach to Singing Chant, and the Work of Dom Eugène Cardine – with Dr. Edward Schaefer

May 22nd, 2022


A leading expert in the work and approach to singing chant of Dom Eugène Cardine, Dr. Edward Schaefer (Collegium Sanctorum Angelorum) joins us to …

Olivier Messiaen as Musical Theologian - with Dr. Robert Sholl

May 22nd, 2022


What are the limits of music in conveying meaning? Can one "do theology" musically? Join Dr. Robert Sholl (Royal Academy of Music) as we discuss …

The Psalms as the Basis for Christian Sung Prayer: Exploring the Four Senses of Scripture in the Divine Office - with Dr. William Mahrt

May 16th, 2022


Focusing firstly on the Psalms of Sunday vespers, Dr. Mahrt takes us through a tour of the Psalms and their antiphon pairings and how this helps us …

Capturing the Classical Polyphonic Sound: Historical Performance Practice for Parish Choirs - with Charles Weaver

May 12th, 2022


What can a parish music director take away from historical research in terms of performance practice? Join Prof. Charles Weaver (Juilliard, CUNY) as we discuss phrasing, rhythm, vibrato, pitch, tuning, and other issues …

New Jobs and Early-Career Church Musicians: Starting Off on the Right Foot - with Sam Rowe

May 8th, 2022


We can learn so much from listening to the experiences of others, and this is particularly true when it comes to starting a new job, or just getting …

The Beuron School of Art: The Invention of a Modern Canon for Liturgical Art - with Emily Sottile

May 6th, 2022

The search for new styles or canons of artistic expression in the liturgy throughout the 19th and 20th centuries produced varied results, with some …

Building Your Parish Choir’s Repertoire: Great Motets and Helpful Tips - with Dr. Aaron James

May 5th, 2022


Looking for some great new repertoire for your parish choir? Join Dr. Aaron James from the Toronto Oratory as we discuss resources and tips for building up a body of pieces that your choir can sing well, and his …

Secular Music at Mass: Understanding the Use of Worldly Tunes in Renaissance Polyphony - with Dr. Andrew Kirkman

May 2nd, 2022


Secular Music at Mass? In looking at how to deal with this issue now, it's important to understand how the Church and composers dealt with this issue …

Introducing People to Sacred Music: How to Plan a Great Event - with Janet Gorbitz

April 27th, 2022


Are you interested in planning a really great event to introduce people to sacred music? This is the episode for you. We talk with Janet Gorbitz, General Manager of the Church Music Association of America, about the big …

What Does "Pastoral" Mean? Leadership and Service in Sacred Music with Archbishop Salvatore J Cordileone

April 21st, 2022


Join us for our season opener as we discuss leadership, service, formation, and what the word "pastoral" really means with the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore J. Cordileone.  For more information on the graduate …

SE03 EP14 – Historical Notation, and the Link between Meaning and Notation in Sacred Music – with Charles Weaver

May 31st, 2021


What is the fundamental experience of music? How does a notated piece of music relate to that fundamental experience? What are the limits of musical …

SE03 EP13 – Meeting Your Spouse in Choir, Weddings, and Babies - with Theresa and Ben Volpe, Sam and Lauren Rowe, and Drs. Jacek and Jennifer Nowiccy

May 30th, 2021


Join us for some good, old-fashioned love stories, the history behind finding a spouse in a Catholic choir, inspiration for lay vocations and family …

SE03 EP12 – Saint Juan de Ribera, Devotion to the Eucharist, and the Importance of Prayer in Liturgical and Musical Renewal – with James Monti

May 3rd, 2021


We look to a great Spanish saint for inspiration in his holy life, devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, and his care for the sacred liturgy and …

SE03 EP11 – The Origins of Gregorian Chant: The Roman Schola Cantorum and Old Roman Chant – with Dr. Joseph Dyer

May 2nd, 2021


Eminent chant scholar, Dr. Joseph Dyer, explains the Roman origins of Gregorian chant, the role of the Roman Schola Cantorum in the development of …

SE03 EP10 – Sergei Rachmaninoff and the Sounds of Russian Orthodoxy – with Dr. Richard Fountain

April 18th, 2021


We venture east in this episode for a look at Russian Orthodox music that impacted the life and compositions of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). Dr. Richard Fountain, professor of piano at Wayland Baptist University and …

SE03 EP09 - Liturgical Changes in Tudor England: Thomas Tallis’ Stable Position – with Dr. Kerry McCarthy

April 17th, 2021


Join us for a guided tour through the liturgical changes of Reformation-era England through the lens of the composer Thomas Tallis. Our guest, Dr. Kerry McCarthy, offers a look at the challenges these times posed for …

SE03 EP08 – Pius X School of Liturgical Music: A Snapshot of Sacred Music Education in America – with Dr. Francis Brancaleone

April 10th, 2021


What was sacred music in America like in the mid-20th century? Dr. Francis Brancaleone, former head of the department of music at Manhattanville …

SE03 EP07 - Modality in Gregorian Chant - with Dr. William Mahrt

March 27th, 2021


Do some aspects of the meaning in Gregorian chant seem difficult to understand? Join us as we take a look an approach to understanding the chant …

SE03 EP06 – Dominican Chant – with Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P.

December 24th, 2020


Join us for our Christmas special, highlighting chants of the Christmas midnight Mass with Dominican rite and chant expert, Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P. 

Innocent Smith, O.P., is a doctoral student in Liturgical Studies at …

SE03 EP05 – Swimming the Thames and the Tiber – with Dr. Jay Hershberger

December 12th, 2020


Dr. Jay Hershberger joins us to share the story of his conversion to the Catholic faith by way of the Anglo-catholic tradition. We also discuss his …

SE03 EP04 – Music of the Ordinariate – with Fr. James Bradley

December 5th, 2020


Fr. James Bradley, J.C.D., an Assistant Professor of Canon Law at The Catholic University of America and priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our …

SE03 EP03 – Motets – with Dr. Aaron James

November 29th, 2020


What is a motet? Where did this musical genre come from? What has the word "motet" meant throughout history? What can motets of the past teach us about incorporating non-obligatory texts into the sacred liturgy? How can …

SE03 EP02 - Growing up Catholic in China and Musical Life in the Church in China – with His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Zen

November 25th, 2020


A brave man and heroic witness for the freedom and rights of the Church in China and Hong Kong, His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Zen, joins us for a discussion about music while growing up in Shanghai, in his formation as …

SE03 EP01 – Sanctity, Beauty, and Universality in Modern Sacred Music – with Sir James MacMillan

September 12th, 2020


One of the most prominent composers of our time, Sir James MacMillan has written for concert hall and stage as well as for the Church. A devoted …

SE02 EP18 – 7000+ Hours of Gregorian Chant – Behind the Scenes at the Neumz Project – with John Anderson & Alberto Díaz-Blanco

June 30th, 2020


The largest recording project in history is coming to life in an excellent new app for sacred musicians and those wishing to learn to pray and sing Gregorian chant in the Mass and Divine Office. In this episode we dive …

SE02 EP19 – Where Do I Start? A Pastoral Plan for Changing a Parish Music Program - with Dr. Mary Jane Ballou

June 30th, 2020


Is there an opportunity for improvement in your parish music program? Has there been a change in personnel, circumstances, or resources that makes growth possible? Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic has presented …

SE02 EP17 – Sacred Music as a Vital Part of Parish Life and Fellowship – Roundtable with Mary Ann Carr Wilson, Charles Cole, and Fr. Robert Pasley

June 7th, 2020


In our first roundtable discussion on sacred music we talk with experienced church musicians and CMAA chaplain, Fr. Robert Pasley, about fostering community in parish life through building up sacred music programs. 

Bonus Episode 5 – Introduction to the Organ for Pianists – with Dr. Crista Miller

June 5th, 2020


Learn some tips and tricks to orient yourself along the journey from pianist-only, to organist-as-well. Dr. Crista Miller, Director of Music and Cathedral Organist at the Co-cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston, …

Bonus Episode 4 – 40+ (Mostly Free) Resources for Making Excellent Sacred Music in a Time of Restrictions

May 30th, 2020


Are you a music director looking for ideas about what to do whilst there are restrictions on sacred music put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out this episode. It's not for the casual listener, and …

BONUS Episode 3 – The Top 5 Misconceptions about Music at Mass (Part I: nos. 1 and 2) – with Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka

May 26th, 2020


What are the top five things that people don't understand when it comes to sacred music? In this first part of a two-part episode, we take time to …

SE02 EP16 – “Lord, Teach Us to Pray:” The Spiritual Fruits of Obedience in Matters Liturgical – with Dom Alcuin Reid, OSB

May 24th, 2020


On this episode, we discuss matters of liturgical formation, both for musicians, as well as for those we serve. Dom Alcuin Reid is the founding Prior …

Bonus Episode 2 – Teaching Gregorian Chant to Children: A Look at the Ward Method

May 22nd, 2020


Are you looking for an authentically Catholic curriculum and method for teaching music to children? Something that's practical, fun, and helps …

SE02 EP15 – A Catholic Portrait of Abbé Franz Liszt – with Dr. Jay Hershberger

May 17th, 2020


Franz Liszt, haunted by the spectre of God's grace, was never able to fully shake off his Catholic faith. Our guest, Dr. Jay Hershberger, the …

SE02 EP14 – From Ragas to Responsories: A Hindu Becomes a Catholic Priest – with Fr. Gaurav Shroff

May 10th, 2020


An opinion piece published in the New York Times on May 8, 2020, entitled “Christianity Gets Weird,” highlights for readers the attraction of beauty and mystery for the young, and how that attraction leads to an embrace …

Bonus Episode 1 – Conducting and Group Vocal Tips for the Parish Music Director – with Dr. Timothy McDonnell

May 8th, 2020


Our first-ever bonus episode—outside our normal publication schedule and a more extended conversation than our normal episodes—features a …

SE02 EP13 – Pope Pius X’s Motu Proprio on Sacred Music – with Dr. Susan Treacy

May 4th, 2020


Join us for an episode which sets the stage for a deeper understanding of the principles in Pope Pius X's 1903 motu proprio Tra le Sollecitudini. …

SE02 EP12 – The Hows and Whys of Illuminated Chant Manuscripts – with Elizabeth Lemme

April 27th, 2020


How did medieval monks create illuminated manuscripts? What's behind the symbolism in all their visual elements? Why were they an important part of …

SE02 EP11 – William Byrd, English Catholic Composer and Recusant – with Dr. Kerry McCarthy

April 19th, 2020


Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a Catholic musician under the reigns of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I? Are you interested in …

SE02 EP10 – Beauty, Reverence, and Whether It's All in the Eye of the Beholder - with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

April 12th, 2020


We welcome an inspiring and wise guest on the show to talk about the perception of beauty, the effect of beauty on the soul, and how to form oneself …

SE02 EP09 – The Music of Notre Dame de Paris: The Organs and Organists through the Centuries – with Olivier Latry

April 7th, 2020


Join us for an update on the current situation with the organs at Notre Dame in Paris, following the April 15, 2019 fire. Our guest is the fantastic …

SE02 EP08 – The Pipe Organ: King of the Instruments – with Dr. Nathan Knutson

February 17th, 2020


Dr. Nathan Knutson, the Director of Sacred Music at St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia, joins us for this episode on the Church's esteem for the pipe organ. If you've been looking to learn about the history of the …

SE02 EP07 – St. Élisabeth of the Trinity as Musician and Spiritual Friend – with Dr. Anthony Lilles

February 8th, 2020


We're learning about one of this podcast's patronesses in this episode - St. Élisabeth of the Trinity, who described herself as "laudem gloriæ," the "praise of glory." Discover why St. Élisabeth is an excellent …

SE02 EP06 – Understanding Christ in the Psalms – with Dom Benedict Andersen, OSB

February 3rd, 2020


We're taking a look at the Catholic way of reading, understanding, and praying the book of Psalms. Our guest is Dom Benedict Andersen, who is a …

SE02 EP04 – The Spiritual Fruits of Singing the Mass for Both Priests and Laity - with Fr. Nathan Cromly, CSJ

December 5th, 2019


Join us for an episode highlighting the spiritual fruits that flow from following the Church's pastoral guidance in the celebration of the liturgy. …

SE02 EP03 – All About St. Cecilia, or When in Rome - with Gregory DiPippo

November 30th, 2019


Join us in this episode for a discussion about St. Cecilia, and the liturgies and sacred music of Rome. 

Gregory DiPippo is the Editor of the New Liturgical Movement blog. He lives and works in the eternal city of Rome, …

SE02 EP02 – The Worship of God: The Heart of the Mission of the Church – Part 2 with His Eminence, Robert Cardinal Sarah

November 13th, 2019


Robert Cardinal Sarah was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He has said of his efforts for the renewal of the sacred liturgy …

SE02 EP01 – Sacred Music and Sacred Silence as Powerful Spiritual Medicines – with His Eminence, Robert Cardinal Sarah

October 15th, 2019


Robert Cardinal Sarah was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He has said of his efforts for the renewal of the sacred liturgy …

Episode 12 – The Participation of Little Children in the Sacred Liturgy – with Dr. Timothy O’Malley

May 31st, 2019


Dr. Timothy P. O’Malley is the Director of Education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life, where he also serves as Academic Director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. He teaches and researches at Notre Dame in …

Episode 11 – Developing a Sacred Music Program, St Vincent Ferrer, NYC - with James Wetzel

May 22nd, 2019


Juilliard-trained James Wetzel is one of the most respected Catholic church musicians in New York City. In this episode, we ask James about his work …

Episode 10 – Teaching Sacred Music in Nigeria - with Fr. Jude Orakwe

May 14th, 2019


Rev. Fr. Jude Orakwe is a lecturer at the music department of Anambra State University (a.k.a. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University). He is also the founder and director of Shanahan Institute of Music of Onitsha …

Episode 9 - Modern Sacred Music - with Kevin Allen

May 6th, 2019


For this episode, we are joined by the renowned Catholic composer Kevin Allen. Kevin has written a large repertoire of sacred choral music for the …

Episode 8 – Evangelization and Catechesis through Music: South American Jesuit Missions and Working with Underserved Populations – with Lisa Knutson

April 30th, 2019


We’re joined by Philadelphia musician and educator Lisa Knutson for a discussion of the Jesuit missions in South America and how the missionary spirit, artistic craftsmanship, and education in beauty offered by the …

Episode 7 – The Role of Sacred Art in Evangelization and Church Patronage of Art – with Dr. Elizabeth Lev

April 18th, 2019


Episode 7 – The Role of Sacred Art in Evangelization and Church Patronage of Art – with Dr. Elizabeth Lev

This episode is an exploration of how the …

Episode 6 – Historical Techniques for Teaching Music to Children – with Charlie Weaver

April 8th, 2019


On today’s episode, we’ll look at how choristers learned music in times past. Our guest is Charles Weaver. Charlie is on the faculty at the Juilliard …

Episode 5 – The Spirituality of Gregorian Chant – with Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB

March 31st, 2019


Our guest for episode 5 is Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB, from the Benedictine Monastery in Norcia, Italy. We’ll be discussing with him how singing …

Episode 4 – Introduction to Gregorian Chant – with Dr William Mahrt

March 24th, 2019


In our fourth episode, we are joined by Professor William Mahrt of Stanford University who gives an introduction to the history, music, liturgical …

Episode 3 – The Role of Sacred Music in Catholic Education – with Charles Cole

March 17th, 2019


Episode 3 – The Role of Sacred Music in Catholic Education – with Charles Cole

We take an inside look at a British choir school, and discuss the role …

Episode 2 - Beauty and Catholic Culture: a Story of Conversion – with Vida and Josh Hernandez

March 11th, 2019


Episode 2 – Beauty and Catholic Culture: a Story of Conversion – with Vida and Josh Hernandez

In our second episode, we look at the power of beauty …

Episode 1 - An Archbishop’s Reflections on Sacred Music - with Archbishop Alexander K. Sample

February 24th, 2019


In our inaugural episode, we interview His Excellency, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland, Oregon. 

We give a brief introduction to the show and ourselves before diving into the interview. 

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