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Choral tribute to service men and women in Queens
by Phil Skabeikis for Vocal Area Network
Posted October 31, 2009

St. Matthias ChurchSaint Matthias Church and its Concert Choir will mark Veterans Day 2009 on Wednesday, November 11 with a celebration of the traditional Mass in Latin, the so-called "Tridentine Mass," in the Ridgewood church at 7:00 PM.

In previous years, Saint Matthias Church had offered a concert or musical service to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, but has now chosen to honor the sacrifice of all American service men and women, living and dead. This year, the musical setting will be the Requiem Mass by Giovanni Francesco Anerio, first published in 1614.

Born into a musical Italian family, Anerio served as a singer and choirmaster in a variety of churches. Ordained in 1616, he left the country in 1624 to serve King Sigismund III of Poland, and died in 1630 as he journeyed back to Rome. The Requiem is unaccompanied, its polyphonic movements linked by fragments of Gregorian chant. Though not as well known as the requiems of Mozart and Fauré, it has been treasured by musicians, and was performed at London's Westminster Cathedral on April 23, 1912 at a Mass honoring those who lost their lives in the sinking of the Titanic.

The renowned acoustics of the Italian Renaissance Revival style of St. Matthias offer the ideal setting for the polyphonic textures that Anerio weaves.

This standard form of the Mass--dating in many of its details to the sixth and seventh centuries A.D.--was the liturgy used in every Roman Catholic church from then until after the Second Vatican Council. In 1970 Pope Paul VI issued a new, revised form of the ritual, and various versions replaced the earlier Mass almost everywhere. Pope Benedict XVI has now directed that the traditional Mass in Latin should once again become a normal part of the Church's life, being made available wherever clergy and people desire it.

The singers of the Saint Matthias Concert Choir come from all sections of Queens, to perform sacred music in the setting for which it was intended. Mr. Joseph Kubler is the conductor and musical director. Msgr Edward B. Scharfenberger is pastor of the historic church, located at  58-15 Catalpa Avenue in Ridgewood, NY 11385 between Forest and Onderdonk Avenues. For more information, call 718-821-6447.

Phil Skabeikis sings with the St. Matthias Concert Choir.

Content Contact: Phil Skabeikis.
Revision Date: October 31, 2009.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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