Cantores Matris Dei

‘Cantores Matris Dei’ is a semi-professional choir which specialises in Gregorian Chant. ‘Cantores Matris Dei’ sings for Mass and the Divine Office in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. From Pontifical High Masses to intimate celebrations of Compline, ‘Cantores Matris Dei’ aims to bring people closer to God through the restoration of the sacred and to evangelise through the beauty of “The musical tradition of the universal Church [which] is a treasure of inestimable value.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II). We do so under the patronage of Mary, Mother of God.

Schola Cantorum – Chant Class

The training programme of ‘Cantores Matris Dei’ is called the Schola Cantorum (chant class) and is open to anyone over the age of 16 who wishes to learn how to sing chant. This class is also an opportunity for choir directors and other church musicians to learn how to introduce chant into their own parishes and ensembles.

The Schola Cantorum meets at St James’ Church, Coatbridge on Thursday evenings from 7.30pm for around 40 minutes.

These sessions aim to develop vocal technique, understanding of chant performance and notation reading in a practical way. It is our intention to establish a Junior Schola Cantorum in the near future. If you would like to attend the Schola Cantorum- Chant Class, please contact us here.

Director and Organist

Fraser Pearce is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he specialised in vocal performance, organ and education. His religious journey and musical career have given him professional experience of sacred music in Presbyterian, Anglican and Catholic liturgical settings and in the concert hall as a singer, conductor and accompanist. Fraser has accumulated extensive experience in directing chant in parishes and for special events such as Pontifical High Masses with Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider and his experience as a teacher of music and religious education enables him to help others develop their understanding, skills and confidence. More information at www.fraserpearce.co.uk

Why Latin and Chant?

When we participate in the Scared Liturgy, it is as if we stumble upon on a conversation that has been going on for millennia between God and His people. It is natural that this conversation may contain elements which are not directly comprehensible to us as we are joining in at a particular point. As we enter into the conversation, we first of all listen and take in what has already been said before responding and offering something of our own. Over time, we become familiar with the recurring mysteries of the conversation which begin to form our spiritual lives.

From ancient times, God’s people conducted this solemn and holiest of conversations in a sacred language; for the Jews it was Hebrew and for Christians in the West, it is Latin. From the beginning of human existence, and even before, song has lent solemnity and a heartfelt outbreathing of prayer to God. In the temple of Jerusalem, the psalms were chanted as the animal sacrifices were made and as the evening sacrifice of incense was offered. The musical tradition of the New Covenant continued to develop chants, scriptural and devotional, in the mother tongue of Holy Church which accompany the ritual action of the Sacred Liturgy in which we participate today. Through these chants, the prayers and the readings, inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Church over two thousand years, God continues to converse with us in the present.

As we assist at Mass or the Divine Office in this way that the Church has requested and passed on to us, we let it all wash over us. Using written translations we listen, we watch, we pray. We remember that the most profound kind of full, conscious and active participation in prayer is when we are interiorly engaged, joining our prayer with that perpetual conversation of worship that continues in eternity. We allow ourselves to be taken out of the ‘everyday’ and transported to the courts of the Lord where we ponder all these things in our hearts.