More Gregorian Neumes!

My new Dutch school session began with listening and speaking and Dutch music. I know next to nothing about American popular music, musicians or groups and definitely nothing about Belgian popular music! When we listened to a musical clip and then had questions to answer, I was at a total loss about Rock Wechter, Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop. Pronouncing Pukkelpop with the right accent is a challenge. Surprisingly, recounting my inimitable failure at home in the Begijnhof, the sisters had heard of these groups! I felt quite behind the times. In my quest to become at least conversant on this topic, I discovered an expatriate site with the 11 Belgian songs from over the years that  all Belgians know. Actually quite helpful!! My next assignment was a presentation 8-10 minutes about a music of my choice. A clip needs to be played, perhaps from Youtube and questions like how does the music make you feel, what is your interpretation, where did the music come from, who sings it, were part of the required presentation. No Pukkelpop for me…Gregorian was my presentation!! This is the music I know; this is the music I sing, the music of the church, its voice. The most important international Gregorian schola festival is here in Belgium, in Wattou, every three years. My home community sent a Schola there in our early years of chant learning. The presentation was definitely the most unique, sandwiched between the music of Mexico, Syrie and the Congo. I wrote neumes on the board and explained the ancient musical notation and sang a clip from lauds and played ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ sung by a famous Brugge Schola from Sint Salvador Cathedral here in Brugge. As one of the older and wiser sisters here at the Begijnhof hastened to tell me, this was a Holy Spirit inspired idea! Amazing!


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