The Diocese of San Jose (DSJ) under the guidance of the Director of Liturgy, Chris Wemp, successfully concluded its first Youth Liturgical Musicianship and Composing camp.
The purpose of the camp was to provide rigorous musicianship training, learn how to talk about music objectively and assess compositions constructively, and introduce the basics of composing (e.g. elements of a well-crafted melodic line [from a Western Harmonic perspective] and harmonic rhythm, text selection/setting, etc). The goal of the camp was to both empower musicians to be even more effective musical leaders in their parishes, as well as to support them in writing original music.
According to Wemp, since this was a first year launch, the scope was intentionally limited so I could test if there really was interest in a program of this type, before getting too big too fast with trying to offer broader liturgical formation.
Nearly all of the 17 students who participated in the 40 hour week agreed that they would like to continue their formation beyond this week; we will have a series of follow-up workshops and coaching sessions, combined with opportunities for musical involvement at Diocesan liturgies, so that we can continue to support them. For those students whose compositions reach a final draft level, I will work with them in getting their pieces published. One student, who came in unable to read music, left the week with a composition of her own making that was so excellent, we used it at a parish Mass several weeks ago.
Almost everyone who participated said that they would recommend this camp to a friend and that they would want to return for more advanced training in a summer intensive; I look forward to continuing this service.
Wemp encouraged others to be on the lookout for more details to come as future opportunities are planned, especially keeping in mind those young musicians with whom you work at the parish level.
For more information, contact Chris Wemp, at firstname.lastname@example.org.