Fall Sacred Music Workshop 2023

October 12-14, 2023

St. Benedict Abbey, Still River, Massachusetts 







Join the Church Music Association of America for an enriching and transformative experience at the Fall Sacred Music Workshop for Chant and Polyphony.

Taking place on October 12-14 at the serene St. Benedict Abbey in Still River, Massachusetts, this three-day workshop offers participants the unique opportunity to delve into the timeless beauty of chant and polyphony under the guidance of distinguished directors Dr. Horst Buchholz, David Hughes, and Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka.

Immerse yourself in the sacred liturgies enhanced by the melodic strains of chant as you join the CMAA in singing Vespers on Thursday, October 12, and the glorious Masses on Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Discover the essentials of sung Morning Prayer, Vespers, and Night Prayer, gaining a deeper understanding of these timeless expressions of worship.


Fundamentals and Refresher Chant Course

Ideal for chant novices or those with limited opportunities to engage in regular chant singing. This course will also help those who don’t typically sing using the Solesmes method.  Learn the fundamentals of Gregorian chant notation including reading the four-line staff, understanding neume names, and navigating intervals using solfege. Rhythm will also be introduced. This choir will joyfully sing the Mass ordinaries (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) and selected Mass propers (Entrance, Offertory, Communion) during the liturgies.

Intermediate to Advanced Chant Course

Tailored for intermediate and advanced singers who regularly engage in chant singing. Join this choir to tackle the more challenging chanted Mass propers and Mass ordinaries, developing your ability to sing the chant with sensitivity and refinement. It is expected that all singers in this choir will have a solid understanding of Solesmes rhythmic groupings, neumes, and solfege. If you don’t regularly sing using the Solesmes method, you may want to consider the Fundamentals and Refresher Chant Course.


Polyphonic Choir

The Polyphonic choir (SATB), spanning from beginner to advanced levels, will include all participants and will have the responsibility of performing the enchanting polyphonic repertory during the liturgies.


The repertory for the workshop will include:


Chant Mass Ordinary: Mass XII

Propers: Introit: Cogitationes cordis ejus; Gradual: Dulcis et rectus; Alleluia: Tollite jugum; Offertory: Improperium expectavit; Communion: Unus militum

Motets: Cor Jesu (David Hughes); Dico vobis (Heinrich Isaac)


Polyphonic Mass Ordinary: Missa Pater noster (Palestrina)

Propers: Introit: Sacerdotes Dei; Gradual: Inveni David servum meum; Alleluia: Amavit eum Dominus; Offertory: Veritas mea; Communion: Beatus servus

Motets: Per signum crucis (Guerrero); O sacrum convivium (Marenzio)

Breakout sessions and materials

Expand your knowledge further with our engaging breakout sessions.

Friday Breakouts:

Using the Gregorian Modes to Learn and Teach Chant, 1 hour, Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka

Vocal Technique for Chanters, 1 hour, David Hughes

Friday Evening Dinner Talk:

Polyphonic Propers: Byrd, Gallus, and Other Contributions, 1 hour, Dr. William Mahrt

To enhance your learning experience, all necessary music materials will be provided in the printed music book—no need to bring your own Graduale Romanum. We also encourage you to review our CMAA Code of Conduct, ensuring a respectful and harmonious environment for all participants.


Dr. William P. Mahrt

Dr. William P. Mahrt

President of the CMAA, Stanford University

 Dr. William P. Mahrt is Associate Professor and Director of Early Music Singers at the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Stanford University, President of the Church Music Association of America, and editor of Sacred Music, the oldest continuously published journal of music in North America.

Dr. Mahrt grew up in Washington State; after attending Gonzaga University and the University of Washington, he completed a doctorate at Stanford University in 1969. He taught at Case Western Reserve University and the Eastman School of Music, and then returned to Stanford in 1972, where he continues to teach early music. Since 1964 he has directed the choir of St. Ann’s Chapel in Palo Alto, which sings Mass and Vespers in Gregorian chant on all the Sundays of the year, with masses in the polyphonic music of Renaissance masters for the holy days.

His research interests include theory and performance of Medieval and Renaissance music, troubadours, Machaut, Dufay, Lasso, Dante, English Cathedrals, Gregorian chant, and Renaissance polyphony. He has published articles on the relation of music and liturgy, and music and poetry. He frequently leads workshops in the singing of Gregorian chant and the sacred music of the Renaissance.

Dr. Horst Buchholz

Dr. Horst Buchholz

Vice President of the CMAA, Detroit

Dr. Horst Buchholz received his first musical training in a boys’ choir in his native Germany and studied organ and sacred music at the Berlin College of Church Music and the University of Arts, and received his Doctor of Music degree in conducting from the Indiana University School of Music.

Dr. Buchholz has held positions in cathedrals and churches throughout the United States and Europe, including the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado. He has served as a member of the organ faculty at Cleveland State University; Associate Professor of Music and Director of Schola Cantorum at St. John Vianney Seminary (Denver); conducting professor and organ faculty member at Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. He is also Vice-President of the Church Music Association of America.

Rev. Robert Pasley

Rev. Robert Pasley

CMAA Chaplain, Mater Ecclesiae Parish, Berlin, NJ

 Rev. Robert C. Pasley, KCHS, has been a member of the CMAA since his ordination. Fr. Pasley will present a breakout session on All that you wanted to know about the Ancient Form of the Mass but were afraid to ask, along with M.C. Bill Riccio and David Hughes.

He is a priest of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey.

Because of his association with Msgr. Richard Schuler, he was introduced to the Sacred Music Colloquium and has attended most of the colloquia held since their foundation in 1990.

Father Pasley received a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, an M.A. in Dogmatic Theology from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, and an M.A. in Education from Seton Hall University. He was ordained by the Most Reverend George H. Guilfoyle in 1982.

On October 13, 2000, he was appointed Rector, by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of the newly established Tridentine-rite Parish of Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, N.J. (materlatin.org). Mater Ecclesiae was the first diocesan-run Extraordinary Form parish in the United States.

Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka

Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka

CMAA Board Member, St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, CA

Dr. Jennifer Donelson-Nowicka is an associate professor and the director of sacred music at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, where she holds the William P. Mahrt Chair in Sacred Music and directs the Catholic Institute of Sacred Music.

Dr. Donelson-Nowicka serves as a consultant to the USCCB’s Committee on Divine Worship.

As a choral conductor, Donelson-Nowicka has directed collegiate, semi-professional, amateur, monastic, and children’s choirs.

Dr. Donelson-Nowicka is currently working on a project to adapt the Gregorian chants of the Mass proper for the Spanish language. She also hosts a weekly podcast entitled “Square Notes: The Sacred Music Podcast.”

David Hughes

David Hughes

Organist & Choirmaster at St. Patrick’s Parish and Oratory in Waterbury, Connecticut

 David Hughes is a composer, conductor, and organist who is in international demand as a recitalist and an instructor of Gregorian chant.

He served for thirteen years as Organist & Choirmaster at St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he developed a program of seven choirs, including the professional St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum, the volunteer St. Mary’s Choir, and the St. Mary’s Student Schola, a comprehensive program of musical education for children. He directs Viri Galilæi, an ensemble of men from the tristate New York area who gather weekly to sing Vespers and medieval polyphony from facsimiles of original manuscripts. Hughes is Director of Music at St. John Fisher Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut, and serves as a consultant to several parishes in Connecticut looking to expand their musical programs.

Hughes’ composition teachers have included Ruth Schonthal and John Halle, and he has studied organ with Paul Jacobs and Daniel Sullivan. He is a graduate of Yale College.

Jennifer Donaldson Conducts Schola learn sacred music fall workshop Church Music Association of America

Join CMAA Today


Members receive special discounts on all CMAA events, including the Sacred Music Colloquium.

As a member, you’ll be part of a vibrant community of musicians, clergy, and supporters in pursuit of high musical ideals in Catholic liturgy. Additionally, members of the Church Music Association of America enjoy:

  • Exclusive discounted pricing for events
  • Quarterly issues of Sacred Music, the acclaimed members-only journal
  • The first to preview and purchase new publications
  • Specially curated content right to your inbox

Who should join?

If you are interested in sacred music, you’re invited.

2023 Fall Workshop Schedule


Thursday, October 12, 2023

1:30 pm Registration
2:30 pm Welcome and General Chant Ordinary Instruction (all)
3:30 – 3:45 pm Choral Warmup (Dr. Horst Buchholz)
3:45 – 4:30 pm Chant Instruction
4:30 – 4:50 pm Coffee Break
5:00 – 5:40 pm Polyphony Instruction
6:00 pm Opening Dinner (followed by Vespers and Night Prayer in the Chapel)

Friday, October 13, 2023

8:30 am Morning Prayer
9:00 am Choral Warm-up (David Hughes)
9:15 – 10:15 am Chant Rehearsals
10:15 – 10:35 am Coffee Break
10:45 – 11:45 am Breakout Sessions
11:50 am – 12:35 pm Lunch
12:40 – 2:00 pm Polyphony Rehearsal
2:05 – 3:20 pm Chant Rehearsals
3:25 – 3:45 pm Coffee Break
3:45 – 4:15 pm General Chant Ordinary Instruction (all), Chapel
4:20 pm Mass – Votive Mass: Sacred Heart
6:00 pm Vespers with the Monks, Chapel followed by Dinner, Talk by William Mahrt (followed by Night prayer)


Saturday, October 14, 2023

8:30 am Morning Prayer
9:00 am Choral Warmup (Dr. Horst Buchholz)
9:15 – 10:00 am Chant Rehearsals
10:00 – 10:15 am Coffee Break
10:20 – 11:20 am Polyphony Rehearsal
11:20 – 11:45 am Travel time to Church in Leominster
12:00 pm Mass, TBD, Memorial of St. Callistus I, Pope & Martyr, St, Cecilia’s Parish, Leominster, MA

Additional Information


Registration and full payment must be postmarked on or before August 15, 2023 (early) or September 15, 2023 (regular). After September 15, a late fee of $50 will be applied.

Registrations must be received at the CMAA Office by the close of business on October 3, 2023. After October 3, registration is only available by telephone by calling our office at on a space-available basis. Full registration payment must be made by the respective deadlines.

PLEASE NOTE: Lodging is not included in the registration. The abbey does not have lodging available for registrants.

Cancellation: Requests received by email or in writing at the CMAA Office postmarked on or before October 3 will receive a refund less the non-refundable $75 deposit. After that date, partial refunds are given only in the form of a credit toward registration for a future event. Refunds may be processed after the workshop.

All requests for credit must be received in the CMAA Office by email (gm@musicasacra.com) by October 11th in order to be considered for Credit. Requests after October 3rd may only receive partial credit, depending on charges to the CMAA for meals and materials expenses.

Please note: In cases of last-minute emergencies, it is imperative that immediate notice to the CMAA be given in order for partial refunds to be given. If this notice occurs after the beginning of the Fall Workshop (Thursday, October 12, 2023), unfortunately, no refunds can be made.

Likewise, if a person decides not to complete the entire week after registration (for whatever reason), no refund can be made for days not attended.

With a current CMAA membership, the members’ rate is available to you; it is not transferable to another person (except for spouses or children living in the home). If your parish has a CMAA parish membership, please request the member discount code from your Director of Music, or directly from the CMAA by emailing gm@musicasacra.com.

Not yet a member? JOIN NOW and receive the benefits of membership for a full year for nearly the same price as a non-member registration. Once your membership payment is received, you’ll receive an email with information about the member discount code. Email us at gm@musicasacra.com for any questions.


Registrants must be at least eighteen (18) years or older as of October 12, 2023, unless accompanied by a fully-registered parent attending. All registrants must be at least 16 years of age as of October 12, 2023.


Check-in location is:  St. Benedict Abbey

Travel Information: The nearest airport to the Abbey is Boston Logan airport. From the airport, depending on traffic, it is a little over a 1 hour drive to the abbey. Abbey address: St. Benedict Abbey, 252 Still River Rd., Still River, MA 01467.

Photographs and Recordings: You are welcome to take photos and videos, but please do not use flash, especially during sacred liturgies. Please note that some cellphone cameras use a spotlight-type light that may not be used during filming/photographs during a liturgy. It is very disruptive to liturgies.

Please be considerate when taking photos or videos. Be unobtrusive when filming so as not to disrupt singers, musicians, or conductors (please don’t get so near as to make them uncomfortable).

We welcome volunteer recordings of the liturgies during our courses. In fact, amateur recordings are kept in a collection online and are available for free access in the resources section of our website. If you do record a session or liturgy, please consider sharing your files with the CMAA so that others may hear them. Please consider bringing a recorder and/or video camera and assisting with this.

Note: Please do not film during teaching or rehearsal sessions without permission of the instructor.

Contact us a gm@musicasacra.com for more information.


The CMAA has not negotiated a particular room block with local hotels, but there are many options in the near area and many other hotels within easy driving distance.

Hotel suggestions:

Springhill Suites, Devens Commons Center ~$126/night, 27 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434

Hilton Garden Inn, Devens Commons ~$219/night