THE EARLIEST CATHOLIC CHOIR SCHOOL (Eng) – Rev. David M. Friel

Many of the finest church musicians in the world are products of choir schools.  In the Catholic tradition today, regrettably, there are relatively few such venerable institutions.  Among the premier examples still thriving are St. Paul’s Choir School (Harvard Square), the Madeleine Choir School (Salt Lake City), and the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School (Brompton Oratory).  The practice of training choristers from an early age in structured environments such as these is a tradition with longer history than one might first imagine.

The search for the origins of the choir school takes us to the turn of the seventh century, during the pontificate of Gregory the Great (d. 604).  Whether Gregory was, himself, the founder of the Roman schola has been the source of significant debate (see Helmut Hucke, Die Entstehung der Überlieferung, 1958 and S.J.P. van Dijk, Gregory the Great, 1963).  The most recent scholarship indicates that a schola developed shortly after his papacy (McKinnon, The Advent Project, 2000, 359).  Its first location appears to have been along the Via Merulana, and it has been suggested that the group may have first been organized… (Here)

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