Chorus Begins Their 2018 Latin Mass

Photo of Amy Zakaruaskas taken by Micah Mullen

By: Emma Glezen/Content Editor

Every year, for the past eleven years, the High School Choir embarks on an extensive journey through a Latin mass, beginning right after Christmas break.  In this mass there is no English (except for the translation) and it is made up of multiple religious Latin songs.  In order for the entire chorus to learn this mass, choir director Ms. Zakarauskas says that it takes about two and a half months.  Every year, the high school chorus learns one of four masses, which have been on a four year rotation, with Zakarauskas teaching one of the four each year.

Zakarauskas provided the official names of the pieces, “Mozart Coronation Mass in C, Vivaldi Gloria in D, Schubert Mass in G, and Faure’s Requiem.”

The chorus slowly goes through learning the entire mass either on solfege (Do, Re, Mi, etc.) or on “count singing”, where students sing the notes but replace the words with the counts of the music.  It can usually be very challenging for the chorus to learn the entire mass since each section of the mass is gone over multiple times in solfege or count singing and then gone over again in words, but they always rise up to meet the challenge.  Although this year so far, they have learned the first song, on solfege, in a total of four days.

Furthermore, Zakarauskas explains that “solfege and count-singing are tools used to learn music more accurately, and assist in ear training and music literacy.”

Once the mass is being learned in words, the chorus has to retain the rhythms and notes while learning it in a foreign language that they may not even know the basics of.   Thus, being the only music learned for the spring concert.

These Latin masses have a very important background with Kings, Priests, and God, mainly anything religious or authoritative.  The songs in the mass are mostly translated into praising God or asking for forgiveness – religious things.

Emma Glezen is a senior at Blue Ridge High School and this is her first year in Journalism. She plays volleyball but, loves to watch baseball. She cherishes her family and two dogs, Jett and Gypsy. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, spending the time hunting and fishing. She also hopes to further her education at Penn State Hazleton to be a physical therapist assistant.