Founded in 2008, Hamilton Schola Cantorum (HSC) is a non-denominational choir of men and women dedicated to the performance of Gregorian chant and traditional sacred music in concert and in liturgy. HSC is sponsored by the Gregorian Institute of Canada under the direction of William Renwick (renwick /at/ mcmaster.ca).
HSC welcomes visitors and new members. As of January 2023, HSC meets on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at St. George’s Church, 134 Emerson Street, Hamilton. Contact: William Renwick for further information (renwick /at/ mcmaster.ca).
HSC is pleased to sing at services, weddings, funerals and concerts in southern Ontario and the surrounding region. Contact William Renwick for information and bookings (renwick /at/ mcmaster.ca).
Special Upcoming Performances
Monday November 6, 2023, 7:30 pm: Evensong, St. George’s Reformed Episcopal Church, 134 Emerson Street, Hamilton, featuring the music of Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
Monday November 13, 2023, 7:30 pm: Evensong, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, 1382 Ontario St, Burlington, featuring the music of Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
Wednesday, March 27, 2023, 7:00 pm Tenebrae, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, 287 Plains Road East, Burlington ON (A service of Light into Darkness, featuring the Responsories for Tenebrae by Healey Willan, and Allegri’s Miserere)
Members of HSC sing Sarum Chant at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin (Independent Anglican) each Sunday at 8:30, meeting at St. George’s Church (Reformed Episcopal), 134 Emerson Street, Hamilton Ontario. We use the Sarum Gradual in Latin and the Sarum Gradual in English.
From 2008-July 2019, members of HSC sang for the Gregorian Tridentine Mass in the diocese of Hamilton, at St. Mary’s Church, St. Mary’s Chapel, St. Lawrence Church, and more recently St. Anne’s Church, on the first, third, and fifth Sundays afternoons of the month. Taking over the tradition carried on faithfully for many years by Geoffrey Steele, we used the Liber Usualis. The Tridentine mass is now at 12:00 noon every Sunday at St. Anne’s Church. Unfortunately, at this time HSC members are not available to sing in this new schedule.
Thursday, November 2, 2023, 10:30 a.m. Mass for All Souls’ Day, St. George’s Reformed Episcopal Church, 134 Emerson Street, Hamilton; in Latin, with Gregorian chant from the Use of York.
Monday-Tuesday, July 24-25, 2023: The Feast of St. James, at St. George’s Reformed Episcopal Church, 134 Emerson Street, Hamilton. The Schola will participate in Vespers and Compline each day, and in the Mass on Tuesday. This is part of an immersive experience in Medieval English Liturgy of York hosted by the Gregorian Institute of Canada.
Monday May 29, 2023, 7:30 pm: Evensong, St. George’s Reformed Episcopal Church, 134 Emerson Street, Hamilton, featuring Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Fauxbourdons by Byrd, and O Lord, Give thy Holy Spirit by Tallis.
Wednesday, April 5, 2023: 7:30 pm, Tenebrae, Basilica of our Lady, 28 Norfolk Street, Guelph ON. A service of Light into Darkness, featuring the Responsories for Tenebrae by Healey Willan, and Miserere by Renwick.
Monday February 13, 2023, 7:30 pm: Evensong, St. George’s Reformed Episcopal Church, 134 Emerson Street, Hamilton, featuring Stainer, Hail, gladenning light, Hylton Stewart, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, and Bach, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.
Sunday November 20, 2022, 4:00 pm: Evensong, St. Jude’s Anglican Church, Oakville
Tuesday-Wednesday, July 19-20, 2022: The Feast of St. Margaret, at St. Matthews on the Plains, Burlington. The Schola participated in Vespers and Compline each day, and in the Mass on Wednesday. This was part of an immersive experience in Medieval English Liturgy from York and Sarum hosted by the Gregorian Institute of Canada.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:00 pm, Tenebrae, Basilica of our Lady, 28 Norfolk Street, Guelph ON A service of Light into Darkness, featuring the Responsories for Tenebrae by Healey Willan, and Miserere setting by William Renwick) This performance was cancelled because of COVID.
Sunday March 8, 2020, 7:00 pm, Sarum Compline, Basilica of our Lady, 28 Norfolk Street, Guelph ON, in the crypt.
Sunday, May 5 2019, 7:00 pm. Vespers for the Second Sunday of Easter. St. Augustine’s Church, 58 Sydenham St, Dundas, ON
Sunday, March 10, 2019, 7:00 pm. Vespers for the First Sunday of Lent. St. Augustine’s Church, 58 Sydenham St, Dundas, ON
Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 7:00 pm Tenebrae, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, 287 Plains Road East, Burlington ON (A service of Light into Darkness, featuring the Responsories for Tenebrae by Healey Willan, and Allegri’s Miserere)
Sunday, October 21 2019, 4:00 pm: Evensong, St. Jude’s Anglican Church, Oakville
Tuesday August 14-Wednesday August 15, 2018, The Feast of the Assumption, Grace Lutheran Church, 1107 Main St W, Hamilton, ON. This will include the Full Office and Mass: First Vespers, Compline, Matins, Lauds, Prime, Chapter, Terce, Procession, Mass, Sext, None, Second Vespers, and Compline. The full text and music is available here: Sarum Assumption 2018. Any and all are invited to this event. TEXTS and MUSIC will not be provided–please print anything that you wish from the file. For further information, please contact William Renwick.
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 1:30 pm. The Feast of Saint Cecilia, Gregorian Institute of Canada Colloquium, St. John’s Chapel, Huron College, Western University, London ON. (newly edited performing version from York manuscripts by Brandon Wild)
Friday, May 11, 2018, 3:00 pm. The Feast of Saint Cecilia, International Medieval Congress, Kanley Chapel, University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo MI (augmented by members of the Gregorian institute of Canada)
Sunday, March 25, 2018, 7:00 pm. Tenebrae, Port Nelson United Church, 3132 South Dr, Burlington ON (featuring the Responsories of Healey Willan and fauxbourdons by William Renwick)
Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 7:30 pm The Feast of Saint Cecilia, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, 287 Plains Road East, Burlington ON (A Celebration of St. Cecilia with the premiere of newly edited medieval chant from York Minster Cathedral.)
Sunday, October 15 2017, 4:00 pm: Evensong, St. Jude’s Anglican Church, Oakville
Sunday, June 11, 2017, 3:00 pm The Feast of the Holy Trinity, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 3455 Lakeshore Road, Burlington. A recreation of a 16th Century Lutheran Mass.
Friday, May 5, 2017, 7:00 pm Luther Festival Concert, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Hamilton ON A Concert featuring Lutheran music from the 16th and 17th centuries, with special guest, Stillman Mattheson, Organ.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 7:00 pm Tenebrae, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, 287 Plains Road East, Burlington ON (A service of Light into Darkness, featuring the Responsories for Tenebrae by Healey Willan, and Allegri’s Miserere)
Saturday, March 25, 2017, 9:00 am. The Feast of the Annunciation, St. Anne’s Church (Roman Catholic), 11 Wilson Street, Ancaster ON
Sunday, October 16 2016, 4:00 pm: Evensong, St. Jude’s Anglican Church, Oakville.
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 5:00 pm. Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Our Lady of the Cataract, Niagara Fall NY.
Friday, May 13, 2016, 3:30 pm: The Feast of Saint Osmund. International Medieval Congress, Kanley Chapel, University of Western Michigan, Kalamazoo MI
Friday, March 25, 2016, 7:00 pm: Tenebrae, St. Matthew’s on the Plains, Burlington. (In English, with polyphony by Healey Willan and William Renwick).
Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 12:30 pm: The Feast of Saint Osmund. Convocation Hall, McMaster University.
January 6, 2016. The First Mass of Christmas, Christminster Orthodox Monastery, St. George’s Cathedral Church, Niagara Falls, NY.
Sunday, November 1, 2015, 4:00 p.m. Vespers for the Feast of All Saints, Saint Mark’s Church, Niagara on the Lake
April 25, 2015. Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Our Lady of the Cataract, Niagara Fall NY.
Friday, April 3, 2015. Sarum Tenebre, Holy Cross Church, Burlington
February 1, 2015. Sarum Procession and Mass for the Feast of the Purification, Grace Church, Hamilton.
January 6, 2014, First Mass of Christmas, Christminster Orthodox Monastery St. George’s Cathedral Church, Niagara Falls, New York.
Sunday, September 14, 2014. Vespers for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, St. Anne’s Church, Ancaster.
Friday, April 18, 2014. Sarum Tenebre, Holy Rosary Church, Burlington.
January 6, 2013, First Mass of Christmas, Christmnister Orthodox Monastery, St. George’s Cathedral Church, Niagara Falls, New York.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013. Treasures of English Chant, Convocation Hall, McMaster University.
Friday, March 29, 2013. Sarum Tenebre, Saint Patrick’s Church, Hamilton.
Friday, March 29, 2013, Passion According to St. John. Saint Patrick’s Church, Hamilton. (Polyphony by Victoria)
January 6, 2013, First Mass of Christmas. (Orthodox Calendar), Our Lady of Glastonbury Oratory, Hamilton.
November 2, 2012, Gregorian Requiem Mass for All Souls, St. Patrick’s Church, Hamilton.
Thursday, May 17, 2012 .Sarum Mass for the Feast of the Ascension. Grace Church, Hamilton.
Wednesday-Sunday, May 9-13, 2012, members of Hamilton Schola Cantorum sing selections from the Sarum, Beneventan, and Dominican liturgies for the Feast of the Ascension at the 47th Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo MI.
Friday, April 6, 2012. Tenebrae in English, Holy Rosary Church, Burlington. Music of the Sarum Rite with fauxbourdons by William Renwick and Responsories by Healey Willan.
Friday, January 6, 2012, First Mass of Christmas (Orthodox Calendar), Our Lady of Glastonbury Oratory.
Friday, November 18, 2011, Favourite Gregorian Chants. Special guests, the Rosewood Consort (recorders) Grace Church, Hamilton.
Sunday, November 13, 2011, 3:00 p.m. Favourite Gregorian Chants. Special guests, the Rosewood Consort (recorders) Holy Rosary Church, Burlington.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011, Gregorian Requiem Mass for All Souls St. Patrick’s Church, Hamilton.
Friday, April 22, 2011. Tenebre, St. Patrick’s Church, Hamilton. Music of the Sarum Rite with fauxbourdons by William Renwick and Responsories by Healey Willan.
Sunday, January 16, 2011, Missa de Angelis. Holy Rosary Church, Burlington.
Thursday, January 6, 2011, First Mass of Christmas (Orthodox Calendar) Our Lady of Glastonbury Oratory.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010, Music for the Feast of Thomas Becket, Grace Church, Hamilton.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010: All Souls Requiem, St. Patrick’s Church, Hamilton. Including the motet, Ecce quomodo moritur justus by Jacob Handl.
Sunday, October 24, 2010, Choral Evensong, St. George’s Church (Independent Anglican), Hamilton (Stoney Creek). Including Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Healey Willan, and the motet, I will lay me down in peace, also by Willan.
Sunday, August 8, 2010, Dedication, Choral Evensong, and Solemn Benediction, Pro-Cathedral of St. George the Martyr, Niagara Falls, NY. Including Stanford Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G, and Mozart Laudate Dominum.
Friday, June 25, 2010, Choral Evensong, St. Paul’s Church, Dunnville. As part of the 2010 Cranmer Conference.
May 13-16, 2010, Music for the Feast of Thomas Becket, 45th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI.
Friday, April 2, 2010: Tenebrae (in English) Holy Rosary Church, Burlington.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010, Procession and Mass for the Feast of the Purification (Sarum Rite), Grace Church, Hamilton,
Wednesday, January 6, 2010, First Mass of Christmas (Orthodox Calendar) at Our Lady of Glastonbury Oratory, Hamilton,
Monday, November 2, 2009: All Souls Requiem Mass, Saint Patrick’s Church, Hamilton.
Thursday, August 13, 2009, Opening Concert, Convocation Hall, McMaster University, Conference: ‘Traditions in Gregorian Chant’, sponsored by the Gregorian Institute of Canada and the School of the Arts, McMaster University.
Friday, May 22, 2009, Evensong, The Cranmer Conference, St. Paul’s Church, Dunville, Ontario.
Friday, April 10, 2009, Tenebrae (in English), Holy Rosary Church, Burlington.
Thursday, March 19, 2009, Mass for the Feast of St. Joseph, Queen of Angels Oratory, St Catharines, ON.
January 6, 2009, First Mass of Christmas (Orthodox Calendar), Our Lady of Glastonbury Oratory.
November 2, 2008, Concert with organist Stillman Mattheson, St. Lawrence Church, Hamilton, sponsored by the Royal School of Church Music.
The Hamilton Schola Cantorum performed a concert of Music from the Sarum Rite on November 12, 2013, at McMaster University.
Invitatory: Preoccupemus; Venite [7:08]
Officium: Dominus dixit [2:16]
Magnificat; Ant. Hodie Christus natus est [4:02]
Responsory Sancte Dei; Prose Te mundi climata [5:28]
Responsory: Gaude gaude gaude [2:48]
Miserere with fauxbourdons; Ant. O mors ero [5:17]
Kyrie with trope [3:20]
Graduale: Hec dies [3:31]
Sanctus, Mode V [1:23]
Agnus Dei, Mode IV [1:20]
Responsory: Libera me [2:31]
Ant. Salve regina with tropes [5:52]
Hymn: Lucis creator optime [2:50]
Nunc dimittis, Ant. Salva nos [2:18]
The music of today’s performance is taken from the Liturgy of the Church of Sarum (Salisbury), England, as sung from the 11th through the 16th centuries. It is a sampling of the approximately 10,000 pieces that comprise the Sarum repertoire, one of the most prominent rites in the western church, and a relative of the Roman and Dominican rites. The Sarum liturgical program included seven sung services plus mass every day, about eight hours of sung-worship each day. Sarum chant was originally sung entirely in Latin; in today’s performance some of the chant is sung in English translation. Although chant is normally sung purely in unison, today’s performance includes some examples of simple polyphony: drone, organum, and fauxbourdon. The music that you will hear appears in Dr. Renwick’s on-line edition The Sarum Rite (sarum-chant.ca).
The Invitatory is the first chant to be sung in the morning, beginning the office of Matins about an hour and a half before sunrise. The antiphon is sung by the full choir while the verses of Psalm 94 are sung by a soloist. This psalm thus sets the tone of praise for the day.
The Officium or Introit is the music that begins the Mass. Dominus dixit is the Officium for Midnight Mass of Christmas. The text is taken from Psalm 109.
The Magnificat is sung every day near the end of the Vespers. The antiphon Hodie Christus natus est is used for Vespers (Evensong) on Christmas day. It also appears in Benjamin Britten’s familiar Ceremony of Carols.
At the conclusion of Vespers on Christmas day there is a procession to the altar of Saint Stephen, whose feast is on the following day. During the procession the Responsory Sancte Dei is sung, together with the Prose, Te mundi climata. As the choir returns to the chancel, a responsory is be sung in honour of Saint Mary, patroness of the Church. Gaude gaude gaude, the responsory that appears at Candlemas, the very end of the Christmas season, is remarkable for the bell-like opening.
On Matins of Good Friday is sung the antiphon O mors ero mors tua, and Psalm 50. In this performance the choir will sing some verses in the simple polyphonic style known as “fauxbourdon”. At the end of Matins on Good Friday is sung a beautiful troped Kyrie, Domine miserere.
The Mass of Easter includes the highly ornate Gradual, Hec Dies, which is sung at the Gospel procession.
The Sanctus is sung near the beginning of the prayer of consecration. This particular Sanctus is an excellent example of the Lydian mode. The Agnus Dei is sung at the end of the prayer of consecration. This chant, in the Phrygian mode, is gentle and tender.
The responsory Libera me appears at the end of Matins in the Office of the Dead. It is the same text that Gabriel Fauré uses in his Requiem. You may notice at the beginning of the verse a quotation from the famous melody of the Dies irae, dies illa—but here the text is Dies illa, dies irae.
Salve regina was the most popular religious song of the middle ages. In this Sarum setting the antiphon is interspersed with rhymed and metered tropes which are like verses of a hymn.
Each of the services of the day has one hymn. Lucis creator optime, the hymn appointed for Sundays before Lent, takes its theme from the first day of creation: “Let there be light.” The text is attributed to Pope Gregory I, after whom “Gregorian chant” is named.
The Canticle Nunc dimittis comes near the conclusion of compline, the last service of the day. The Antiphon, Salva nos, is a prayer for protection through the night . . . until the day begins again with the Invitatory.
Hamilton Schola Cantorum, William Renwick, director.
Jeni Darling, Robin Ehlert, Mary Ellen Forsyth
Peter Goodrich, Paul Grimwood, Lara Housez
Peggy Janson, John Laing, Jonathan Marler
Susan McKay, William Oates, Islay-May Renwick
Invitatory Antiphon: Preoccupemus, Tone VII.i, with Psalm 94.
Officium: Dominus dixit, Mode II.
Magnificat, Tone I.iv. with Antiphon: Hodie Christus natus est.
My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.
Glory Be to the Father : and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.
This day Christ was born, this day hath a Saviour appeared : this day on earth Angels are singing, Archangels rejoicing : this day the righteous exult and say : Glory to God in the highest, alleluya.
Responsory: Sancte Dei, with Prose: Te mundi climata. Mode I.
Responsory: Gaude, gaude, gaude, Mode VI.
Joy with great rejoicing, O Virgin Mary : thou alone hast destroyed all heresies, who believedst that which was spoken of Gabriel, the Archangel. †As a Virgin thou broughtest forth God and man. ‡And after childing, thou remainedst a spotless Virgin. Verse. We know the Archangel Gabriel brought thee a message from heaven : we believe that thou wast found with child of the Holy Ghost. †As a Virgin, etc. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. ‡And after childing, etc.
Psalm 50, Tone IV.i. with Antiphon: O mors ero mors tua.
Kyrie eleyson with Trope: Domine miserere, Mode IV.
Gradual: Hec Dies, Mode II.
This is the day which the Lord hath made : we will rejoice and be glad in it. Verse. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious : because his mercy endureth for ever.
Sanctus , Tone V.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Agnus Dei, Mode III.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, grant us thy peace.
Responsory, Libera me Domine, Mode II.
Deliver me, O Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved. †When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.
Verse. That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness. †When thou shalt, etc.
Antiphon: Salve regina, with Trope: Virgo mater, Mode I.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve ; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us ; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Verse. Virgin Mother of the Church, gate of eternal glory, be for us a refuge before the Father and the Son.
Verse. Merciful Virgin, loving Virgin, sweet Virgin Mary, hear the cries of all calling devoutly unto thee.
Verse. Pour out prayers to thy Son, crucified, wounded, and scourged for us, pricked with spines, bearing gall.
Verse. O glorious Mother of God, in whose Son the Father appeareth, pray for us all who make a commemoration of thee.
Verse. Blot out the faults of the wretched, cleanse the filth of sins, grant to us by thy prayers the life of blessedness.
O sweet Virgin Mary.
Hymn: Lucis creator optime, Mode VIII.
Canticle: Nunc dimittis, with Antiphon: Salva nos, Tone III.iv.