The St. Cecilia Academy, an educational program ran by St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, turned out its first graduates in November.
The academy trains parish musicians in the history, theology and pastoral principles of liturgy and sacred music. Those supported by their parishes get a 50 percent tuition discount.
Musicians take four master’s-level courses to qualify for graduation: introduction to liturgy; liturgical music – history of sacred music, principles of sacred music, liturgical music planning – liturgical year/art and environment in worship; and principles of chant – theory and practicum.
“The St. Cecilia Academy matched all of my expectations. It gave me a confidence to know that I now have the basic knowledge, tools, and the resources I need to do my job,” said Shana Mahoney, music director of St. Barnabas parish, the Bronx.
“As professional musicians, we receive top level training at music universities and conservatories, but very little official training that prepares us for the opportunities that many musicians encounter in the church – i.e., ‘church jobs,’” Mahoney added. “This is the program that fills that gap.”