By Elena Dini
ROME — A well-known Roman choir dedicated to sacred and liturgical music, the Coro dei Fiorentini, will grace the Vespers service at The Lay Centre’s 2020 inaugural event, “Planting Seeds of Hope: Grassroots initiatives on creating a culture of dialogue” Feb. 20.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, will preside at the Vespers service that evening, and the choir will lead the congregation in prayerful song. The first hymn the choir will sing, “Song of God’s Wisdom,” was composed especially for The Lay Centre by Father Michael Joncas, a prominent American composer of English-language liturgical music.
The Coro dei Fiorentini was founded in 1997, “with the goal of preserving and keeping alive within religious celebrations the rich heritage of Church music,” according to the choir’s website. After some years of inactivity, the choir resumed last November and performed for the first time at the Basilica of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini Jan. 5.
Choir Director Maestro Mauro Bacherini said Feb. 20 will be the first time the choir sings for a Vespers service. The choir also had to learn new music for this event, as not all of it formed part of its repertoire, he continued.
“We usually sing during Masses or we do concerts,” he said. “But here it’s a different context. People gather for a short moment of prayer and we are happy to favor that through our voices.”
“The antiphon melodies are really beautiful and the psalmodic tone chosen for the psalms allows the whole community attending the event to join the prayer,” Maestro Bacherini continued. The choir will also sing the Magnificat and the “Iubilate Deo,” a song by Taizé.
The Coro dei Fiorentini also welcomed some Lay Centre scholars and friends to join them for this event, among them Loredana Fabijanic and Dr. Hilmar Pabel, who arrived recently as a visiting scholar at The Lay Centre.
“As St. Augustine says, to sing is to pray twice, and I wanted to help people living this moment through our voices, guiding them in the prayer,” said Fabijanic.
Fabijanic said the choir director “is really professional and knows how the choir needs to sing and sound when it comes to Gregorian chant style. The choir has a positive and cheerful energy.”
The choir will be accompanied by professional organist, Fabjola Lakaj.
Come and join us on Feb. 20 for the roundtable, Vespers, and the presentation of the new book, “Full, Conscious, and Active: Lay Participation in the Church’s Dialogue with the World.” Register here.
Photo: Seated at the keyboard, Maestro Mauro Bacherini leads his choir members during a rehearsal.
Photo credit: Luisa Salvatori