The Basilica’s most solemn weekly liturgy, the celebration of the 10:45 am Sunday Mass attempts to best reflect of the tradition of the Roman church through its adherence to liturgical documents and, more importantly, its deference to the Tradition of Holy Mother Church. Music for this Mass is provided by the Schola Cantorum, which sings the Gregorian Introit and Communion antiphons of the day and motets and polyphonic Mass settings from the canon of Roman Catholic art music. During choral recess from Corpus Christi to Assumption, a cantor sings this Mass. Care is taken to choose music that reflects the scriptural texts from the lectionary and Roman Gradual for each Sunday and Feast, and Latin, the language of the Church, is the primary language sung during this Mass.
The 8:00 am Mass has many sung elements of the liturgy, including the Ordinary and the major antiphons of the Proper of the day. The Ordinary is sung in either Latin or English (depending on the season), and Processional, Offertory, and Recessional hymns are sung. The Communion antiphon is sung in English.
The 5:30 pm Vigil Mass is entirely spoken (except for the Gospel Acclamation, which is sung). The organ is used during the Procession, Offertory, and Communion, and for Preludes and Postludes all weeks outside of Advent and Lent.
The premier choir of the Basilica, the Schola Cantorum consists of 6 professional singers that sing mainly for the 10:45 am Sunday Mass from Assumption to Corpus Christi. This ensemble sings choral repertoire from the entire canon of Roman Catholic Church art music, from late-Medieval repertoire up to music of the present day, in addition to the major Gregorian chant Proper antiphons (Introit, Offertory, and Communion) for each Mass. In addition to the 10:45 am Sunday Mass, the Schola Cantorum sings for Masses on Holy Days of Obligation and other solemn liturgical occasions during the choral season. Auditions for the Schola substitute list can be scheduled with the music director (email@example.com) at any time throughout the year.
An ensemble made up entirely of female singers, the Women’s Schola sings for First Saturday Mass. They sing from Assumption through Corpus Christi and they rehearse on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:45 pm. A brief audition is required. Interested individuals should contact the music director (firstname.lastname@example.org).
An ensemble made up entirely of male singers, the Men’s Choir sings for First Wednesday Mass. The group sings from Assumption through Corpus Christi and rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 8 to 9:15 pm. A brief audition is required. Interested individuals should contact the music director (email@example.com).
Samuel Rowe is the Director of Music at the Basilica, a position that he has held since February of 2020. In addition to his work here at the Basilica, he is the choir director at St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington, D.C. He also recently served as Assistant Organist at the Church of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Fredericksburg, VA. Prior to relocating to the Baltimore-DC area, Mr. Rowe was an active freelance keyboardist and conductor in the New York City/Northern New Jersey area, where he accompanied and directed several choirs throughout the region, and, as a ballet pianist, served for three years as a staff accompanist for the Cecchetti International Summer School in Holland, MI. He was the pianist for the Newark Boys Chorus in Newark, NJ, from 2017 to 2019, a group with whom he performed across the country and internationally on a concert tour of Argentina and Chile in the Spring of 2019. Originally from Maine, Mr. Rowe received his Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey in 2016 and his Master’s of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 2021. His organ teachers have included Renée Anne Louprette, Ronald Stolk, and Ray Cornils. His conducting studies were primarily with Timothy McDonnell.