Choir sheet"Sed nomine tua da gloria"
Schola cantorum
 & The Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU

Some Schola members try out new (used)

What's Up with the Schola?

For the past few years, we haven't had a sufficient number of students interested in maintaining a weekly performing schola, but that doesn't mean we haven't been singing.

Song and chant are the musical cornerstones of our worship life. The prayer offices are all chanted using the venerable tones of the monastic tradition. Mass is sung too with intoned prayers and Eucharistic elements that most don't know can be chanted.

For the past two years, we've been blessed to have the brothers of ΕΣ Chapter of ΦΜΑ Sinfonia chant the Tenebrae office (a.k.a. "the Service of Shadows") on Holy Wednesday. Our Latin complines are still prayed at special times with ad hoc scholas forming for the services.

The future, however, is open. We'd love to see the reestablishment of a standing schola able to provide music for masses and special services, but "open" means open. This model can be restructured to meet the interests and availability of students, faculty, and staff. Let us know what you might be thinking.

In the meantime, enjoy the historical information here as a taste of what we have done and whetting of the appetite for what could be done in the future.

Schola practiceOrigin of the Schola cantorum

Early music has a place on the modern college campus! The Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU launched the Schola cantorum in Fall '05 to provide musical support for the weekly mass and selected other liturgies at the Chapel of Christ the King (a.k.a., the Lutheran Campus Chapel at WVU).  It provided a place for those with an interest in (or even passion for) early music to get together and make music. As such, the Schola cantorum committed itself to the reintroduction of early sacred music in its liturgical context on a modern college campus.

Founding director, Jonathan Neiderhiser, at the time, was a D.M.A. candidate in conducting in WVU's College of Creative Arts.  He has since completed his studies and is teaching in the Dakotas. He was named the Vogelsong Kapellmeister at the Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU, a position underwritten through a generous grant awarded in memory of The Rev. Fr. Edward Vogelsong by his family. Fr. Vogelsong was one of the "Five Vicars" who served the Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU prior to the calling of the first full-time campus pastor.

Getting Noticed

This one caught us by surprise.  Check out Gary Penkala's article, "A Curious Little Choir," on the CanticaNOVA Publications blog: (  The article was forwarded to us by Dr. Jonathan Neiderhiser.  CanticaNOVA Publications specializes in "new traditional music" for the Catholic church.  Samples of musical scores are available at

Compline BookThe Schola's Repertoire

The Schola cantorum has covered music from the earliest plainsong through the 1958 iteration of the 1888 Common Service. It's primary responsibility as a liturgical choir was the support of the mass at the Chapel of Christ the King. Consequently, the liturgical chants, especially of the third setting of the Lutheran Book of Worship (1977), were stock in trade. This liturgy, however, was lifted from the Swedish Massbook that itself was a collection of late Medieval Latin mass ordinaries. The mass propers have been sung from varies psalters, graduals, antiphoners, and the like.

When the full Latin mass was sung, the Novus ordo was used, employing the well-loved Orbis factor and propers for Judica. Another year, the De angelis ordinary was employed for the late-night mass.

The 1960 Breviary provided the material for Advent Latin vespers, and the full compline from that breviary has graced many of our Advents and Holy Weeks.

Moving beyond the plainsong, Neiderhiser began introducing Medieval and Renaissance polyphony, enriching our masses.

Riegel as MuhlenbergReformation Sunday has, since 2000, been an opportunity to explore the continuing reformation of worship in the Lutheran family. Luther's Deutsche Messe has been sung in both English and German. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg's colonial American mass has been sung. In fact, every Lutheran mass in the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, General Synod, and General Council traditions has been sung on the various Reformation Sundays and All Saints' Sundays throughout the last fifteen years. Many years, the Schola played the vital  role in helping the congregants through these beautiful, interesting, yet not always musically easy historic liturgies.

While the Latin mass and Deutsche Messe drew appreciative crowds, it was the Latin vespers that packed the chapel with roughly 120 in attendance. The next largest gathering filled the chapel in 2008 for the 50th anniversary of the Service Book and Hymnal, the last book in the ELCA Lutheran family to employ the Common Service. Lovingly referred to as "The Real Red Book," the 1958 Service Book and Hymnal featured some very pretty SATB harmonies in the liturgies and the hymns. Amongst the music, one finds examples of Anglican and Scottish chant as well as the periodic German harmonization. For a little extra fun, a 1958 dinner was held prior to the mass, featuring 1958 classics including Tang.

Are you an interested vocalist or instrumentalist?

As mentioned, we'd love to see the Schola singing and chanting again. So, who's ready to sing? Contact Chaplain Riegel ( or 304-680-5388) or, for those on facebook, join the Schola cantorum fbGroup.

Tenebrae ScholaA Quick Review

For the first several years, Schola members sang most Sunday masses at the Chapel of Christ the King, and also lent their expertise to special highlight services. Our highlight services have included the following.
  • In Spring '06, the Schola sang a full Latin mass, using the mass ordinary Orbis factor and the propers of Judica.
  • December 6, 2006, the Schola led the "St. Nicholas Vespers: A Latin Evening Prayer for Advent," an ecumenical worship service organized by interested Lutherans, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics.  Nearly 140 people attended the service in the Lutheran Campus Chapel.
  • As a Holy Week offering for the whole community, the Schola cantorum, prayed Latin Compline for Passiontide, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, April 2-4, 2007. These Latin liturgies provided our community a Gregorian chant experience, facilitated by a 45-minute session on the basics of Gregorian offered prior to each service.
  • Advent 2007 featured the return of Laitn compline on the three Fridays of Advent (December 7, 14, 21).  36, 36, and 21 attended.  Prior to the complines, an optional introduction to Gregorian chant was offered for interested members of the public.
  • Beginning with Lent 2008, the Schola sang the first setting of the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), last hymnal in ELCA Lutheranism to use 4-part vocal music as the basis of the liturgy, every Sunday night.  To pull this off, we started a second "section" of the Schola.  Over a dozen interested choristers, nearly all of them born ten years after the SBH was replaced, sang the liturgy throughout the rest of the semester.
  • The Schola Cantorum led three Complines for Passiontide on Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Holy Wednesday in 2008.
  • The SBH returned for Reformation Sunday and All Souls' Day 2008.
  • Advent Latin compline was offered in December of 2008.
  • Passiontide Latin compline was offered in April of 2009.
  • Advent Latin compline was offered in December of 2009.
  • A Latin compline on Quasimodo geniti was offered in 2010.
  • For Reformation Day and All Saints' Sunday 2010, the Schola led the assembly in Luther's Deutsche Messe.
  • "Putting the School Back in Schola" offered as part of Advent Latin compline in Decemeber 2010.
  • "Putting the School Back in Schola" reprized as part of Advent Latin compline in Decemeber 2011.
  • For Holy Wednesday 2014, plainsong Tenebrae was chanted by the Tenebrae schola formed by brothers of ΕΣ of ΦΜΑ Sinfonia.
  • For Holy Wednesday 2015, the brothers of ΕΣ of ΦΜΑ Sinfonia reprized Tenebrae.
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                (Orbis factor)