Top 10 Learning Moments
- The joy we see in the audience is the reason for doing our job. It’s an amazing thing to be able to share such great music, to be able to bring carols old and new, and, for the students, to have that experience of presenting something special for an audience every single year. – Desmond Earley
- Working with living composers allows a musician to journey to something new and ensures that one is always open to the gift of a new musical perspective.
- Creating music is more than writing lyrics and harmonies, it is about infusing meaning for both the listener and the performer.
- Christmas music provides a unique opportunity because of the Nativity and redemption imagery that can be employed and the importance that it holds for its listeners.
- Fairy tales don’t have to communicate conformity to one happily ever after, the dialogue can be expanded to encourage us to seek the ending that we choose.
- We all have different viewpoints on a story, displaying how complex and multi-layered they can be, offering different meanings to each reader.
- It’s about looking at something and respecting the fact that it has stood the test of time and thinking about how I can engage with this wonderful thing and how can I add to this conversation. — Betsy Cornwell
- Classic stories are important to the rhythm of human life because they reflect the human experience that we all share.
- Jazz is emerging as a sacred form of song and can be used to foster a deeper relationship with God.
- Ancient Gregorian Chant is a treasured, sacred art form, but adding new melodies allows for a new perspective on them and the creation of a new sound.
Interested in learning more?
This series is hosted by ThinkND, the University of Notre Dame’s online learning community that connects you with videos, podcasts, articles, courses, and other resources to inspire minds and spark conversations on everything from faith and politics to science, technology, and your career.
Desmond Earley, Artistic Director of the Choral Scholars, University College Dublin
Ivo Antognini, Composer, Choral Scholars
Lisa Caulfield, Director of the Notre Dame Global Center at Kylemore Abbey, University of Notre Dame
Betsy Cornwell ’12 M.F.A., NYT Bestselling Author
Mark Doerries, Director of the Notre Dame Children’s Choir and Director of Graduate Studies for Sacred Music, University of Notre Dame
J.J. Wright, Jazz Pianist and the Director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir, University of Notre Dame
Watch Series Extras
Enjoy three cozy Christmas drink recipes and decadent holiday cooking videos straight from the Kylemore Global Centre’s kitchen with Chef David Harrison!
“Be All Merry”: A Collaborative Christmas Album
Artistic Director of the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, Dr. Desmond Earley will be joined by Swiss composer Ivo Antognini to discuss their recent collaborative projects. Choral Scholars and Earley recently released their third album titled “Be All Merry” on the Signum Classics label. Recorded days before the lockdown in March 2020 when the outbreak of COVID-19 transformed the world as we know it, this album includes three new pieces written for the Choral Scholars as well as arrangements of traditional Irish, Scottish, and English carols and a number of American songs.
“O Emmanuel” by J.J. Wright ’14 M.S.M., ’17 D.M.A.
Below are tracks from the album, “O Emmanuel” by J.J. Wright ’14 M.S.M., ’17 D.M.A. and performed by the Notre Dame Children’s Choir. “O Emmanuel” is a jazz cantata for chamber orchestra, jazz trio (piano, bass, drums), children’s choir, and soloists. The work sets the O Antiphons, the final seven Magnificat antiphons of Advent, intertwining Gregorian chant, classical Advent carols, jazz music, aleatoric soundscapes, and adult and child soloists. “O Emmanuel” was commissioned by the Notre Dame Children’s Choir in 2015, and the recording debuted at #1 on the Billboards Chart of Traditional Classical Music in November of 2016 and remained there for more than seven weeks. The expansive composition fuses the historical sacred musical traditions of the Catholic Church with jazz, a musical idiom long believed to be outside the realm of sacred music.