P O W E L L, W y o. - The Saturday night mass on April 19 at St. Barbara's Catholic Church will be delivered as it was centuries ago - in Latin through song. Palestrina's "Missa Brevis" will be offered by the Northwest College Choir beginning at 5:15 p.m. "Because the Christian church is so influential in the history of western music, we sing a lot of sacred settings," Jan Kliewer, the choir director, said. "Some of the finest musical art ever written is in the form of sacred music and settings from masses. Unfortunately, our students never experience this music in the context for which it was intended."
Kliewer said, "It's been wonderful working with Father Glen to give students an opportunity to contextualize this work by singing it in a church as it was meant to be delivered." It will be a little like stepping back in time to hear what the mass sounded like before Vatican II in the 1960s, when the text was changed from Latin.
"I feel strongly the need to work cooperatively in partnership with area clergy so that this enduring form of music can be given life in the manner for which it was written," Kliewer said. The 40-voice NWC Choir will deliver Palestrina's famous work in the traditional polyphonic setting, just the way a scola (singing school or choir) would have in 16th century Europe. The attendants at the Saturday night mass will hear the ordinary or enduring component, Kliewer said, but not the proper component, which changes with the seasons.
"I think the older members of the congregation might enjoy this the most because it will sound familiar," Kliewer added, although he said there seems to be a growing trend in the United States to rekindle an interest in the old ritual and Latin text.
St. Barbara's Catholic Church is located at 115 E. Third St. in Powell.