Schola Cantorum of Eau Claire

a choir of early music

Schola Cantorum of Eau Claire is a 12-voice choir in the Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley area dedicated to the a cappella vocal music of the medieval, renaissance, and baroque.

Schola Cantorum of Eau Claire Presents Music of the Counter-Reformation

Eau Claire, Wis.--Schola Cantorum of Eau Claire will perform at St. Joseph’s Church in Menomonie on Friday, December 8, at 7:00pm; and again on Sunday, December 10, at 2:00pm at St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Eau Claire. The concert, “By the Grace: Music during the Council of Trent”, presents music from Rome around the time of the Council of Trent, a council convened in reaction to the Protestant Reformation.

Over the course of 18 years, the Council of Trent (1545-1563) made many changes in the structure and practices of the Catholic Church. One of these changes included a simplification of the music used during the mass. To illustrate and contrast these changes, the concert will present music from before and during the council, with chants and choral works by Josquin Deprez, Jacobus de Kerle, Giovanna da Palestrina, and Vincenzo Ruffo.

The centerpiece of the concert is the Pope Marcellus Mass (Missa Papae Marcelli) by Italian composer Giovanna Pierluigi da Palestrina. Finished in 1562, it demonstrates a new direction of sacred music that strives to present the text in simpler and easy-to-hear rhythm, while preserving the complex beauty of polyphony — then well-developed musical style where multiple independent melodies are woven together.

The concert will also feature one piece from Preces Speciales, a set of musical prayers composed by Jacobus de Kerle in 1562, specifically commissioned by the Council of Trent. The text of these prayers borrow texts from the scripture, which are expanded with contemporary words that speak of the hope of reconciliation and unification amongst various denominations.

Both concerts are sponsored by the hosting churches, and are open to the general public for free; donations are welcome.

For more information about the concert and the ensemble, please visit the website of Schola Cantorum at, or its Facebook page at

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Background image: Initial from an Italian Antiphonal, ca.1500.