Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 13 April |
Saint of the Day: Pope St. Martin I
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

WATCH: How an American Brought Monastic Chant Back to Norcia and the World

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 05/12/16

The Italian town of Norcia is finally filled with chant again, and its monks are musical superstars

In 1810, the Gregorian chant that filled the town and valley of Norcia, Italy, stopped. Under the new Napoleonic Code, the Benedictine monks there could no longer broadcast religious music, and so the 9th century basilica in the town’s center went silent.

After several hundred years, however, an American from Connecticut named Cassian Folsom brought chant back to this historically sacred spot. Folsom’s passion was music and he had studied at the Indiana School of Music. While he was there, he had a religious conversion and was drawn to the monastery. Since prayer at the monastery is always sung,  Folsom’s music training came in handy. When he arrived in Norcia in 2000, Folsom formed a choir with two other monks. The choir grew to 16 monks, half of whom are Americans. After sharing recordings of their traditional Gregorian chant with friends, the monks were surprised to be approached by a record label with a proposal to make an album. Initially reluctant, they eventually agreed, and Benedicta by the Monks of Norcia hit number one on the classical Billboard chart.

“There is something in the music that attracts people, across a huge spectrum,” says Folsom in this video of the choir’s story, produced by CBS News.

Tags:
Sacred Music
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
PRINCE PHILIP
Cerith Gardiner
11 Interesting facts about the late Prince Philip
2
JESUS
Fr Robert McTeigue, SJ
A simple test to see if you really believe Christ is risen
3
Archbishop Georg Gänswein
I.Media for Aleteia
Gänswein: Benedict XVI expected to live only a few months after r...
4
SAINT FAUSTINA,CELL
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
St. Faustina’s coffee cup and lessons for Divine Mercy Sund...
5
DIVINE MERCY
Aleteia
Here’s how to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday at home
6
Philip Kosloski
Why you can eat meat on Easter Friday
7
Sister Bhagya
Saji Thomas-ACN
Catholic nun faces conversion charges in central India
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.