Schola Cantorum

Schola Cantorum at Christ Church

“The Christ Church Schola Cantorum… sings beautifully.” Fanfare, Jan/Feb 2010. Founded in 1997 by Stephen Kennedy, performs the Office of Compline at Christ Church Rochester NY, Sunday evenings, October through April. First Sunday Candlelight Concerts and Compline was named “…The coolest, most unusual music experience in the city…” in Rochester Magazine’s  “Our Top Picks of 2014.″

This acclaimed ensemble is also an early music laboratory through engagement of historic rehearsal and performance practices. The Schola specializes in Gregorian chant, Renaissance and Baroque choral music, and choral improvisation.  It has collaborated with Manfred Cordes and Weser-Renaissance Bremen, Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Players, and organists Edoardo Bellotti, Hans Davidsson, David Higgs, Olivier Latry, William Porter, Joris Verdin, and Harald Vogel. The Schola has been a favorite of festivals and concert series, especially at the annual international Eastman-Rochester Organ Initiative.  NPR’s “Pipe Dreams”, Minnesota Public Radio, and “With Heart and Voice” regularly broadcast tracks from the Schola’s CDs. With organists Edoardo Bellotti and Stephen Kennedy, the Schola & dual organs performed a “guided improvisation” accompaniment to Carl Dryer’s 1928 silent classic “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc” for Eastman’s 2014 EROI Festival and the University of Rochester’s interdisciplinary UCIS Cluster on Music and Film.  The “live soundtrack” made it a gut-wrenching, terrifying, heart-breaking event.  It left the audience in stunned silence, before breaking into rapturous ovation.

Rehearsals are Sundays 7:30 – 8:45 P.M., with Compline following at 9:00 – 9:30 P.M.  Schola Cantorum may be taken as a one-credit course.


Schola Members 2014-15

Mark Ballard, David Baskeyfield, Jacob Dassa, Bevin Flemming, Carl Galland, Naomi Gregory, Mark Helms, Aaron James, Jeremy Jelinek, Käthe Kaufman, Stephen Kennedy, Lydia Kirkpatrick, Robert Laird, Marc Laroussini, Chase Loomer, Thatcher Lyman, Sarah McConnell, Reagan McNameeKing, Honey Meconi, Amanda Mole, Chris Petit, Marko Pranic, Kyle Quarles, Gilad Rabinovitch, Owen Reid, Evan Ritter, Michael E Ruhling, Sarah Simko, Elizabeth Sharonov, Amy Steinberg, Sarah Toca, Allison Thorp, Madeleine Woodworth

  • Stephen Kennedy, director
  • Thatcher Lyman, assistant director
  • Christopher Huebner, assistant and librarian

Schola Compline

COMPLINE is sung by the Schola on Sunday evenings (October through April) at 9:00 P.M. at Christ Church, 141 East Avenue. Repertoire includes Gregorian Chant, and motets by Byrd, Gibbons, Lassus, Monteverdi, Palestrina, Parsons, Sheppard, Tallis, Tavener, Pärt and other notable composers.

ORGAN PRELUDES are played by Eastman faculty and students preceding Compline on all but the first Sunday of the month (information on Candlelight Concerts below).


Schola Reviews:

“The Christ Church Schola Cantorum… sings beautifully” Fanfare Magazine, Jan/Feb 2010, Colin Clarke.

“The recording is beautiful and I am glad to have been introduced to the Schola Cantorum and the work of Stephen Kennedy. The CD has been a joy to listen to…..terrific sound, wonderfully balanced with perfect pacing!” May 7, 2008, Steve Staruch, Host/Cultural Programming, Minnesota Public Radio

“It’s a triumph!… clearly a total success… the blending of voices results in a superb sonority. “Verleih uns Frieden” – Utterly serene and the perfect conclusion.” Wm. A. Little

“I was also invited to attend Compline last night which was probably one of the most moving experiences in my life. I’ve attended a few Compline services, but none were as rewarding as yours…. They (the Schola) were exquisite!” April 14, 2008, Dr. Craig Scott Symons, Director of Music/Organist, First United Methodist Church, Royal Oak, MI


Schola Recordings:

2004 Schola Debut Album Cover

The Schola’s 2004 debut recording has been re-issued for sale through Christ Church:

Proceeds benefit Christ Church. Originally distributed by Gothic Records, this recording has garnered considerable critical acclaim.  It features anthems and selections of service music from the Office of Compline as sung at Christ Church.

  1. Ave Maria, Robert Parsons
  2. Duo Seraphim,  Jacob Händl
  3. Ave Regina Caelorum, plainsong w/improvised organum
  4. Justorum animae, Orlando di Lasso
  5. Purge Me, O Lord, Thomas Tallis
  6. In manus tuas (Compline Responsory,) Thomas Tallis
  7. Te lucis ante terminum (Festal Tone,) Thomas Tallis
  8. Salve Regina, plainsong w/improvised organum
  9. Te lucis ante terminum (Ferial Tone,) Thomas Tallis 
  10. Sicut cervus, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
  11. Crucifixus, Antonio Lotti
  12. Deo gratias, William Byrd
  13. O Saving Victim, Zack Wadsworth
  14. Novum Pascha, Stephen Kennedy
  15. Song for Athene, Sir John Tavener

“The recording is beautiful and I am glad to have been introduced to the Schola Cantorum and the work of Stephen Kennedy.

The CD has been a joy to listen to…..terrific sound, wonderfully balanced with perfect pacing!”

Steve Staruch, Host/Cultural Programming, Minnesota Public Radio.

David Conte - Music for Chorus and Organ

David Conte: Music for Chorus and Organ

This exquisite recording was made at the request of the composer. Performances are by: the Christ Church Schola Cantorum, Stephen Kennedy, conductor; David Higgs, organ; Kathleen Bride, harp; Rochester Philharmonic Brass: Douglas Prosser & Wesley Nance, trumpet Mark Kellogg & Mark Salatino, trombone.

  1. Ave Maria
  2. O magnum mysterium
  3. The Snow Lay on the Ground
  4. Meditation on Silent Night for Solo Organ
  5. O Salutaris Hostia
  6. Tantum ergo
  7. Nunc dimittis
  8. Hosanna
  9. Recollection (Soliloquy II) for Solo Organ
  10. Prayer of Saint Theresa
  11. Psalm 121
  12. Valediction
  13. Antiphon for Brass Quartet and Organ
  14. Soliloquy for Solo Organ

Mendelssohn Rarities

“Mendelsson Rarities” is a collection of exquisitely crafted and rarely performed organ and choral music from the great prodigy of the early 19th century. The Christ Church Schola Cantorum, directed by Stephen Kennedy, sings both introspective and dramatic choral works that reveal Mendelssohn’s lineage to the contrapuntal tradition of the great masters such as Palestrina and J.S. Bach.

Mendelssohn’s organ works are illuminated by the captivating sounds of Eastman’s Craighead-Saunders reconstructed baroque pipe organ at Christ Church.  This organ sings with lively and evocative sounds that would have been familiar to the composer. Solo organ works are performed by faculty David Higgs, Hans Davidsson, William Porter, and Stephen Kennedy, as well as several current organ students and recent alumni. Liner notes by Eastman’s former Visiting Professor of Musicology, Wm. A. Little.

  1. MWV W44 Allegro moderato maestoso (March) in C major
  2. MWV W15 Andante con moto in G minor
  3. MWV W28 Pr„ludium in C minor
  4. Op. 79: Spruch No. 
5. Im Advent, MWV B54 Sechs Sprche
  5. Op. 79: Spruch No. 1. Weihnachten, MWV B42 Sechs Sprche
  6. Op. 79: Spruch No. 2. Am Neujahrstage, MWV B44 Sechs Sprche
  7. Op. 79: Spruch No. 4. In der Passionszeit, MWV B50 Sechs Sprche
  8. Op. 79: Spruch No. 6. Am Charfreitage, MWV B52 Sechs Sprche
  9. Op. 79: Spruch No. 3. Am Himmelfahrstage, MWV B55 Sechs Sprche
  10. MWV W2 Pr„ludium in D minor
  11. MWV W47 Allegro in B flat major
  12. MWV W30 Andante in F major
  13. MWV W32 Andante (with Variations) in D major
  14. MWV B20: 1. Choral. Aus tiefer Noth Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir (Op. 23. No.1)
  15. MWV B20: 2. Fuga. Aus tiefer Noth Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir (Op. 23. No.1)
  16. MWV B20: 3. Aria. Bei dir gilt nichts den Gnad und Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir (Op. 23. No.1)
  17. MWV B20: 4. Choral. Und ob es w„hrt bis in die Nac Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir (Op. 23. No.1)
  18. MWV B20: 5. Choral. Ob bei uns ist der Snden viel Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir (Op. 23. No.1)
  19. MWV W12 Nachspiel in D major
  20. Sanft in D major, MWV W6 Andante
  21. MWV W33 Allegro (Choral and Fugue) in D minor/major 
22. MWV A11 Verleih uns Frieden

“It’s a triumph!… clearly a total success… the blending of voices results in a superb sonority. “Verleih uns Frieden” – Utterly serene and the perfect conclusion.” Wm. A. Little


Schola Concerts

Saturday, October 25 at 8:00 P.M
Joan of Arc
1928 silent film classic
7:30 P.M. Pre Performance Talk by Professor Timothy Scheie

Carl Theodor Dryer’s 1928 silent classic La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc. Live improvised accompaniment by the Christ Church Schola Cantorum, with Stephen Kennedy and Edoardo Bellotti on the Craighead-Saunders Organ and the Hook & Hastings Organ.  This is a featured concert for Eastman’s annual EROI Festival.

Organ and Film Festival Event Poster



Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 7:30 P.M.
Third Thursday Concerts with the Italian Baroque Organ featuring the Schola Cantorum
English 16c/17c music: Gibbons, Parsons, Purcell, Tallis with organ, instruments


Candlelight Concerts


Concerts preceding Compline on the first Sunday of the month.  A reception follows Compline on these first Sundays.

Sunday, October 5
8:30-8:55 P.M.
Elinor Freer & David Ying, works for Cello and Piano

Sunday, November 2
8:30-8:55 P.M.
Käthe Wright Kaufman, organist
Music of Bach, Buxtehude, Karg-Elert, and Sweelinck

Sunday, December 7
8:30-8:55 P.M.
David Baskeyfield, plays Eastman’s Craighead-Saunders Baroque, and the Hook & Hastings Romantic Organs 

Sunday, January 4 2015 (this event replaces the Candlelight Concert)
7:00 – 8:00 P.M.
12th Night Celebration: Christ Church Choir, David Higgs & Stephen Kennedy, organists 

Sunday, February 8
7:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Robert Poovey, plays a program of American Music on the Historic Hook & Hastings American Romantic Organ 

Sunday, March 1
8:30-8:55 P.M.
Baroque String Duos, Boel Gidholm & Chrisopher Haritatos 

Sunday, April 5
8:30-8:55 P.M.
VanDelinder Fellows: Jeremy Jelinek, Chase Loomer, Käthe Wright Kaufman play Eastman’s Craighead-Saunders Baroque, and the Hook & Hastings Romantic Organs


Schola Links