Full-length concert of chants from 16th Century manuscript to be performed

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VESTAL, NY – A choir of highly-trained singers is preparing a full-length concert of chants from a 16th Century manuscript.

The Gradual of La Crocetta was purchased by Binghamton University two years ago to assist in research of the Gregorian chants and other religious music of the early 1500s.

It was used by nuns at the La Crocetta convent in Florence, Italy to sing daily mass and vesper services.

At the time, a public performance of selections from the manuscript was planned for March 2020, but the pandemic forced its postponement until now.

Southern Tier Singers’ Collective Artistic Director William Culverhouse says his group is ready to bring the historical text to life.

“These are familiar chants in many cases but in slightly different renditions than people are used to. That makes our performance of this music unique because it’s unique to this particular manuscript and that’s very exciting,” he says.

A small group of female singers from the collective performed a Mass for Christmas Day when the manuscript was first introduced at BU’s Special Collections Department.

The upcoming concert will feature about twenty singers both male and female.

Associate Professor of Musicology Paul Schleuse oversaw the acquisition of the manuscript.

“The fact that the initial letters are decorated and painted, sometimes decorated with gold as well as inks and paints, suggests that one of the purposes of this manuscript was to be on display,” says Schleuse.

And the manuscript will once again be on display for the public before and after the concert.

It takes place Sunday November 14th at 7:30 PM inside Saint Patrick’s Church on Leroy Street in Binghamton.

Schleuse will also provides an opening talk on what the audience is to hear.

The program is free but donations will be accepted.

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