Friday, 21 August 2015

15 years of SCJ as seen by Mro Attard

by Mro Stephen Attard

stephen attard'Librat et evolat' - a motto, coined by the old Romans. In simple English it means "poised and soaring", an apt description of the 'restrained assertiveness' which affectionately but succinctly characterises the people of Xagħra. But alas! It is a world - known fact that due to the Neolithic Temples at Ggantija, the village of Xagħra goes much and much more back in time than the Graeco-Roman Era.

But how does all this relate to Schola Cantorum Jubilate? I have known Marouska, Stefan, Silvana et al since the inception of the choir, 15 years ago and I think the sense of restrained assertiveness is palpable in the choir and its members, at least in the following ways:
- youthful verve, so typical of the choir members, is seasoned with an overall sense of discipline;
- the zest for life, evident in all the youth members of the choir, is transcended by a yearning for the afterlife;
- an acute propensity for musical precision is supplemented with an opening for a philanthropic dimension (Carols by Candlelight is a classic example)
- an elitist yardstick, culturally  speaking is balanced with an admirable inclusive policy of the choir.

Yes, "librat et evolat" : 'poised and soaring'. But besides that, SCJ in these 15 years  has also proved to be  a stoic "vox clamantis in deserto". Fifteen years of hard work, 15 years of trying to overcome the obstacles facing other-than-worldly-oriented NGO's, 15 years of running daily the nitty-gritty of a cultural enterprise that must assert itself as a cultural reality, 15 years of dreams but also of challenges, 15 years of successes and setbacks, 15 years of flowing poetry and astringent prose. SCJ : a voice in the desert; posed and soaring.

Thank-you Marouska, thank-you Stefan, thank-you Silvana, thank-you yo all the others; thank-you to all past and present members of the choir (and to their supportive parents!)

And now... look forward and give us more: more notes, more chants, more concerts, more adorning of the liturgy, more music, more "gaudium de veritate" (St Augustine), more manifestations of the sublime and the eternal. Gozo needs your testimony; the lush, undulating fields stretching from Bullara to Gajdoru, from il-Qortin to Ġgantija, from "ħdejn Sant'Anton" right to "in-Nazzarenu" want to continue echoing the "sound of music" in a way not dissimilar from the Austrian Von Trapp's (incidentally SCJ have sung in Austria in 2009).

Finally, may I safely assert that SCJ in not a choir that sings music, but SCJ is music, whether it is Marouska's dynamic direction, the members' verve, the organising back-benchers helped by the parents, (I feel I should also refer to the members' grand-parents for their incessant prayers. How can one ever forget benign Nanna Gilla?!), the choir's dainty robes and trendy T-shirts, Karen’s consistent efforts to provide the music sheets, the eclectic repertoire chosen for performance and the solemn "austeritas" of the weekly Mass at Xagħra Basilica, and more...lots more...

Yes, SCJ play on...!

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