[Episcopal News Service]
“Chanting with an intention to open our hearts and minds to the presence of God in us, helps us to be quiet in the face of mystery and learn how to hear what it has to say to us,” said Ana Hernández, composer, arranger, performer of sacred music, and 2004 EDS honorary degree recipient.
Hernández, who will lead the music workshop, entitled “The Sacred Art of Chant,” March 18, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts said, “It may seem paradoxical that chanting leads to deep listening, but God’s funny that way.”
She designed the workshop to concentrate on the art of chant in order to rediscover God with and in our voices; listen deeply and bask in the presence that unites us all; explore sacred chant to heal ourselves and the world; experience the ways sound touches spirit; learn how sound enhances mental and physical well-being; and reflect on sounds that open (and close) our hearts.
Hernández, describes chanting as holistic. She has used chanting as her “main spiritual discipline for about a dozen years” and dispels the belief that you must be able to sing in order to chant.
“It is not necessary to be able to sing in order to chant. Even if you are one of those people that have been told repeatedly that you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, it’s not true,” she insists. “You already have everything you need to chant. One of my workshop flyers stresses the fact that if you can hum, you can come, and I mean it.”
A writer of chants and hymns, Hernández has been published in the “Voices Found Hymnal” and “Enriching Our Music,” volumes 1 and 2.” She recently published a book entitled “The Sacred Art of Chant: Preparing to Practice,” and for more than a decade has led workshops on the uses of sacred sound and rhythm in prayer.
“Chanting is a great tool for helping people to find their voice, cultivate clarity, compassion and focus, improve listening skills and receptivity to other people…seminarians and clergy need to learn these things just like the rest of us, and many have found chanting to be a very supportive and direct connection to the holy,” she explained.
To register for this free workshop of singing, deep listening, and fun prayer, email Pat Michaels at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit http://www.eds.edu for more information.
Note: The following title is available from the Episcopal Book and Resource Center, 800.903.5544; http://www.episcopalbookstore.org/
To Read: THE SACRED ART OF CHANT: Preparing to Practice by Ana Hernández (Woodstock, Vermont: Skylights Paths Publishing, 2005; 162 pages; $15.99.)
From the publisher: The Sacred Art of Chant invites you to use your own voice to create sacred sounds—no matter your religious background or vocal ability. Drawing on chants from several different faith traditions, this invigorating guidebook is ideal for anyone who wants to enliven their prayer experience in a unique way and navigate a path to a conscious relationship with God. Chant isn’t just about monks or ancient Hindu gurus—this dynamic spiritual art continues to be developed and practiced today. Like other spiritual disciplines, chant can lead to limitless and unexpected benefits.
Ana Hernández is a composer, arranger, and performer of sacred music. She is also a member of the recording group HARC. For more than a decade, she has conducted workshops that encourage people to explore the effects of rhythm and chant on their bodies. For more information visit http://www.anahermusic.com/