About the Scholas
Schola Ministries keeps alive the ancient Christian tradition of the schola cantorum – those choirs or “schools of singers” who for centuries have breathed life into worship with their vibrant song. Schola musicians bear this inspiration into a new time and fresh musical idiom in service of the anima, a Latin word which holds the rich meanings of life-force, breath, spirit, soul.
Over the four decades of Kathleen’s musical ministry, several “scholas” have performed and presented her music in a variety of styles and voices, in liturgical service, in concert performances, in retreat settings and in recordings.
Congregation of Notre Dame Schola
Since 1966, the Congregation of Notre Dame has been the first and lasting home of Kathleen’s song. A religious community founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys, the sisters and associates of the Congregation have at the heart of their spiritual lives a powerful song, ‘the Magnificat’ – Mary’s great canticle of praise, which is the keynote of their lives of mission. In 1979 a CND Schola recorded a collection of Kathleen’s songs in an album called “Ave: Songs of the Congregation of Notre Dame,” remastered and reproduced in 2009 as “Ave”.
Sacred Heart University Schola
In 1968 Kathleen met her musical soul mate, Evelyn Avoglia, while both were undergraduates at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.
As musicians of SHU Campus Ministry and in collaboration with Chaplain Father John Giuliani, Kathleen and Ev created a repertoire of new songs for worship and prayer that gave voice to the vitality of the liturgical renewal of The Second Vatican Council.
With musical companions Gina Sader-Rubenstein and Mary Liguori, the Sacred Heart Schola produced the first recordings of Kathleen’s and Evelyn’s music which showcase the novelty and freshness of two gifted young composers who have made a unique contribution to a contemporary music of praise that echoes in a new voice the lyric poetry of the psalms: “An Offering of Songs: Hearts that Seek the Lord” (remastered as “The Servant’s Heart”), and “Of Thanks and Wonder”.
From 1975 to the present Kathleen has been leader of song and composer in residence at the Benedictine Grange, a vibrant Christian worship community in West Redding, Connecticut founded and directed by Father john Giuliani. Over the years many fine musicians have offered their gift in the Grange Schola with this core ensemble: Beth Bradley, Kathleen Deignan CND, Gregory Hauck, Marion Najamy, Gina Sader-Rubenstein, and Greta Sibley.
For decades they have been developing a sound and style that is unique in the world of contemporary sacred music. Offering a variety of musical gifts, they interweave the evocative sounds of Native American flute, recorder, medieval psaltry, acoustic guitar, African rattles and tambourines, with the intensity of Middle Eastern percussion. Expressing the Celtic lyricism and fluidity of Deignan’s soulful songs in rich multi-layered vocal harmonization, they create a sound at once celestial and earthy, contemplative and ecstatic. Their signature sound is heard on recordings “Sabbath: Songs for Worship” and “Stations: Songs for the Paschal Journey”.
Anima Schola – “musicians of the spirit” – is a sacred concert and recording ensemble whose principal members are liturgical musicians in residence at the Benedictine Grange, in West Redding, Connecticut.
This evolving consort has recently included guest artists, pianist Rob Silvan, flutist John Ragusa, Irish whistle and Uilleann piper Jerry O’Sullivan, violinist/fiddler Dana Lin, percussionist Bob Leonard, bass player Don Wallace, and always the magical sound recording engineer Paul Avgerinos of Studio Unicorn. Their latest album is ‘The Gift: Songs of the Grateful Heart’.