The Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of St. Thomas is the new host to the Minnesota Compline Choir, an ecumenical group of men that have been singing together since 1992. The ensemble also has a new director: Aaron Brown, assistant director of chapel music in Campus Ministry and adjunct faculty member in the Music Department at St. Thomas.
Brown said, “I am very excited for this new partnership, joining together two communities that are very dear to me. I know that UST will be a warm home for the Minnesota Compline Choir, and I’m certain that members of the university community will find tranquility and peace during the compline service.”
Performances begin at 8:15 p.m. on the first and third Sundays of each month and are free and open to the public. The next performance is this Sunday, Oct. 4.
The compline service, or “prayer at the close of the day,” is an ancient tradition. “Compline” is the final office of daily prayer and is traditionally said each day just before retiring. The service derives its name from the Latin word for “completion” (completorium), with the earliest forms of the liturgy developed within the monastic communities of medieval Europe.
The service takes place in near darkness, void of processions as well as a sermon and offering, and is almost entirely music and short scripture readings. The result is an atmosphere of contemplation, peace and serenity. Though the congregation is invited to join in the confession of sins and the Lord’s Prayer, the service is intended to provide an opportunity for private prayer and reflection while the choir sings an elegant liturgy based on ancient Gregorian chant melodies.
St. Thomas will serve as the ensemble’s fourth home. The 18-member choir, who are selected via audition, first held residence at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. In 2005 they moved to Hamline United Methodist Church in St. Paul before heading to the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis in March 2010.