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CJ Replay: Starting a Collegium Musicum

(An excerpt from the Choral Journal article, “Organizing a Colleguim Musicum,” by Gordon Sanford [p.26])
 
       In organizing a collegium the first thing to determine what music you might expect to perform. Most modern collegia perform music composed before 1750, including a repertoire not normally explored by traditional groups within their school. Other collegia limit themselves to music suitable for the instruments in their collections or to music of special personal interest.
       Choral directors might do wel1 to start with Jannequin chansons or Dowland madrigals.  Church choir directors could begin with Buxtehude cantatas or Hassler motets.  Elementary school music teachers might find empathy with Carl Orit's example of employing early instruments to create 20th-century music. Whatever one's preference might be, an important first step for the collegium organizer is to establish at least roughly what the musical limits will likely be.
       The next logical step would be' to determine a model for the proposed group. The model could be an historical example (perhaps from an art work picturing musical performers) or it could be a contemporary ensemble (a professional ensemble, perhaps). The New York Pro Musica, for example, uses six singers and six instrumentalists. Alfred Deller used about the same. The Cappella Antiqua München normally records with three singers per vocal line.  There are almost limitless combinations. One can get a reasonable idea of what is possible by examining record jackets where size and composition of performing groups are customarily listed for early music.