Singing Tradition In The Church
The Christian faithful who gather together as one to await the Lord’s coming are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing together psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Singing is the sign of the heart’s joy (Ephesians 5:19). There is also the ancient Latin proverb “Que Bene Cantat Bis Orat” (One who sings well prays twice). Popular sources for this quote attribute it to St. Augustine of Hippo – Bishop and poet of the Church.
Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass. It is also important to pay due consideration to the culture of the people to correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful. This is especially true in a multi-cultural Archdiocese such as Medan, which is composed of people of various tribes such as Batak Toba, Simalungun, Karo, Phak-pak, Melayu, Minang, Nias and other cultures from the Indonesian archipelago.
The choir services for the Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni are performed by the Ave Verum KAM choir and the Congregation of St. Joseph Postulant Sisters.
Ave Verum KAM Choir Group
The Ave Verum Choir group of the Archdiocese of Medan (KAM) performs regularly in the Graha Maria especially during the major feasts of the Catholic calendar. They perform local Catholic liturgical songs with a special focus on Spiritual Inculturation.
The Ave Verum choir group was born due to the need for a choir group to sing new liturgical songs created in 1986 music workshop by the cooperative effort of the Archdiocese of Medan and Liturgy Music Center, Yogyakarta (PML) to socialize the songs to the people of the Archdiocese of Medan at that time. As a result, Father Frietz R Tambunan, Pr gathered young Catholics who had talents for singing, and on 2 December, 1987 officially formed the group with the name AVE VERUM which means “Greetings of Truth”, the truth which means Jesus himself. The first training ground for the choir was the Parish Church of St. Antonius Jl. Hayam Wuruk, Medan.
The mission of Ave Verum KAM choir group is to proclaim the greetings of truth through the strains of Catholic liturgical songs, especially on Inculturation. The musical instruments of cymbal and harp symbolizes the message “Sing to the Lord, play the harp with the Melody. Speak the truth in the bond of love and the spirit of unity”.
The Ave Verum KAM group is now 30 years old and times have changed, but it is still faithful and enduring with their original mission. The Choir group supports itself and operates on meager resources without any funding support from anywhere. Its work is only made possible because of dedicated individuals with a calling to serve the Lord and are prepared to commit their talent and time. Most of the members of the choir are university students.
Ave Verum has a secretariat at the Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni shrine complex. The leader of the group is Zuiderzie R. H Sitohang.
The Ave Verum KAM Choir Group operates a Youtube channel to showcase their work. Click on the link below to watch them.
Choir By Postulant Sisters of St. Joseph Congregation
Since 1931, Sisters from the Congregation of St. Joseph (KSSY) have always been an integral part of the Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni which has its origin in the Parish Church of St. Antonius Jl. Hayam Wuruk, Medan.
Before a Postulant can be accepted as a Novitiate in the KSSY she is required to undergo various training to be creative in many ways. One of them in singing. Postulant coaches train and teach them how to sing properly. This is certainly not an easy task, as the postulants come from different backgrounds, ethnicity, culture, characters and vocal ability.
KSSY’s postulancy, is not a formal choir group, but a group of girls who want to become nuns in the Congregation of St. Joseph, Medan. KSSY postulants often participate to assist liturgy at Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni whenever needed and often contribute songs that they have prepared in the form of a choir.
The Postulants stay in the KSSY Postulate, Jl. Bougenvile dalam Tanjung Sari, Medan Selayang. It is just a short distance from the Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni.