St. Cecilia Brigade – Choir & Schola

Click here to download and print this webpage in .pdf.

St. Cecilia Brigade is comprised of the Pilgrimage’s choir, schola, and support-teams. It is open to any pilgrim with singing experience in a choir or schola (children only with permission of the music director), and other pilgrims who assist the brigade.

The brigade sings for the three principal pilgrims’ Masses on pilgrimage, as well as praying parts of the Divine Office along the way.

St. Cecilia Brigade, 2022 | Photo credit: Shane Haselbarth

In keeping with the Roman spirituality of the pilgrimage (explained here), the Choir prays in Gregorian chant and also in sacred polyphony composed in the Roman style that would have been well known to the Jesuit & Franciscan missionaries of New France in the mid-seventeenth century.

Given its responsibilities to the liturgical music on pilgrimage, St. Cecilia Brigade’s life on pilgrimage is somewhat different from the other brigades.

The St. Cecilia Brigade …

  • Arrives on THURSDAY afternoon at 2 pm, at the Shrine of Our Lady’s Martyrs in Auriesville, for a required rehearsal prior to the start of the Pilgrimage. Release from this rehearsal only with permission of the music director.
  • Spends a number of hours during each of the three official pilgrimage days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) in rehearsal rather than on the road walking, and therefore does not walk the entire distance of the pilgrimage.
  • Prays Sext, Vespers, and Compline during the pilgrimage.
  • Otherwise participates in the general life of the pilgrimage.

If you choose to join St. Cecilia Brigade, then —

  1. Register for the pilgrimage as usual and choose St. Cecilia Brigade during registration. The music director will be in touch directly with every registered member of the brigade via email to deliver any special information prior to the pilgrimage, and to connect the members of the brigade for car pools or whatever conversation or planning is needed amongst us.
  2. Prepare for the pilgrimage according to the guidelines for packing, what to bring, etc., as must all of the pilgrims.
  3. In addition to all of the usual items to pack, please bring a few items specific to the brigade:
    • a headlamp or book light (for reading your music scores in the dark while using both hands to hold your music binder)
    • your own durable water bottle
    • a set of dress clothes (for the final Mass of the pilgrimage in the Coliseum church at the shrine on Sunday) Black preferred. Dress shoes optional – we will be walking on Sunday at some point and you don’t want to be wearing dress shoes for that, so you’d have to carry dress shoes with you….might want to just skip them. Full suit not necessary.
    • women: chapel veil
  4. Practice your part of the pilgrimage liturgical music ahead of the pilgrimage, so that you know your part, or as much of it as you can learn ahead. The music scores will be posted on this webpage as they become available, along with practice recordings.
  5. Check this webpage often for new music score and recording postings, which will begin in early August. Also check for additional “very important notes” below.
  6. Make plans to arrive at the Auriesville shrine before 2:00 pm on Thursday before the start of the pilgrimage. Our first rehearsal starts at 2:00 pm.
  7. Pray the Pilgrims’ Prayer daily in preparation for the pilgrimage. Our brigade, because of our musical preparations during the summer, is “on pilgrimage” before we even arrive.
  8. Make your pilgrimage intentions. Keep a written list and add to it as the pilgrimage nears, and bring it along with you, so that you remember your intentions on pilgrimage.

Other very important notes:

  • Hard copies of all of the music and of the relevant sections of the Divine Office will provided to each brigade member in a black binder with a pencil on Thursday of the pilgrimage at our first rehearsal at the shrine. You do not need to print or bring the music along, though if you would like to print it to aid your practicing at home ahead of the pilgrimage, of course, you may do so.
  • St. Cecilia Brigade members do NOT need to request transportation for Thursday from the shrine at Auriesville (where we will park and leave behind our cars on Thursday) to Lake George Village (where the campgrounds are for Thursday night). St. Cecilia Brigade has its own transportation system for Thursday to get our brigade from the shrine to the camp after our rehearsal. AN EXCEPTION: If you plan to arrive at the shrine on Thursday after 5:00 pm (again, with permission of the music director), St. Cecilia Brigade will have already left the shrine and you will need to request the regular shuttle system to get from the shrine to the Thursday night camp in Lake George Village.
  • Please direct questions about the brigade, its operations, and the music to Becky Ostermann (Vice Director for Sacred Music and Music Director) at

2023 Scores and Recordings

Practice with PDFs and recordings below, and/or with the online portal Soundslice.


Soundslice allows you to isolate your part of the music to practice or to hear it with your part louder than the rest. Not all pieces will be found in Soundslice, but many will be. Keep checking for new ones as they post.

All pieces in Soundslice for 2023 are labeled “2023” (don’t practice ones without “2023” as we are not using those this year). To access click here: Soundslice. Or….go to, click top bar “Community,” search for “St.CeciliaBrigade,” click on whatever piece you want to practice. Use the black icon bar at the bottom to change the speed. Use the vertical triple dot icon at the far right of the black icon bar to open more features that will allow you to isolate your own part, etc.


Each chant is marked MEN or WOMEN according to which schola will sing it. A potential starting pitch is also given.