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Roger Holland receives grants to explore Black Catholic Liturgical Renewal

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Angela Mitchell

Manager of Marketing & Communications, Lamont School of Music

Announcement  •
Roger Holland

Lamont faculty member M. Roger Holland, II has received two grants to fund a new project, "Black Catholic Liturgical Renewal." The project centers around Holland's new composition Voice of My People.

DU's Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning awarded Holland over $14,000 from its Public Good Fund, which promotes and increases community-engaged research and creative work that involves faculty and community. 

Holland also received $3,000 from DU's Faculty Research Fund, which aims to stimulate research, scholarship, and creative activity by DU faculty. 

Both awards will support Holland's research into Black Catholic Liturgical Renewal. The project abstract describes it as follows: 

"A new liturgical work, Voice of My People (M. Roger Holland II), will be introduced to various communities. The new work is unique in that it employs multiple genres from within the African diaspora, inclusive of reggaetón, Afro Cuban, African with use of Swahili, and traditional and contemporary Black gospel music. Western classical forms are also employed that have been blackened, that is, infused with African American idioms, specifically harmonic language that is characteristic of African American music, such that the Western forms are adapted and resemble the attributes of African American culture. The goal of the project is to demonstrate that the use of liturgical music that is endemic to the Black community, in all its diversity, is better equipped to facilitate the sung prayer of Black Catholics such that the worship experience is more authentic to that community."

Community partners include St. Columba Catholic Church, Oakland; St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, New Orleans; Boston College Campus Ministry, Massachusetts; Office of Black Ministry, Archdiocese of New York; Office of Multicultural Ministry, Louisville, KY. 

The project is scheduled to be completed by March 2024, and you can learn more about M. Roger Holland, II here

This follows closely on the heels of Holland winning two honors from the Association of Catholic Publishers in their 2023 "Excellence in Publishing Awards." Holland was awarded Distinguished Catholic Composer and Song of the Year for his composition, "All of Me (Ode to Sr. Thea)."