By Melissa Butz
The Chilean foundation Canto Católico have released their version of the “Salve Regina” online. The hymn was sung by 450 choir members from 33 countries.
“We wanted to invite everyone who wished to unite their voices with heaven and entrust themselves to the Blessed Virgin,” said Canto Católico singer Francisco Val Jiménez, “so we chose this song.”
The song’s lyrics have been attributed to Bernardo de Claraval, but the melody was composed in the thirteenth century.
Elena Marraccini was chosen to be the soloist for this version of the song. She explains while “Salve Regina” has a simple melody, it is technically difficult to execute it without breaks.
“It is easy, but when you want to maintain a consistent depth of tone, without breaking between consonants, vowels, syllables and making slight inflections, joining phrases that you did not want to cut, it becomes complicated,” she said.
Canto Católico did not want to just make a beautiful video. They wanted to transmit a profound message in response to the current pain and fear of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
“We also wanted to share that feeling, that pain, that can only be understood from the cross,” said Francisco. “We, as Christians, give meaning to that pain. We are suffering and are having a hard time, but it is to be able to leave it in the hands of God. To look back to Him so that He may give us hope in this difficult moment.”
The idea of producing this melody was inspired by the Holy Father’s special “Urbi et Orbi” speech delivered on March 27. Pope Francis gave his extraordinary blessing, “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world), in an empty St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican last March. The blessing was livestreamed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was impressive. I came thinking only of my own part,” said Elena. “Then, when I watched the entire video, without knowing what happens next or the final result, it was like a shock: Wow, how impressive!”
In addition to songs like this, the Canto Católico foundation has materials on the role of music in the Church on its website and on its YouTube channel. Their idea is to help people meet God through singing in church or on social media.