The choirs at the Monastery
The Novacella Monastery Choir
In 1981, the Abbeyâ€™s music director at the time, H. Martin Peintner, founded the Novacella Monastery Choir. The choirboys, who were educated in the Monasteryâ€™s school, had always participated in the services in Novacella. Due to the great changes the school and the dormitory life experience in the twentieth century, it was no longer possible to continue this tradition.
Since then, the Monastery Choir has provided the musical contributions to the services on holidays. It has about forty-five members from Novacella and vicinity. The Monastery Choir mostly performs spiritual literature, but secular works can also be found in its repertoire.
Monastery choir conductor: Rudi Chizzali
Chairperson: Christa Huber
Monastery organist: Benedikt Baldauf
Novacella Menâ€™s Choir
In 1957, a few of Josef Gasserâ€™s students who loved singing founded the Novacella Menâ€™s Choir.
For more information, please see: www.maennerchor-neustift.it
As far back as at the medieval Monastery School, an Epiphany (â€śThree Magiâ€ť) procession was performed, what is now known as Christmas caroling. After the dissolution of the Abbey in 1807, this custom was banned, and the caroling groups were dissolved.
Josef Gasser revived the caroling tradition and continued it. He composed simple folksongs for this purpose speaking of Christâ€™s birth for a three-part soprano choir and one manâ€™s part, which he sang. In 1924, after an absence of more than a hundred years, he went from house to house again for the first time with twelve boys from the choirboysâ€™ institute in Novacella. During the course of the subsequent years, Christmas caroling became very popular, and so it was also expanded in terms of locations. At that time, the Neustifter Sternsinger also sang at the residences of the prince-bishop, at the theology professors, the Abbeyâ€™s musical director, and the houses of other prominent figures in Brixen.
In the 1950s, when Gasser was meanwhile almost eighty years old and the boys were singing bass, these boys continued the Christmas caroling tradition. Gasser was so happy about this that he adapted a few songs for menâ€™s voices. Shortly before his passing in 1957, he instructed the boys from his deathbed on how to take and exit the stage. After Josef Gasserâ€™s death, these men took on the Christmas caroling tradition practically as a legacy and continued it.
Today this custom is maintained by the men from the Novacella Menâ€™s Choir every other year. In Middle Eastern-style garb, the nine men â€“ three kings with two servants each â€“ walk through Novacella bringing glad tidings to the houses about the birth of Christ. In those years, they also perform at the Pontifical vespers on Epiphany in the Monastery basilica. The songs they perform were written by Josef Gasser and H. Martin Peintner.
Choir director: Rudi Chizzali
Chairperson: Luis Habicher
The choirboys of Novacella
The choirboysâ€™ history goes back almost to the beginnings of the Abbey. After a short interruption during the nineteenth century, the tradition of the choirboys lives on today.
Choir director: Benedikt Baldauf