TribLIVE

| AandE


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Nuns replace 'Fifty Shades' atop classical albums chart

By Brian Mansfield
Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
 

For the past month, the world of classical music has seen fewer shades of grey and more black and white.

Since its release in mid-November, “Advent at Ephesus,” a collection of a cappella music sung by Benedictine nuns, has topped Billboard's traditional classical albums chart — displacing the companion CD of classical themes for E.L. James' novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, cloistered at Our Lady of Ephesus priory in rural Gower, Mo., have sold 22,000 copies of a collection of hymns, chants and polyphony that celebrates the anticipation of the birth of Jesus. The album has placed as high as No. 4 on the overall classical albums chart, which puts the nuns on track to become 2012's top-selling new classical act.

The sisters follow the monastic rule of fourth-century Christian saint Benedict of Nursia and sing eight times a day in their chapel, led by their prioress .

“It's not like a group that just gets together and rehearses a few times a week. They're really as one,” says Monica Fitzgibbons, co-founder of the label De Montfort Music, which released “Advent at Ephesus.” “They sing more than they actually speak.”

The album initially topped the traditional classical chart thanks to a grass-roots marketing effort focused on the faith-based community and the classical-choral audience.

After the sisters unseated the “Fifty Shades of Grey” album, places like National Public Radio's “All Things Considered” program and People magazine introduced their unadorned music to a wider audience.

The sisters haven't paid attention to their coup of knocking the “Fifty Shades of Grey” compilation from the top of the chart. “They don't even know what (‘Grey') is,” Fitzgibbons says.

Brian Mansfield is a contributing writer for USA Today.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. 12-year-old’s donated heart joins families, lets her memory live
  2. 7 in custody after New Kensington drug raid
  3. Steelers’ defense rebounds after shaky 1st quarter, forces Texans into mistakes
  4. Rostraver woman victim of home invasion
  5. Trick-or-treat in Mt. Pleasant set for Sunday
  6. Penguins notebook: Newcomers get 1st taste of rivalry with Flyers
  7. Jeannette RB Hall looks to older brothers for inspiration
  8. For U.S. House in Ohio & West Virginia: Bill Johnson and David McKinley
  9. Steelers dial up 2-point play for Brown’s TD toss
  10. Injured Pitt center Rowell plays well-rounded role on campus
  11. McCaffery’s suspension: Castille’s concurrence
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.