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James Michael Thompson founded the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle, Chicago, Illinois in 1988. The Schola is a professional ensemble of men and women with a roster of fifty singers, engaged in liturgical work across the United States and Canada. A large part of the Schola's work has been the publication of recorded music; they have 50 recordings.

J. Michael is a published composer and has written articles in various periodicals (AIM, Pastoral Music, Liturgy 90, The Living Church). He is a contributor to the reference works "Worship Music: A Dictionary" (The Liturgical Press), "Key Words in Church Music, Second Edition" (Concordia), and "Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, IV. Auflage." He is also a contributing editor to "The Divine Liturgy: An Anthology," a Ukrainian Catholic pew book and hymnal published in Canada in 2006, as well as the general musical editor for "The Divine Liturgies of our holy fathers John Chrysostom and Basil the Great" published by the Byzantine Catholic Church sui juris of the U.S.A.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music History and German from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin; and a Master's degree in Church Music from Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois. He did seminary studies at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary, South Bound Brook, New Jersey; and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

J. Michael is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Society for Catholic Liturgy, and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.