The Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré has throughout the years served as a creative space for composers whose work went on to strongly influence Roman Catholic liturgical music and the local civic community. Three such men of St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere are revered for their artistic leadership, community spirit, and instruction: Fr. Ambrose Dobbelsteen, Fr. Robert Sromovsky, and Fr. Matthias Vanden Elsen. Fr. Sromovsky is widely recognized as the first influential American-born Norbertine composer of original hymns. He was born in Manistique, Michigan, in 1905, and attended St. Norbert High School in De Pere before joining the order in 1922. After graduating from St. Norbert College, he accepted a teaching post there and was ordained a Norbertine priest in 1927. As both a skilled musicologist and mathematician, Fr. Sromovsky continued his studies in Rome and then at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he was granted the university’s first Ph.D. in musicology in 1936 coupled with a doctorate in mathematics. Fr. Sromovsky taught at the Norbertine Archmere Academy (Delaware) from 1934 to 1937 and composed Archmere's first school song. He taught at St. Norbert College from the late 1930s until his retirement in the early 1970s. He died on Tuesday, November 29, 1983 at the age of 78.
Sromovsky, Robert A. O.Praem., "Missa Aurea" (1948). Norbertine Composers. 3.