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There’s Mass Music, and There’s Music for Mass
NC Register ^ | November 29, 2009 | MICHAEL W. DRWIEGA

Posted on 11/29/2009 12:36:46 PM PST by NYer

My thoughts tend to wander in church. The lector might open with a biblical passage describing the Israelites assailing Jericho. I’ll picture myself inside the city, as a trader bartering in the ancient streets. This, in turn, will cause me to wonder how people got along in those days without air conditioning.

So it was that, waiting for Mass to begin one recent Saturday evening, I was unruffled by the sweet, dark strains of “Night and Day.”

“It’s just me,” I thought. “Just my wayward imagination.”

It was with a jolt that I realized, “No, it’s not just me.” Someone really was playing a Cole Porter song in church. It was the violinist.

Later, as the parishioners filed out after the recessional hymn, the same musician struck up a Bobby Darin tune, “Beyond the Sea.” This may have been meant to put a bounce in our step as we exited the building, but I was feeling too disoriented to do much bouncing. Bobby Darin? Was this a Catholic church or a nightclub?

Or was it me? Had I at last turned into the brittle old square I always thought my father was? Music, after all, is largely subjective. By what authority could one anoint some musical pieces for admittance into church while excommunicating others?

I checked the hymnal. It contained hundreds of songs composed for church. Sure enough, though, it also contained a small battery of privileged foreigners — songs composed for other forums but that nonetheless enjoy the occasional performance at Mass. Among these interlopers were “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”

A revelation dawned on me: Admittance into my church depended on a song’s being either composed for Catholic worship or endowed with rightly ordered patriotism. This comported with the idea of a nation under God. (For more on this, see Tim Drake’s essay here.)

That notion, however, exploded in the next instant when I thought of another song I’d heard at Mass, “Ode to Joy.” With music composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, a German living in an era when there was no German nation over which to be patriotic, the ode gets its lyrics from another German, Friedrich Schiller, whose sentiments were neither Christian-specific nor dedicated to any particular country.

I thought also of the church song “Morning Has Broken.” This was a song I’d first heard sung by the popular entertainer Cat Stevens, who, as far as I knew, was now a devout Muslim.

As if “Ode to Joy” and “Morning Has Broken” were not remote enough from orthodox Catholicism and Old Glory, I thought also of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” This hymn is sung in Catholic churches even though its composer, Martin Luther, was a catalyst of the ecclesiastical revolt that would come to be known as the Protestant Reformation. If Luther enjoyed entry into a Catholic church, then why not Cole Porter or Bobby Darin or, heck, the Rolling Stones?

“There must,” I thought, “be something about the music itself.” A song’s melody could have a spiritual temperament that could qualify it for admission into church. In that case, time might be necessary. Like purgatory, time could wash away any stains or taints inappropriate in the house of the Lord, admitting only unblemished gold.

Just so. From its beginnings, the Catholic Church has worked through local cultures to spread its message, honoring differences in expressions of faith. The Catechism, No. 1207, states: It is fitting that liturgical celebration tends to express itself in the culture of the people where the Church finds herself, though without being submissive to it. Moreover, the liturgy itself generates cultures and shapes them.

I was gratified to participate in this process, howsoever humbly, by voicing my views regarding the music played at my church. Locating the church’s website, I left an e-mail message criticizing some of the music I’d heard at Mass. Before receiving a reply, I telephoned the church office. A deacon answered. Briefly and courteously, I explained why I thought some of the music played at Mass had been inappropriate and suggested that the musicians confine their church repertoire to songs of worship.

My efforts seemed to work. Next week, church sounded like church again.

The Catholic Church is no democracy; nor should it be. But through its parishes, it can respond to local, even individual, concerns — like mine — accommodating a vast variety of continually evolving customs, traditions and personal tastes within the compass of a truth that is both universal and eternal.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; music
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Michael W. Drwiega writes from Wilmette, Illinois.
1 posted on 11/29/2009 12:36:46 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 11/29/2009 12:37:28 PM PST by NYer ("One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone" - Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer

Mass music - anything made for radio

Music for mass - music made to be played at church


3 posted on 11/29/2009 12:40:24 PM PST by wastedyears (You tell 'em I'm coming, and Hell's coming with me! - Wyatt Earp)
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To: NYer

The tune and the lyrics of Morning has Broken and its use as a hymn in the Catholic Church predates Cat Stevens. This author is displaying his ignorance.


4 posted on 11/29/2009 12:50:15 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: NYer

This summer, while on vacation, I attended a parish I have never been to before.

The priest in confession was what you would expect a priest to be: pastoral, caring, etc. The music at Mass, however, was terrible. The entrance hymn was Amazing Grace. Okay, a Protestant hymn, but not bad. What was weird was that it was played to the melody of “The House of the Rising Sun”.

Yes, except for the words, it sounded just like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C86oH5RwyJg


5 posted on 11/29/2009 12:52:27 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: afraidfortherepublic

That was the first thing I noticed, too. If Cat Stevens recorded “Pange Lingua,” would that mean we couldn’t use it in church anymore.

The words are by Eleanor Farjeon, who also wrote “People Look East” for Advent. She was one of my favorite writers when I was a girl, with a unique take on traditional fairy tales.


6 posted on 11/29/2009 12:57:20 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't worry - the king cobra will save you!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

You wrote:

“The tune and the lyrics of Morning has Broken and its use as a hymn in the Catholic Church predates Cat Stevens. This author is displaying his ignorance.”

Where in the article did the author claim the song came into the Church because of Cat Stevens?


7 posted on 11/29/2009 1:01:10 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

The author doesn’t.

And when one looks up this ditty, we find it rather superficial.

Morning has broken

“Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day”

So can’t we have Catholic Music at Holy Mass?


8 posted on 11/29/2009 1:34:35 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: Tax-chick

>>If Cat Stevens recorded “Pange Lingua,” would that mean we couldn’t use it in church anymore.<<

“Pange Lingua,” is a Catholic hymn.
“Morning is Broken” is not.

Personally, I think that Praise music is great at a Charismatic service, a LifeTeen Mass or a private celebration. At the average Sunday Mass, people tend to put on a broadway show instead of a Holy Mass. Let’s get back to the organist leading the people and ditch the cantor. I’m insulted when anyone has to “bring up” the congregation to respond. As if we can’t read.

One mass per Vicariate should be a solemn Historically Catholic Mass. That’s not a lot to ask. With CATHOLIC hymns.


9 posted on 11/29/2009 1:41:07 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: vladimir998
FTA:

I thought also of the church song “Morning Has Broken.” This was a song I’d first heard sung by the popular entertainer Cat Stevens, who, as far as I knew, was now a devout Muslim.

I didn't say he WROTE it, just that this author seemed to think that because he RECORDED it and is now a Muslim -- somehow it doesn't belong. I was only pointing out that it has a history that predates Cat Stevens.

10 posted on 11/29/2009 1:41:30 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: netmilsmom

I am a 51 year convert to CAtholicism and still trying to “get it right”. Having taken my Catholic studies at a Newman Club in a University setting where there was lots of music, the most disappointing thing, when my husband and I started attending a normal Parish church, was the lack of music. Even when we had music — Christmas, Easter, Holy Days — nobody sang. After we went through Vatican II with everything translated to English, we had no music for a long time. Gradually, the Jesuits and others provided us with new songs in English and the congregations where I lived reluctantly learned to sing them.

For many years we were prohibited from singing all those Martin Luther hymns — not sure when that changed. I like all kinds of hymns — but I just hate it when they are all the same key; same tempo in a given Mass. The music director should mix it up a little — some fast, some slow, etc. And I can tell you that without a cantor, the people just won’t sing. I’ve experienced that at many parishes over the years.

I have to brag that at our 50th wedding anniversary Mass, the priest commented afterward that there was a lot of good singing in church that morning. Part of the reason is that my oldest daughter was serving as cantor, and all my other kids and grandkids were there too. One of my sons is the music director at his church, and he was singing along as well as the 36 friends and family members from other parts of the country. And we were right in front, but I didn’t think the priest would notice. I guess I trained them good!


11 posted on 11/29/2009 1:58:44 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Tax-chick; netmilsmom; vladimir998
The tune and the lyrics of Morning has Broken and its use as a hymn in the Catholic Church predates Cat Stevens. This author is displaying his ignorance.

I'm with Vlad here ... Do you feel there is a place in the Mass for the music of Cole Porter and Bobby Darin? I recall several years ago, the pastor at my former parish invited a pianist to play 'accompaniment' to the Consecration. The music was not liturgical but something I would label 'mood music'. It was totally unrelated to the sacred actions taking place before us and was more of a distraction than a method for lifting our hearts heavenward.

Most of the Eastern Catholic liturgies are chanted with musical instrument accompaniment - EXCEPT - the words of Institution which are chanted by the priest and no instruments. It is his voice, good or bad, that chants the words of Consecration to a prayerful congregation. Mass is not entertainment; it is a time for deep reflection, prayer and worship due God.

12 posted on 11/29/2009 2:33:54 PM PST by NYer ("One Who Prays Is Not Afraid; One Who Prays Is Never Alone" - Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer
Do you feel there is a place in the Mass for the music of Cole Porter and Bobby Darin?

No. However, I do not accept the corollary that "Morning Has Broken" is "the music of Cat Stevens." It's the lyrics of Eleanor Farjeon and the melody of traditional song from the British Isles. Anyone can record a piece of music, without prejudice (imo) to other users, past or future.

That said, I don't like the song all that much, and we're certainly not going to do the Spanish version at our service!

13 posted on 11/29/2009 2:42:33 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't worry - the king cobra will save you!)
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To: netmilsmom
“Pange Lingua,” is a Catholic hymn. “Morning is Broken” is not.

This is true. However, if the author was attemting to make a point of that sort, he failed miserably.

At the average Sunday Mass, people tend to put on a broadway show instead of a Holy Mass.

I've never seen that. Our youth group did scenes from "Fiddler on the Roof" at Father Hawker's anniversary party, though. A couple of the kids were theater big-shots at their high school.

14 posted on 11/29/2009 2:47:11 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't worry - the king cobra will save you!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

When my father died at age 80,and of course we had a funeral mass,after the services my brother commented to me loudly so as to be heared by by the attendant priest “Well I guess he learned some new songs”.

Now at the tender age of 78 I never hear any of the old hymns such as “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” which was in my youth a Catholic anthem used as recessional at any of the masses at the parish I attend. And sadly present parrishioners wouldn’t know how it goes...

Just like the “Te Deum” which was sung as a recessional to a ceremony in St Stephans Cathedral celebrating the saving of Vienna by Polish forces from the Turks led by Sobieski . The above I duly reported from a review to my class mates of Immaculate Conception grammar school (Bridgeport neighborhood Chicago)7th grade students. It was a witness’s account of a historical event and an assignment by the good OFM sisters teaching at that school. Where do see that kind of stuff happening in any public school ?
http://www.theusmat.com/


15 posted on 11/29/2009 3:46:59 PM PST by mosesdapoet (The indiscriminate use of videos unrelated to the subject are screwing up downloads)
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To: netmilsmom
With CATHOLIC hymns

No hymns needed. Sing the Mass.

16 posted on 11/29/2009 3:54:59 PM PST by B Knotts (Calvin Coolidge Republican)
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To: netmilsmom

I’ll have to check but I am pretty sure that “Morning Has Broken” is one of the hymns of the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office).


17 posted on 11/29/2009 5:19:40 PM PST by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: NYer

I live right outside of New Orleans, and our football team, the Saints, are having a very good year. Because of this, a lot of Catholic Churches feel it is OK to play When the Saints Go Marching In. I realize this was a gospel song before we ever had a Saints football franchise, but because it is so associated with football nowadays, I cringe everytime it’s played. And, of course, the congregation has to clap and semi-dance when it’s being played.


18 posted on 11/29/2009 5:30:20 PM PST by murron (Proud Mom of a Marine Vet)
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To: NYer
Sacred Harp Singers At Liberty Church youtube link, but also from Cold Mountain soundtrack.

Among more available there from same soundtrack; Jack White Wayfaring Stranger traditional/Appalachia, perhaps not exactly "Church" or worship music, but IMHO
better than Emmylou's version, better fiddle.

Here's one sort-of spooky one, same soundtrack, another Tim Eriksen arrangement, more great traditional fiddle & mandolin --->I Wish my baby was born

You may not like any of the above, being as you are a yankee and all ...but others stumbling upon this thread may like them. [;^')

19 posted on 11/29/2009 6:00:01 PM PST by BlueDragon (there is no such thing as a "true" compass, all are subject to both variation & deviation)
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To: NYer
Music, after all, is largely subjective.

This is total myth and is especially prevalent in the Church. Any piece of music itself has objective value, whether it be of high or low quality and whether you like the music or not.

20 posted on 11/29/2009 6:11:03 PM PST by sojourner
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To: Tax-chick

Seriously, I can’t tell you amount of parishes we hit during the summer while traveling around camping, where the “Cantor” and his production team have huge solos for every song.

Arm waving and “feeling it”. It looks silly and with so much interpretation that no one in the congregation could sing along if they tried. There isn’t meant to be participation, they are meant to be solos.

Last year, we went to a parish in the thumb region of MI where they had a little “ding” at the end of each refrain of the “Lamb of God” (which they embellished with “Prince of Peace” deviating from the GIRM). Truly, it sounded like we got the answer right on a gameshow! Then in FL, we went to a huge parish that dimmed the lights and threw a follow spot on the Priest for the consecration.

Broadway all the way!


21 posted on 11/29/2009 6:13:36 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: StAthanasiustheGreat

Probably, but it is the version of the Litany of the Hours reinstated after VII. I’m sure there were lots of “ecumenical” things considered as that was the time we blended so much.


22 posted on 11/29/2009 6:21:23 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: B Knotts

>>Sing the Mass. <<

I’m down wit dat.

I love a sung mass. My daughters were just invited to join the Latin choir. I’m very proud.


23 posted on 11/29/2009 6:23:24 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: NYer
I very much agree with this writer. If you hear something sung or played at church that doesn't fit - SAY SOMETHING. At least he recognized it. There are a number of "music directors" out there who are less than enthusiastic about sticking to the readings or theme of the day and they need to be kept in check. Even the overzealous volunteers who overdo descants in microphones. You see it everywhere.

So, did anybody else sing "Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending" this morning? Great hymn.

24 posted on 11/29/2009 6:31:55 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: netmilsmom

Wow, we never go anywhere like that! Blandness is the order of the day in places we vacation.


25 posted on 11/29/2009 6:33:26 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't worry - the king cobra will save you!)
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To: Tax-chick

Come on up to MI!
(no, not really....I’ll meet you somewhere else)


26 posted on 11/29/2009 6:51:51 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
The tune and the lyrics of Morning has Broken and its use as a hymn in the Catholic Church predates Cat Stevens. This author is displaying his ignorance.

"I thought also of the church song “Morning Has Broken.” This was a song I’d first heard sung by the popular entertainer Cat Stevens, who, as far as I knew, was now a devout Muslim."

Looks to me as though the author only makes claim to where he'd first heard that song, nothing more. I'd wager most folks alive now probably had the same experience.

27 posted on 11/29/2009 6:52:23 PM PST by TradicalRC (The peace sign is the new swastika.)
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To: netmilsmom

Church in Myrtle Beach was bland, except for the building fund solicitation ;-).


28 posted on 11/29/2009 6:55:21 PM PST by Tax-chick (Don't worry - the king cobra will save you!)
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To: NYer

What of the psalms? God himself has given us words of lyrical worship, yet we insist on making up and using our own.


29 posted on 11/29/2009 6:56:44 PM PST by ctdonath2 (Psalm 109)
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To: Desdemona

We almost had to sing tonight.
If we lector and the organist doesn’t show, we have to sing.

We scrambled and found

Entrance
O come O come Emmanuel

Offertory
Come Accept the Gifts we offer

Communion
At that First Eucharist

Recessional
Holy God We Praise thy Name.

Luckily for the congregation, the organist showed up and they didn’t have to suffer.

My girls always point to “The King of Glory” and we bust up laughing.


30 posted on 11/29/2009 6:58:29 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: NYer
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The author has made a couple of real howlers, and he's conflating quite different issues here -- which does nothing but confuse things.

Nobody (Catholic or Protestant) sings Schiller's words to “An die Freude” in church (maybe the Unitarians do, but I have my doubts as to whether that's "church"). There are a separate set of words set to the tune for use in worship, written by a Presbyterian, Henry Van Dyke, around 1900. The first line is "Joyful, joyful we adore thee" and there is nothing theologically objectionable that I can find on a short read over.

“Morning Has Broken” (its actual name is "Morning Song for the First Day of Spring") was written by a devout Anglican lady named Eleanor Farjeon back in the early 1900s. It is set to a well known (o.k., it's well known to me) Scottish folk tune that goes back who knows how far. If it's objectionable purely because Cat Stevens sang it, we're gonna have to get rid of the National Anthem because Roseanne Barr butchered it . . . this is just a silly objection to a very unobjectionable hymn.

Rejection of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” seems justifiable for a Catholic setting because of its close association with Luther (in fact it's sometimes called the Lutheran Anthem), but that's a completely different issue from pop music versus liturgical music, or theological problems with the lyrics. These are issues that the author never really comes to grips with -- the very worst offenders are not Top 40 or jazz tunes transferred to church, but the homegrown horrors produced by Haugen, Haas, and the St. Louis Jebbies.

In other words, the writer completely confused 3 or 4 different issues and doesn't address any of them adequately. And he gets his facts screamingly wrong.

Color me profoundly UNimpressed.

31 posted on 11/29/2009 6:58:55 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Desdemona
Microphones should be far, FAR away from everybody, especially sopranos singing descants, assuming the church has decent acoustics. They upset the balance and usually the audio quality is not that good.

You do NOT need a microphone in our church. Our director is constantly reminding us that a well developed tone will (as he puts it) "just sweep down the nave < whoosh! > and bounce off the back wall". And it does. I don't have a big voice, but it can be heard all the way up front without a mike.

32 posted on 11/29/2009 7:02:15 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

>>If it’s objectionable purely because Cat Stevens sang it, we’re gonna have to get rid of the National Anthem because Roseanne Barr butchered it . . . this is just a silly objection to a very unobjectionable hymn.<<

I find it objectionable because we have four songs to sing at Holy Mass.
When someone without a historical music background (most of us) hear it, we think of Cat Stevens. It’s not Catholic, it’s pop and it has nothing to do with the Holy Mass.

It amazes me that everyone says Catholics don’t sing. WE sing at my parish. And do you know why we sing? Because we play the same songs. The Historically Catholics songs. We don’t sing “The Lord of the Dance”, “The King of Glory” or “Morning has Broken”.

If people truly want the congregation to participate in singing (which I doubt many times when the “Music Minister” is soloing away at parishes I visit), play something they know. Stop worrying about the choir being bored with singing the same thing. It’s not about them anyway.


33 posted on 11/29/2009 7:17:53 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Part of the problem is carpets on the floors. It soaks up sound so, mics are just a part of life. And the fact that, unfortunately, musicianship levels and the finer details like intonation are not uniform. There are also still a good number of priests out there who are just as happy with volunteers of whatever sort as people who really know what they are doing.
34 posted on 11/29/2009 7:26:29 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: netmilsmom
Stop worrying about the choir being bored with singing the same thing. It’s not about them anyway.

Well, no, it's not about them, but if the choir does the same thing over and over again, it gets sloppy and there's no growth, spiritual, musical or any other way. Not to mention, it really does bore the choir to tears. That's not to say that a standard repertoire isn't a good idea, just be sure there's variety. In my choir, we switch Mass parts by season, and do a collection of antiphons in Advent and Lent. They've been the same the last few years, but as they only come up once in the annual cycle, it's not so bad. We do two anthems a week as well, but this is the Mother Ship, as it were, or the "big house", so Holy Mass is a big more formal.

35 posted on 11/29/2009 7:34:41 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: netmilsmom
It isn't pop. As I said, it's an old, old tune that was old before Cat Stevens was even born. Many old tunes wind up as hymns - Farjeon's other fairly well known hymn, "People Look East" is sung to an old French tune that probably was originally secular, but its origins are lost somewhere in the Renaissance. And the number of Irish and Scottish and English folk melodies in hymns is beyond counting -- just off the top of my head, "Lord of All Hopefulness" is set to an Irish melody, while "Who At My Door is Standing?" is "The Salley Gardens".

Now, if the 'performers' are giving a tune a pop sound, that's their problem, not the tune's. I just can't see rejecting an old melody and theologically unobjectionable words because a modern pop singer got hold of them after the copyright lapsed. "Christian Rock" singers mess with old hymns all the time, that shouldn't cause them to be rejected.

And you can't have it both ways. If the people won't sing because they don't know the music, they sure as heck know "Morning Has Broken", so they ought to sing. And whoever the 'praise band' is can tone it down and let the organ play a simple, reverent accompaniment. It gives the melody a whole different cast.

Now when it comes to actual bad music -- banal pop melodies and words written by worshippers in "The Church of Me", I'm with you all the way. Get 'em out of there.

But let's not confuse our categories.

1. There are bad hymns because they are in and of themselves bad, words and music. Let's get rid of those FIRST -- the "Eagles Wings" and "Here I Am Lord" and all that abominable junk.

2. There are hymns that are objectionable not in and of themselves, but because of various associations - "Morning Has Broken" with Cat Stevens, "A Mighty Fortress" with Luther. Can't do much about the latter since ol' Martin wrote the thing, but rather than rejecting a hymn just because some person of questionable morals or religious views performed it, perhaps a change in setting or presentation would be adequate.

3. Obviously, Protestant hymns with words that are problematic for Catholics should go. "Amazing Grace" is one of the worst offenders, but there are plenty of others. I've heard some astoundingly Baptist hymns in church . . . and a bunch of Wesley (the Methodist Brothers) stuff too.

We need to prioritize, though. My personal preference in hymns is for the old stuff out of the early German hymnals, preferably with translations by Catherine Winkworth, who was a genius in turning German into English without missing either the rhymes, the rhythm, or the meaning, or the good old Anglican standbys out of "Hymns A&M", which generally present no theological problems.

But we've got a long way to go before we start picking and choosing among the hymns that are (1) good melodies; (2) good words. I'll wait!

36 posted on 11/29/2009 7:34:55 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

His point was more along the lines of being vocal about music to which he objects and it disappearing.


37 posted on 11/29/2009 7:37:31 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: Desdemona

>>Not to mention, it really does bore the choir to tears. <<

Well, if the choir is bored, perhaps they should realize that they are there, not to entertain nor be the focus of the mass, but like everyone else, to relive the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

That’s what we are there for, lest we forget.


38 posted on 11/29/2009 7:43:02 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: Desdemona
You put your finger on the problem right there. Too many priests are musically ignorant, and they let all sorts of nonsense go on that they would put a stop to if they knew how bad it was.

The analogy I used last week was with my former Episcopal rector, who of course knew good music (I think good musical taste is taught them in seminary) but knew absolutely nothing about dance.

He invited a "liturgical" "dancer" (she wasn't either) to perform (and that is the right word, it wasn't worship) one Sunday. She was AWFUL - could never have gotten a gig anywhere but in a church where the rector had two left feet.

I was pretty severe to the rector, in a humorous way. I don't usually get after the man in charge, but it was SO bad it demanded instant action, it bordered on scandalous. A bunch of other people got after him too (this was a fairly artistic parish, and many were instantly aware that Father had been conned). Thankfully he never invited her back.

But more musically inclined people need to gently inform the rector when the music gets over the edge. It can be done a lot more tactfully than I did it.

Fortunately our rector has good musical taste, and so does the deacon in charge of the music department (he was a music major at LSU).

As for carpet -- tear it out and put in stone or tile!

39 posted on 11/29/2009 7:43:35 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: netmilsmom
but like everyone else, to relive the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Does this mean they are supposed to suffer? Just askin'.

40 posted on 11/29/2009 7:46:08 PM PST by HungarianGypsy
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To: AnAmericanMother

>>It isn’t pop.<<

You may know the history of that song, Pete in the Pew thinks Cat Stevens. To me, to my fellow parishioners, it’s pop, no matter where it came from.

AND it is not appropriate for the liturgy. While you may not find any of the words to be anti-Catholic, we are at Holy Mass for a reason.


41 posted on 11/29/2009 7:47:30 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: netmilsmom; Desdemona
It's not really a question of the choir being concerned about 'entertaining' or being in 'look at me' mode.

There has to be some variation or the singing gets stale. That is a fact of life. And if the singing gets stale and lifeless, it will certainly impede worship instead of aiding it. And that is not something that ought to happen.

Also, dedicated choir singers want to present their best to God. That's what we're there for. And because we're human, and fallible, singing the same thing Sunday after Sunday and also singing our best is not possible. That's why the Liber changes every day . . . the old-time liturgists knew this simple fact of life!

42 posted on 11/29/2009 7:47:48 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: HungarianGypsy

We are observers. Just as those standing at the base of the cross when it happened.


43 posted on 11/29/2009 7:48:23 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: netmilsmom

Yes, but you see, if you are bored as a musician, you will not be very inspiring. And if part of your purpose at Mass is to be inspiring, there has to be a bit of a balance. It’s part of the give and take of being an artist. Aside from that, the same stuff over and over does not inspire one to rehearse and review and it gets sloppy and that shouldn’t be at Mass, either, if we are there to give our best.


44 posted on 11/29/2009 7:48:52 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
As for carpet -- tear it out and put in stone or tile!

Good luck. An suggestion of the sort is usually met with great disdain in these parts. Fortunately,our beloved Cathedral has marble.

45 posted on 11/29/2009 7:52:07 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: netmilsmom
Then before throwing out a perfectly good hymn because of the arrangement, set a new one. If the accompaniment doesn't sound 'pop', that will remove the association with the execrable Mr. Stevens (he murders the tune, anyhow.)

We have an awful lot of dead wood and trash - truly rotten music - to get rid of before we start throwing out music because of mere passing associations. Then we can start weaning the congregation back onto the old Catholic stuff (but you have to make sure that they don't put that awful random leap into the middle of "Infinite thy vast domain". Shudder.)

46 posted on 11/29/2009 7:52:22 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

>>There has to be some variation or the singing gets stale. That is a fact of life. And if the singing gets stale and lifeless, it will certainly impede worship instead of aiding it. And that is not something that ought to happen.<<

That’s a line that Choir Directors have been using for years.
How can anyone say that a part of the Holy Mass gets stale when the Mass never changes? Catholics live on repetition. If one understands the Holy Mass, it doesn’t get stale. Jesus is there in person. We need to be in awe.

When the parishioners participate, your Holy Mass is alive. I went to a LifeTeen Mass where they had rockin’ performers. They sounded great. Drums and guitars and wonderful singers.
That congregation didn’t even have the chance to participate at all. The band did it everything. Then people complain that Catholics don’t sing. Geez, we don’t get the chance.


47 posted on 11/29/2009 7:55:07 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: Desdemona
We have stone, but as our director observed, they broadened out the nave to make room for more people, and it DID alter the acoustic a bit. And the fact that the walls are merely brick and plaster instead of 6 feet of stone means that the basses kind of disappear. That's why we have so many basses, we could have a male schola with no problem. We're short on altos at the moment, one of the baritones can sing male alto and he's come down to join me, which is great because I have a tenorish sound anyway, and when we sing the English anthems originally written for male altos it sounds fabulous. Just like Mr. Purcell intended.
48 posted on 11/29/2009 7:56:11 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother
Then before throwing out a perfectly good hymn because of the arrangement, set a new one. If the accompaniment doesn't sound 'pop', that will remove the association with the execrable Mr. Stevens (he murders the tune, anyhow.)

Well, some of us just don't like it no matter where it came from.

We have an awful lot of dead wood and trash - truly rotten music - to get rid of before we start throwing out music because of mere passing associations. Then we can start weaning the congregation back onto the old Catholic stuff (but you have to make sure that they don't put that awful random leap into the middle of "Infinite thy vast domain". Shudder.)

Actually, since we all do it the same way, it can't be that random. It's the way we all learned it before we could read music.

Bad music to ditch...where to start...hmmm.

Well, not tonight. Still getting over the head cold that we've been passing among the choir members. I'm the most recent victim. 'Night.

49 posted on 11/29/2009 7:59:22 PM PST by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: AnAmericanMother

It’s not a perfectly good hymn in the liturgy because it is not a Catholic hymn. It has nothing to do with the liturgy. It’s not a Processional Hymn, it’s not about the Offertory, it’s not about the Eucharist and it’s not Recessional. It’s not about Mary, nor Christ the King, nor the Trinity.

YOU may think it’s great, but it’s not Catholic.
I grew up on “Holy God we praise thy name.” The cradle Catholics like the old tunes.

Do you want the congregation to participate?


50 posted on 11/29/2009 8:01:32 PM PST by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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