publicity of music ministry
  • Cantor
    Posts: 84
    Dear friends and colleagues,

    I have noticed that many parishes (most, probably) list music ministry alongside the “umbrella” of “liturgical ministries”: usher/greeter, lector, server, EMHC, music...

    The implication of this organization is that music ministry is on equal footing with these other ministries.

    The problem that I see here is that the amount of training required to do these ministries well is infinitesimal compared to the training (and/or innate ability) required to be a good musician.

    Maybe this kind of thing is a symptom of the general low regard for music that plagues most of our Catholic parishes?

    Have any of you been successful at giving a more prominent place among the parish publicity to music than having it listed alongside EMHCs et al.?
  • G
    Posts: 1,396
    "Maybe this kind of thing is a symptom of the general low regard for music that plagues most of our Catholic parishes?"

    When I have tried to explain even the difference in the time devoted, (not scheduled once or twice a month like the lay readers but every single week, 2 hour rehearsal every week, more leading up to holidays,) people just don't get it, and think it's a musician trying to puff the choir up.
    I have also reminded TPTB more than once that the psalmist is every bit as much a "minister of the Word" as the lay reader, that there are not 3 scripture readings but 4, the psalm is scripture not a nice song to give everyone a breather.... it doesn't compute, for some reason.
    (Which may be why TPTB think my insistence on no paraphrases for the psalm between the readings is hare-brained.)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World
  • Cantor
    Posts: 84
    Dear G,

    I myself have illustrated the prudence of no-paraphrase-responsorial-psalms by pointing out examples of rich imagery that the paraphrases eschew, and/or the ideologically-motivated elimination of masculine pronouns.

    I also keep these songs (e.g. “Shepherd Me, O God”) as communion songs, which softens the blow.

    About the RP being every bit as much a minister of the Word...I actually give your PTBs a bit of benefit of the doubt, but not for the reasons they probably have in mind: basically, if you consider that introits, offertories, and many communions are taken from psalms, the RP can be seen as “a psalm between the readings”.
  • Cantor
    Posts: 84
    I wonder, too, if it’s a sensitivity issue.

    I mean, in my parish (where I am employed FT as director of music), I am the only office staff member who was not recruited from within the parish. Even the DRE, even in a several-thousand-household parish, has no serious theological training. (The training that the diocese provides doesn’t impress me, from what little of it I have seen.)

    What I mean to say is that the morning receptionist would be offended, maybe, were the music director’s (pretty obvious) more substantial amount of specialty expertise to be acknowledged.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    One of the nearby parishes gives some idea of where music fits into their hierarchy. In their weekly bulletin the "Director of Music" is listed right between the "Morning Receptionist" and "Bulletin Editor". And no, it's not alphabetical by name.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    The psalm between the readings happen to be the important part of "the Liturgy of the Word." This is a good example of how the contemporary casual 'pretty melody 'and the 'pretty texts' damaged our Catholic faith and confuse us betweent the Word of God and words of ours. I cannot take individauls' paraphrase of psalms as Word of God in our Liturgy, which is the approved translation of the Church. (even though the Church might sometimes have to change the translation when she finds the better tranlation into a vernacular.)
    I know some people even think the consecration happens when they sing the 'Great Amen.' by the power of the people.
    Or some even think they are the bread of life when they sing "I'm the Bread of Life." Someday we might have to sing we are our own god. (of course with some pretty melody and sentimental texts with twisted paraphrase from Psalm.)

    Save the Liturgy and Save the World
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    On the other hand, the local Unitarian church has the Music Director's name on the church sign... with no spot for the pastor!
  • I know a couple of Unitarian music directors. This one also probably makes more than the pastor. African drumming, anyone?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,899
    I tend to think of us musicians as being like the plumbing. You may take us for granted when we are working, but when we don't work properly, you will notice. Unfortunately, that's about the level on which we are viewed in many places. I long ago came to terms with the fact that my Protestant equivalents make 3 to 4 times what I make.
  • CharlesW, I'm on your page save for my contention we're more like the plumbers rather than the piping. We can be found at all stages of the functioning of a building's (program's) infrastructure: the planning and installation of instruments, acoustics and their material properties, their maintenence, their constant usage, and, as you mention, particularly when the system becomes inefficient or is failing. At all those times we are allowed to consort with all interested parties as valued, treasured and knowledgeable "equals," and sometimes we're celebrated when we gild the program with concerts or extraordinary fixtures.
    However, in the grand tradition of all working stiffs prior to Beethoven's era and perhaps ending with Bach, as soon as the accolades or applause (figurative) is over, our company is not necessarily encouraged or welcomed in the larger scheme of things. We revert, in most eyes, to being "the help."
    Personally, I'm okay with all that. The duplicity of it, in Christian environs, is very uncomfortable to me though.