CMAA Folks and the Mystery Worshippers of Ships of Fools
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,653
    I thought it might be fun to start a list of CMAA-folks and forum members who have been reviewed on the "Ship of Fools Mystery Worshipper." Though these reviewers are sometimes biased (either against certain denominations or styles of music/liturgy), and although the website might promote a sort of commercialization of liturgical services (both Catholic and otherwise) - their insights are often interesting, and sometimes their criticisms can lead to positive change.

    St. Louis Cathedral (Dr. Horst Buchholz, CMAA Vice President)
    http://shipoffools.com/mystery/2015/2819.html

    SS Simon and Jude Cathedral (M.Meloche, frequent CMAA faculty member, forum member)
    http://shipoffools.com/mystery/2015/2837.html

    Queen of Peace, Mishawaka, IN (B. Todorovich, forum member)
    http://shipoffools.com/mystery/2013/2633.html

    Cathedral of Oakland, CA (Colloquium organ recital performer and forum member, Rudy de Vos)
    http://www.shipoffools.com/mystery/2016/3002.html

    St. James, Cleveland (Forum member and CPDL-conbributor, Jeffrey Quick was a choir member)
    http://shipoffools.com/mystery/2002/583Mystery.html

    There must be at least a few more. If you add them below I will place them up here to create a coherent list.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    That M.Meloche sure is a frequent forum member.
  • btodorovich
    Posts: 32
    http://shipoffools.com/mystery/2013/2633.html

    Queen of Peace, Mishawaka, IN (B. Todorovich, forum member)
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    @btodorovich, do you happen to know Mary Bonadies by chance? She's a great friend of mine from school...and I know several other folks from Mishawaka, actually...

    I think these are kind of interesting, even if the emphasis seems to be on actively welcoming people. I suppose we just need to make our worship aides look really nice and be useful and then have an active social life after Mass... as well as do our very best with the music and ceremonies of the liturgy, of course.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,653
    Thanks! Any more?
  • btodorovich
    Posts: 32
    @MatthewRoth .... no, I do not know her.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,653
    Updated with the latest review of a CMAA person's church, though it seems likely the member wasn't actually the musician at the Mass. Sadly the reviewer was not there for the Choral Mass at the Cathedral of Oakland. I've heard recordings of Rudy's choir and they are beyond top-rate, Rudy is obviously an amazing organist, etc. Also, whether or not you find the space particularly edifying, the acoustics of the building are wonderful and it's a joy to sing there.
    Thanked by 1BruceL
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    I am keeping in mind that Ship of Fools is not, and has never been, a Catholic site in any sense of the word. While I enjoy reading it, what their "reviewer" is seeking as good or ideal is not necessarily what I or my congregation would think important. Attending a particular mass can slant perceptions of a place greatly. I know my masses are all different. I have said I play/direct at three different churches with different congregations every Sunday in the same building.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,636
    I wasn't the boss, and it's only Anglo-Catholic, but I was singing there at the time:
    http://shipoffools.com/mystery/2002/583Mystery.html
    Thanked by 2Richard Mix BruceL
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,354
    the reviewer was not there for the Choral Mass at the Cathedral of Oakland. I've heard recordings of Rudy's choir and they are beyond top-rate, Rudy is obviously an amazing organist, etc.


    I have been there for the choral Mass. It's really something. Th chant and polyphony are both excellent, and the programming in general is quite good. However, congregational singing is extremely poor.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    The "thing" about "congregational singing"....
    It's really not a thing. It's likely better dubbed an "occurrence."
    Even if 95% of those present actually are performing, that occurrence remains more "aggregation-al singing" than congregational.
    The blood lust for this tunnel-visioned product of FCAP is ultimately counterproductive when it overshadows the finely honed efforts of Christ-centered choirs/instrumentalists who "sacrifice" their personal musical proclivities in order to beautifully witness to Christ the Logos and God the Father-Creator in concerto.
    FCAP is or ought to be multi-faceted and multi-purposed, just as it is en-fleshed in the GIRM. If the PIPs in your church don't behave musically as you try to engineer them, the problem may/may not be in your bailywick's sphere of influence. Get over it and move on toward excellence.
    In this era of the NO/OF, it's very important to remember the Mass as an expedition, requiring expedited elements. Don't program supercilious ordinaries, hymns, songs, psalm settings. Alleluia ch-ch-ch clap-clap.
    I guess I shoulda posted these thoughts in the other thread. B'bye.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,354
    I'm not really sure what any of that is all about. Good choral music (including chanted propers) and congregational singing are not competing goods. (Which I'm about 110% sure you know already.)

    When I was there, they did one of Tietze's Hymn Tune Introits, to a solid traditional tune everyone should know (I don't remember now what it was). No one sang it.

    The Mass Ordinary was clearly intended to be congregational. It was also sung very poorly.

    Even the simple dialogs were lacklustre.

    Everything the choir did was great. The congregation simply seemed uninterested in singing the parts of the liturgy that pertained to them.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Adam, I was trying to reassure DM's not to be overly concerned or distracted if congregations demonstrate the sort of disinterest you mentioned at Oakland.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,354
    If I were a DM I would be concerned. I don't really think the congregation's role in liturgical music-making is primarily to SIT THERE AND TAKE IT.
    Thanked by 2Jani PaxMelodious
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,091
    Then there's the canonical:

    500 x 617 - 75K
  • Interesting site! I can't find a search option on it, though??
  • SIT THERE AND TAKE IT

    Fixed.
    Sitting there is a very deliberate choice not to participate
    no matter what the encouragement is
    whether it's smartly done service folders
    or idiot announcer-'cantor'-cajolers.
    These types just aren't going to.

    Don't blame the music -
    This is a moral, catechetical. and attitudinal problem.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,636
    No search that I found. It's Mystery Worshipper for a reason, I guess.
  • So much energy goes into insisting that Catholics sing and I'm starting to wonder how much of that energy may be misspent.

    Maybe those faithful who aren't singing are not disinterested. Maybe they're participating on a level we don't know about and can't see. Maybe they simply don't want to sing or see the value. Maybe it's not a cultural priority in many areas. It doesn't mean the faithful are any less... faithful. It doesn't mean they're dumb or spectators.

    Its weird to us musicians who love singing our prayers. It's weird to many priests and liturgists who have a steady diet of documents. But many good Catholics have not had the liturgical or musical formation to consider it a goal.


    Thanked by 1Mary Ann
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,124
    Though few of us would think Tenebrae in coena domini with FCAP is 'a thing', the report from St Paul Convent Garden is a salutary reminder that the expectations brought by visitors can be unexpected too. To be fair, I was a bit confused too until I noticed the date.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,455
    My parish is suburban and very large. When we have Masses outside Sunday and Christmas Day where those who are interested, engaged and involved in the church attend (i.e. Holy Thursday, Easter Vigil, Mary Mother of God) the singing from the congregation is exuberant. On regular Sunday Masses when these faithful are spread through five Masses and most of the church is filled with people fulfilling their Sunday obligation, not so much. The sung ordinary on weekdays is louder than some Sundays.

    I agree that formation has been poor over the last fifty years, then add in pop music and the lack of singing in the world outside the church and the lack of singing is a disappointment.
  • More on
    SIT THERE AND TAKE IT.
    from another angle...

    Isn't that what we have all been expected to do for the last fifty years of slap-dash 'good morning, folks' liturgy, and music inspired by any genre except that of our liturgical patrimony: the street, broadway, rock, faux folk, 'country', pop, sacro-this-that-and-the-other, and who knows what else. Don't speak about sitting there and taking it. I've done it. I'll not do it again. Never. Not Ever. Thankfully, there are oases here and there, such as Annunciation and St Basil's Chapel in Houston (not to mention some of your own parishes)... in addition to Walsingham, which is bursting at the seams, and the Ordinariate, which continues to sprout new foliage far and wide. ('Let them that have ears hear!')

    (The Ordinariate now has two parishes in Houston! The new one being St Margaret's of Scotland in the sub-urb of Katy.)
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    I think Jackson is right on this one. If the people had risen up and refused to put up with all the bad music and silliness, it would have died out fast. Maybe it was the low mass spectator mentality at work, or perhaps something else. I don't know. But I do know that the people did "sit there and take it," which is why the liturgy deteriorated.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,395
    If the people had risen up and refused to put up with all the bad music and silliness, it would have died out fast
    Exactty!
    Don't speak about sitting there and taking it. I've done it. I'll not do it again. Never. Not Ever.
    This.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    We're drifting afield, gents, with the inevitable "crappy music killed the beast" assessment. Not that simple. In a word, most PIPs in the 65-69 era weren't equipped to do much beyond "sit there and take it."
    The Mystery Worshipper "thing" is no more, no less, a snapshot. As Adam pointed out, that reporter happened upon a "non Rudy dV-led" Mass. As in all snapshots you'll see some measure of truthful reality besides that. But making a holistic judgment from that one perspective and moment is no more valid than one of the three blind men declaring the elephant is like a snake just cuz he got ahold of its trunk.
    Chuck's agreement with "never again" rings true in our era, but is yet and still mitigated by the demographical preferences and prescriptions of boomer and Xer priest/pastors.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    The Cathedral of Christ The Light (Oakland CA) was created from the merging of two pairs of parishes followed by the merging of that pair. Four parishes, four masses, one building. The mystery worshipper would have to attend all four Masses to figure out this elephant. And the same probably could be said for any other elephant in God's Catholic Zoo. My elephant requires only three visits.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    Some of these meglo-parishes and sprawl-mart-cathedrals are worse than any mutations or clones mad scientists could devise in their labs.