On Eagles No More
  • http://hymnographyunbound.blogspot.com/2007/07/mommy-why-cant-we-sing-on-eagels-wings.html

    Very, very nicely put.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "But let's cheer them up by singing about the promises that God makes in the Bible, not by singing about made-up promises."

    It's flowery language. It's like lace vestments or fiddlebacks with every type of flower on them: good in moderation or for decorations, bad when waaaay overdone, and it's a trainwreck when you make your faith 100% about them. I'm assuming one would likewise refuse to have a hoary old St. Basil Hymnal song for the same reasons.

    I also find it odd for one in a tradition of Marian devotions and dogmas, purgatory, relics, and scapulars to speak of how one should be restricted to the promises in the Bible. Are these things promises found in the Bible? EDIT: I meant rather should Catholicism now restrict itself to "bible alone".
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    "Are these things promises found in the Bible? EDIT: I meant rather should Catholicism now restrict itself to "bible alone"."

    No, I don't think so. It seems that I recall reading that certain English Catholic composers were forbidden by the crown to write texts that did not come from scripture. Our faith is not restricted to scripture alone. That's a Protestant heresy.
  • Yes, and no Marian words, and no more than one note per syllable
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Exactly. How hard is it to say one of the following, and be done with it:

    "On Eagle's Wings is terribly corny and unworthy of the liturgy."
    "On Eagle's Wings is too difficult to be used as congregational music."

    We really have to avoid inconsistent argumentation, because opponents of good music will latch on to it and pretend it disqualifies everything we say or do.
  • Both of these arguments are true.
    They should be linked by 'and', not 'or'.
  • There is no connection between true Cappucino and Cappucino at a gas station, churned out of water [that has not passed through a cow] and powdered mix in a blender.

    The ingredients are not the same. Sung church music requires music that follows the rules and traditions of harmony and a text that is theologically correct and poetically set.

    That's an ongoing problem with singing Psalms....the music for them has been lost to antiquity and the language in which they were poetic is also a dead language. So we have to adapt when we sing them. And some adaptations are churned out of water and powdered mix.

    But Gavin's right, On Eagles Wings in its entirety IS corny, unworthy and difficult...both in text and music.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    Interesting! I hadn't thought of the sola scriptura critique, which is apt. Good catch.

    On the other hand: there are promises made in Scripture that are implicit as well as explicit. In the Benedictus, Zechariah says, "This is the oath he swore to our father Abraham:..." and then he goes on to list the things God promised to Abraham. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough, but I don't recall seeing this particular list of promises in Genesis. And yet, the list rings true. It is correctly scriptural.

    I don't think we can say the same about "bear you on the breath of dawn," whatever that means.
  • Especially if it is the breath of dawn after a hard night of drinking beforehand....
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    I have been told that Michael Joncas said he never intended this song for congregational use. I have also heard that he wishes he had never written it because of all the critcism directed toward him. I don't know if any of this is true. But I do know that I cringed the first time I heard it, and that's been my reaction every time since.
  • Our children's choir decided to sing this little ditty on the Christmas CD they recorded for the parish. I cringed when I heard it. I asked the Choir director why she is not teaching the kids solid Catholic stuff. Unfortunately, she's bought into OCP hook line and sinker. At least the song wasn't used during the Papal Masses here in the US. I have expressly forbidden its use at my funeral.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    benedictgal, our parish music teacher, who is a talented pianist and very very nice lady, also happens to be a follower of David Haas (She sometimes has entire Mass based on the theme of "We Are Called,." It's actually amazing how she put parts of the song into the entire Mass, Entire song at the beginning and Ending and bits of the song here and there and have the children play handbells of the song with the little children sign language, and here's the big final, scrape the piano from the top to bottom and 'bang' (the kids love this). I have to admit she is quite creative, but do not know the liturgy at all, and often have them sing "Awesome God," too(I really coudn't stand that one)
    She once commented that she wants to bring children to church, not turn them off. I guess what she meant was having 'upbeat songs' (fun songs). I don't go to the school Mass anymore., since I started schola and learn about the Mass, I just cannot take any more. When I recall the school Mass now, all I remember is the children's 'action', how creative they were. Not much about the 'action' of the priest. Actually I don't even remember whethere they were there. (I know it's my fault too that I was so entertained then...)

    I also heard that the parents of the school asked the priest not to talk about devils and sins, because they scare the children. (One of our priest gave them a homily once on that. There will be no more.) (sigh)
    My boys learn Baltimore Catechism (homeschool) and study about sins. They are braver than ever, because they also know that God is almighty.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Mia, that's very disturbing on so many levels. The fact is that everyone likes and wants to be entertained. I love being entertained. There's nothing wrong with that. Kids especially enjoy it. The problem is that church isn't the place to be entertained. Any child can understand that, but they aren't told that by example or word. And I suspect the music teacher doesn't understand that either, she's probably going to church to be entertained. Such a simple concept, but it's a hidden truth.

    And "get children to church"? I thought that was the job of the parents. My ex-girlfriend once asked me "how can you have people not coming to church when Catholics are obligated to go?" People want to bring teens to church? Convince them that missing church means separation from God and risk of hell. That's all it takes, although I'm not saying it's easy.
  • Lowering the level of anything to reach children is such a mistake. Kids are not stupid. That doesn't happen until they reach adulthood.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Well, I got to know her pretty well. After the school mass we used to chat, and I even sub for her sometimes. She really doesn't know she is doing anything wrong. She is a very kind person, talented musician, and many parents and the children like her.
    I don't go to school mass any more, so I haven't talk to her recently. But the most difficult part for me is how do I say that she is doing it in a wrong way, without getting her upset? I know there are many people like that in churches.
    It's more difficult to talk about sacred music to people you know (and believe in 'Prasie &worhip music) than to strangers to me.
    But the hope is that everyone is trying to do more than s/he has been doing in the right direction. Thanks to CMAA and the inspiration here.
  • Rather than starting off by telling her she is doing something "in a wrong way", how about the next time an opportunity presents itself talk about the positives about how you are doing it. Perhaps mentioning that, although you used to also play the piano at Mass, you have discovered how wonderful the chant is... how much the children like it... all the things you have learned (or in your case, perhaps, rediscovered). istm that there is no need to even go there in criticizing what she is currently doing... just puts her on the defense. Many of us have quite happily been in her shoes, singing the 'happy-clappy' music and thinking we were doing the Lord's work! A bit of exposure to what else is out there could end up making a difference. But she may not approach it with an open mind if it came with a harsh criticism.

    Just my opinion... [I would love to watch how you work with the children... I am so new to this! ]
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks Janet. You are right on focusing on positive. (how easy to complicate things and miss a simple truth!) I would start by saying how I was surpised to found that the children well responded in learning our traditional music, and kids mentioned that they are dilighted in each class that they are learning new words of Latin, the special language for the Church. (I could even show some simple English hymns that she can teach. They never sing a single traditional hymn.)

    Teaching children chants, I'm not an expert at all. I try and found out what works and what doesn't. Last week, one thing worked out very well that I didn't plan. I got a big easel and the pad for the class, and I usually write down the text on it. So they all focus on me and the pointer. Whether we are learning just the words or singing (at the beginning stage of learning the new chant,) I usually point each words. After a couple of times (often times I do that with listening to the CD, or I sing for them for a new chant), I asked them who could help me pointing the words on the board? So many kids wanted to do that , and they didn't mind singing the same chant over and over. Even the shy little ones came up to the front and did a perfct job. it was fun. Repeatition is important in learning, but have to be also a bit of fun. Well, Ithink I'll find a thread that I can put all the tips that worked so far and also hear from others. I think there's a thread, but if not, I'll start a new thread, "Teaching children chants , Tips, Tips, more tips"
  • Yes, Mia! That's definitely needed. [Let's find a time to set up a Baltimore/Washington 'chapter' meeting.]
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Daniel, I love to have a 'chapter' meeting. You know Dave Amann, he came to our schola practice to meet us. I was very happy to meet him, because he has a schola too (in a parish where singing chant is restricted to a minimum, like us.) We are planning to get together and start Vespers for both schola members (and friends), even once a month or every other month to start. Just so we can pray totgether. This will be really good.
    You must be at the church now. I 'snuck' the worship aid (I'd like to call it Libellus) of your church I got when I visited your church on top of music in our church. I hope our MD noticed it and see it's different from 4 sandwich hymns. Hopefully it might inspire her. (Our new MD is a good organist and very young. She likes tradtional hymns, but reluctant to use much latin and polyphony.)
    The music in your church was beautiful, and the priest CHANTS. I wish I can go there more often.
  • JennyJenny
    Posts: 147
    Hi Mia,

    If you are doing Vespers, I would love to know. I could probably get some other friends to come and sing as well. Chapter meeting, yea!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    I'm also very interested in having a chapter meeting. Why don't we get started? I'm hymnwriter at gmail dot com, and I would be happy to generate an email list if folks want to send me their addresses.

    If I remember correctly, a parish in Silver Spring, Maryland, was a possible hosting site, and Saturday mornings were convenient. Does this still sound like a good idea?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Silver Spring sounds good to me.
    Jenny, I'll let you know when Vespers starts.
    Kathy, do you need my email address? it's in the profile here. We should make an email address list and send it to everyone. That sounds like a first step, and set the date and time of the first meeting, and we can list any schola events (or related ones)of each parish.
    Ok Daniel, would you be able to host the meeting in your church? If so, why don't you tell us the possible time and the date?
    (We should move this discussion to something else, although we might be talking about 'On Eagles wings no more' at the meeting)
    It will be so nice to meet everyone in this area.
    (Sorry, I really know I talk too much all at once, my husband says so.)
  • I can host us at Saint Bernadette's in Silver Spring, which is immediately adjacent to two beltway exits (Colesville Road and University Boulevard). I need to check on one scheduling thing tomorrow morning, but can then offer several Saturday possibilities.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Daniel, one more thing to ask you. I tried to 'search'' the thread wash/ Baltimore chapter, I cannot find it. Do you remember when you posted?
  • it was
    Washington / Arlington / Baltimore ....
    last active September 14
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    Mia, I don't exactly need your email, but not everyone includes his/her email address in their profile. Plus, it would be helpful just to be contacted by those who are interested. Or maybe people don't want a list--but I usually find it helpful to have a list!