Rant: Sacred musician as hero
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    I believe the sensory experience of music itself has the power to change hearts. This is both why our hierarchy wants music in the liturgy and why the hierarchy has always attempted to keep music constrained. Even so, the hierarchy knows it cannot control music, so it must control musicians. It keeps them confused about what it wants: look at the disconnect between documents and statements and what actually is implemented by bishops and priests. It keeps them defensive through verbal obfuscation: look at the constant redefinition of terms like congregation/assembly; presider/celebrant; sacred music/liturgical music/ritual music. It keeps them cowed through the constant promotion of untrained or undertrained persons into positions of musical leadership: look at the typical American parish.

    Like society in general, the hierarchy is afraid of the power of art and music and so marginalizes artists and musicians. How do we know we are marginalized? Even though society throws huge money at a few secular artists, most of our (public and private) education deprives the great majority of children of any meaningful artistic experience or training. Even though the hierarchy writes and preaches of music and art's importance, little of quality is supported (think salaries and working conditions) or attempted (think lack of vision).

    Many of those who read and write for this blog are, in fact, heroes. Why? Because they carry on with artistic integrity in work situations which are, at best, tolerant of their efforts. Because they know that the sounds they produce affect their listeners in a positive way (even though that way cannot be verbally defined). Because, most of the time, they produce beauty in the face of oppressive indifference. fear and, all too often, jealousy.
  • Priests who are inclined to do things well will surround themselves with people who excel. Those who don't will be surrounded by those who don't, or will make those who do, miserable.

    Or, as it may otherwise be said: small men will surround themselves with smaller men. Great men with great. Rare and wise are those who surround themselves with talents that exceed their own - and encourage them.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    I have known some in high places who surrounded themselves with incompetent underlings. It made them look superior in comparison. It happens in the church, too.
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 377
    Look at the career of JS Bach, constantly having to work for inept Philistines, but producing some of the greatest music of all time. (As well as 20 children). Someone to look up to.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,674
    Things are different than in Bach's day. In the early days, even through the time of Bach, the only way for a musician to survive and prosper was through the support of a patron. There were no public concert halls, ticket sales, and other means of support. You either had to have a church job or a patron. Many, including Bach, had both.
  • (deleted)
  • Maybe I'm just a bad person but I don't think of my efforts as heroic, and my basic goals and motivations aren't quite as high and lofty as some here might think they should be. At the end of the day I have to face God and face myself, and know that if I don't give my best effort I might not be able to provide for myself and my family. I do
    work for and under people who don't even have a college degree let alone formal musical training, and while this is irritating I don't consider it a heroic effort to tolerate them. Maybe I'm just lucky that they're decent and intelligent enough to tolerate sans "training".