Great situations
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,203
    I was just thinking that we talk a lot about miserable pastoral situations, where support for sacred music is lacking.

    However, I know from experience that there are excellent situations, where the clergy and musicians work together well. So I thought I would start a thread on the subject.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,115
    I am new to the parish where I work (St. Luke Church, Palm Springs Fla). But I came here because of the marvelous leadership of the Pastor. He has instituted the propers at all the Masses, introduced the Gregorian ordinaries and wants me to build a choir school program for the kids. We meet every Monday and talk about the liturgies and what can we do. He is very involved in a good way but allows me to make my own path.

    I am incredibly fortunate, having come from a place not invested at all in the liturgy. To go from pathetic leadership in the archdiocese of Louisville to this place, which sees that liturgical reform is the basis for all parish life reform is amazing. I look forward to these next years. It will be hard work but the Pastor and I will walk the road together. I am truly blessed to be in such a place.

    Kevin (no longer in Kentucky and now in Florida).
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    Our pastor is incredibly supportive of the Propers, Ordinaries, and polyphony we do in both Latin and English. He trusts our judgment, offering gentle and thoughtful guidance. Our send priest (Nigerian) loves singing the Eucharistic Prayer, sometimes entirely in Latin.

    We are blessed. Our university parish has 18 Masses a week, and confessions every day.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    Glad to see that things worked out for you Kevin. As for me, I'm moving on to a new school with some great people.
  • I am now at 2 churches, and the new one is wonderful. The pastor is very supportive of chant, and we are blest to sing the introit after the opening hymn. Also, on major feast days, such as Assumption, we have mass in the EF. I am excited for the new parish.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,637
    I'm pleased with my gig, even though there are recruitment challenges. Today they threw a little party for my Schola with a cake (with real chant on it...I told people they had to sight-sing it if they wanted any) and a hefty gift card at a local eatery. I did a recruitment pitch, suggesting that there might be Catholic choristers off for the summer, who would still like to sing "in a Haugen-Haas free zone". That cracked the pastor up, but the best part...people kept asking about the reference. Some knew about Haugen, but not who David Haas is.
  • What heartwarming and inspiriting stories!
    We need more of this.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I've had a tenure of twenty-six years here in Central California, with three pastors and a merger over that span. It hasn't always been bread and roses, but the mother church is a church for a lifetime and one that I'll be buried from. (Actually interred, I don't much like wormword and earth.)
    We were blessed to have the support of starting an auditioned schola from day one. There still are original members, though our number has gone the way of the biological solution. We still can put out the dog and crank out the "Cantique de...." midst some other tried and trues, as well as pretty much sight read most St. James Press tunes. But, in this last year of professional service, I am looking forward to the General MacArthur fade away, and will prepare for a newer generation of direction and participation under a knowing and discretionary director.
    It's been quietly gratifying to go to the Target (Fr. pronunciation, please) when folks come up and say "You're the choir guy, great job!" with big smiles on their faces.
  • SarahJ
    Posts: 52
    I'm very fortunate to be employed by my parish. Both priests care deeply about the liturgy. Before they arrived, I was expected to play the usual OCP stuff - and despite playing in Catholic Churches for years, I didn't even know there were documents that state how the liturgy is supposed to be. In less than a year and half, everything is considerably improved, and for such a quick transition I think it went very smoothly.
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 209
    Without going into detail, I am at one of these parishes. Perhaps a good way to summarize it would be to describe a "liturgy committee" meeting: it consists of myself and the pastor chatting for 2-5 minutes once a week (or less often) over coffee in the kitchen at the parish office.
    Thanked by 1Kathy
  • Jon,

    Small liturgy committees which avoid the pitfall of needlessly dividing the parish into competing camps are a true blessing. Enjoy it, and thank God for it daily.
    Thanked by 1kevinf
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,203
    I worked with a priest whose liturgy committee meetings consisted of him talking about the witings of BVI for a few minutes, before going to get the book and make me a copy.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    witings of BVI

    I love this. One of the greatest wordsmiths of our era talks like Elmer Fudd, and walks B16 back a decade! Did you ever know dat you my he-wo?
  • doneill
    Posts: 191
    I am now in an excellent situation at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Houston. Fr. Reynolds never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge and intellect, and he is a wise and skillful pastor as well. He also sings most of the Mass. Starting this fall, music class will be compulsory for all grades in the parish school, and we are starting a variation of the traditional men and boys choir (with boys and girls, and women singing alto) that, as far as I can tell, is unprecedented in the entire city of Houston - not only in Roman Catholic churches, but across the board. That choir will sing for one Sunday Mass. It will take us a few years to get that choir and the school program up to full speed. I'm sure there will be some bumps along the road, but it's going to happen! Who can argue when your children love what they are doing?
  • doneill -
    I applaud both you and Fr Reynolds. What the two of you are doing should not be anything unusual. But it is unusual and nothing but an admirable and spiritually exciting precedent. Godspeed!!!

    Houston has had one choir of men and boys - for about a fifteen year period back in the seventies. At Trinity Lutheran I established a boys' choir which became a choir of men and boys on major feasts. Let us pray that what you and Fr Reynolds are doing will long outlast your presence there. At Walsingham we have a 'treble choir' of boys and girls which sing the soprano parts of some anthems and descants on great feasts.
    Thanked by 2doneill CHGiffen
  • doneill
    Posts: 191
    Jackson, thanks - we must meet up one of these days! You are right - it shouldn't be unusual. I consider it vital that children be the foundation of any sea change in the liturgy. Of course, you could hire great singers and do wonderful music immediately, but unless it takes hold in the community itself, it could easily be dismantled by a future pastor. But no priest in his right mind (although there are some who are not in their right minds) would block something wonderful with the kids, once it is established. I do pray that what we are doing (and in truth, it's not we are doing it, but the Holy Spirit; we're just facilitating it) will be an institution that will be around long after we are both gone from this earth! Some of the great choirs in Europe have been there for centuries - no reason we shouldn't as well.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,115
    What is so fascinating is that Doug (doneill) and I were in neighboring parishes that were sad situations for what turned out to be great opportunities and possibilities. Hope springs...
    Thanked by 2doneill CHGiffen
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    O.F. community in a very "Big 3" region/demographic, now nearing completion (August) of new cruciform church seating 900.

    Since I started in September we have implemented:
    -RM3 ordinaries
    -Chanted communion antiphon (English)
    -Hymn tune introits
    -Simple polyphony, as available voices allow
    -Budget for professional singers
    -...and most of the sacropop is out, with a growing repertoire of traditional hymnody (which the congregation is singing quite well)


    We've installed a temporary digital organ and will eventually have a real pipe instrument.


    During the month of May, a 4-week series of videos on sacred music was shown before each Mass - 3 of them from our priests and one from myself (DM)


    10 years ago there was a rock band up front, stage right, performing the things you'd expect with drum set, 3 guitars, tambourine, etc.

    This fall, the choir will sing from the (literal) west gallery, in a loft 18ft up, with an organ, with an actual Catholic repertoire. (And barrel-vaulted ceiling with a 50ft+ peak)


    Pray for our pastor. He's such a blessing to the church (as is our bishop) and the fruits are clearly seen already, even while we worship in the temporary space - increases in parish registration, Sunday attendance, and the collection baskets.

    It hasn't been without many struggles along the way, but the experience of this pastorate has been that if we just "do church," the faithful will be ever more present, participatory, and growing (both as individuals and in the weekend head-counts)
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,455
    I'm in a wonderful situation. I have a solid choir who love one another and, I believe, love me and my family.

    I have a priest who sings well, wants good sacred music and supports it. We have an associate who rocks (and sadly is moving). He wants to sing everything all the time and he is fantastic at it.

    I am supported as a musician, but also as a mother and everyone knows that my "mothering" job comes first. I've been at this parish for over to 13 years and I hope my time here never ends.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,354
    10 years ago there was a rock band up front, stage right, performing the things you'd expect with drum set, 3 guitars, tambourine, etc.

    This fall, the choir will sing from the (literal) west gallery, in a loft 18ft up, with an organ, with an actual Catholic repertoire. (And barrel-vaulted ceiling with a 50ft+ peak)


    Yes, but I have it on good authority that NO ONE IS HAPPY WITH ANY OF THIS and that PEOPLE ARE LEAVING IN DROVES because they just want to sing HAPPY SONGS ABOUT JESUS and not all of those TERRIBLE FUNERAL DIRGES THAT NO ONE LIKES.
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Yes, but I have it on good authority that NO ONE IS HAPPY WITH ANY OF THIS and that PEOPLE ARE LEAVING IN DROVES because they just want to sing HAPPY SONGS ABOUT JESUS and not all of those TERRIBLE FUNERAL DIRGES THAT NO ONE LIKES.

    "All we like sheep...."
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Yes, but I have it on good authority that NO ONE IS HAPPY WITH ANY OF THIS and that PEOPLE ARE LEAVING IN DROVES because they just want to sing HAPPY SONGS ABOUT JESUS and not all of those TERRIBLE FUNERAL DIRGES THAT NO ONE LIKES.


    I'm told that the new church will be empty.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,343
    Sing a new church into being, Ryan!
    Thanked by 1ryand
  • Adam,

    Your authority is.......
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    Its a long story.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • donr
    Posts: 949
    I was told that my children will leave the church if I keep forcing them to listen to traditional music in church.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,354
    Adam,

    Your authority is.......

    Oh, these are things that everyone just knows. People are saying these things, you know. Many people. Why, just the other day someone was saying this to me. It isn't just me. Lots of people are saying this.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,349
    Lots of people are saying this...

    a youge number, in fact. Believe me. I'm not making this up.
    Thanked by 2ryand chonak
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,630
    I have to say that I am happy with my current position, (now that a threatening problem to the program blew over, which some here might remember -- trouble-making parishioners who hate solemn liturgy and good music appear in every congregation, and some work with incredible vigour to destroy, but thankfully they didn't win this time!), and after that incident the choir came back stronger than before. I suppose it's an illustration of that old adage: "What doesn't kill you...".

    We have the beginnings of a chorister program (hopefully eventually mixed, but now only girls), with mixed adult ATB under them -- a choir which now numbers about 25 people, and chants the Propers every Sunday and Solemnity, and is learning a lot of new repertoire, in spite of the fact that most are not music readers, and I am very pleased with their hard work, on one rehearsal a week.

    I'm slightly nervous with a pastor-change coming next month, but I have no intention of changing anything I'm doing: better to let the new guy see all the crazy, rad-trad things we do like Gregorian ordinaries with ACTIVE CONGREGATIONAL PARTICIPATION! and chanted English Propers right off the bat, than lull him into a false sense of security thinking we do the four-hymn sandwich.

    I have been DM here for roughly ten years (it's hard to keep track, time flies so fast), and am amazed at the change in that time: from a group o' folk that never rehearsed anything and just showed up Sunday morning, and could barely sing in unison, to a choir that can learn the Communion Sunday morning and sing SATB motets. I am very proud of them.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,653
    As much as I will complain about them, the local SSPX chapel is slowly but surely getting better. A few Sundays back we had May Procession - followed by External Solemnity, Corpus Christi - followed by another Procession. We sang the whole thing and sang it beautifully. Yeah, they're kooky. Yeah, they have strange ideas about music. But they're family.

    (Speaking of family, could you please pray for my father? This past week he had his leg amputated.)
  • Prayers for your father.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    Prayers.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Lord, grant to our friend's father the sure knowledge he will never stand alone when facing adversity, In Christ's Holy Name, amen.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,398
    Prayers for your father, Stimson.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab