Sure, we're part of the diocese....aren't we?
  • A new Bishop has been named. The date of the ordination set.

    The Catholic School Music Director has a choir of 18, the Contemporary Music Group leader has a group of at least 15, the Choir Director has 42 in the Choir. All eagerly awaiting the call to participate in the planning of the music for the ordination. We hear that there will be at least one Cardinal there, and even a Bishop from another Rite! Wow! It's like Christmas...we can't wait.

    We finally get word. A choir member gets an email from someone who plays at another Parish telling him when the rehearsal dates are.

    That's it.

    Last year the Diocesan Chrism Mass music packet arrived, with egregious violations of copyright law, many problems....including an anthem published a few years ago based on a folk tune with PUBLIC DOMAIN scribbled on it...well yes, the TUNE the arranger set is Public Domain, but the arrangment sure wasn't.

    I notified the music committee of the diocese of the infringements and requested replacement music that was legal.

    They refused. Period. And went ahead with all these illegal copies in hand.

    Could that be why none of us have been included?
  • Yes, almost certainly.
    One must not question the Church Musical Industrial Complex.
    All [who love mediocrity] are welcome.
    We are Church.
    We do what We want.
  • soli
    Posts: 95
    I was ordering some music and noticed this at the bottom of their copyright page:

    "Note: In certain select instances, GIA is honored to extend free reprint permissions for the copyrights owned and administered by GIA Publications, Inc. Those cases include: ordination, religious professions, first Masses, conferences, and conventions. Contact GIA at or at 1-800-GIA-1358 if you have any questions about this type of permission"

    I wonder if they had some type of permission? However, the fact that they did not respond to you did not clear things up at all.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    I would put less emphasis on this being a deliberate snub than the typical catastrophic floundering seen in "big" events. Especially in Catholic big events. I've never been in a diocese that had a well organized and cooperative music environment and I believe much of the controversy starts off with a failure to communicate.

    Rather than ask on this blog, then, why not simply give a call to the coordinator, relate the figures you've posted here, and confirm the dates and times for rehearsal? Emphasize joyfully that you hope the rehearsal hall will be big enough for all of you and see if you can get a list of what is to be sung. Be public and thankful and be sure that everybody knows it.

    And if you can be sincere, all the better.
  • Ouch.

    This really does raise an interesting point. Sacred music these days really is in the back of the bus. For "unifying" events such as church dedications, Holy Week liturgy, ordinations, and the like, we are excluded. We are still consider a marginal interest, a peculiar thing that is not with the mainstream of the Catholic experience today.
  • For more than two years I have asked for email addresses of the other MD's in the Diocese and the Music Committee person who has the list has promised to send them to me next week. Every time I have asked...

    I am still waiting. The former actual unpaid musical director of the diocese is no longer part of the diocese...
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,204
    It would be time-consuming, and I'm sure you've thought of this already, but how about going to the diocesan website and from there visit the websites of the parishes with links. Sometimes e-mail addresses will be published on their websites or in their parish bulletins, which are also typically online (.pdf's). Or, call the main offices of each and ask for the name and e-mail of the DM's.

    Personal experience in several dioceses has led me to mistrust the front-line liturgy and music types at the diocesan level, most especially if they're entrenched lay-people. If a music/liturgy office is headed by a newer priest with a solid reputation on the other hand, I trust them. They might "flake out" occasionally, but they're typically as good as their word. In smaller dioceses, especially where the NPM has strong ties, I've found the diocesan-level folk are quite often "party hacks," who will sandbag you if your reputation as a "sacred music" type as opposed to "pastoral music" type is well-known.
  • When the copyright question was raised, there were claims made that they had permission...but they did not. And they just outright refused to do anything to correct the situation. It's very hard to maintain a 100% compliant parish music program, which we do, when the diocese does not.

    As the notice of the event is spreading by word of mouth, musicians in the diocese are finding themselves suddenly tied up that afternoon...wonder what bar we will all meet at? The last major ordination called the entire Mass Choir there for rehearsal. After sitting and standing for an hour and a half with no rehearsing at all...the ceremony began.

    It's not much of a snub, we just aren't invited to the of the members of the committee has been a good friend over the years, and this doesn't change things.
  • Official Notice Just Arrived:

    Music information regarding the Ordination of Bishop-Elect________

    When: _______________, at 2:30 p.m. (musicians arrive at 11:30 a.m. with
    rehearsal beginning promptly at 12 n.)

    Where: _________________

    Music to be performed: One set of music will be provided by mail to each
    parish to copy and distribute to musicians for deanery rehearsals (rehearsals
    only). Proper copies and binders will be given out at the Convention Center.

    All choirs and cantors are invited to sing in the choir, directed by _____________.

    Parish music directors, please send participants’ names and corresponding
    voice ranges to your deanery contact. (E-mail would be great.)

    Folk instruments are needed for some songs; orchestral instruments will be
    needed for some songs. Anyone interested should contact ___________ – leave a message if necessary and your call will be returned;
    E-Mail: ________________

    Depending on the number of people responding, we will decide on instrumentation.
    Any string players (violin, viola, cello, or double bass) of high school age
    and above, or who play in an orchestra, will be welcomed; also, competent
    woodwinds and brasses.

    One song will be sung by a Children’s Choir of school-age children up to eighth
    grade (elementary school age with treble voices). Any church which has children
    who wish to sing must teach the song (not difficult, but has four verses) and
    arrange for the children’s transportation. The song,"Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine,"
    will be sung during the prelude/processions from 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. All
    Children’s Choir members should arrive at the Convention Center by 1:00 p.m.
    Parish music directors, please send participating names, again, to your
    deanery contact.
  • The word COPIES is frightening...and there is no mention of competence in singing Gregorian Chant, nor good Latin pronunciation....and note that music directors are told to provide names, but are not invited to direct or even sing! Pull in the welcome mat, Maude, HERE THEY COME....THEY MIGHT.....CHANT!!!!!!!!!!!
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,188
    This is an example of the horizontalist, lowest common denominator attitude toward liturgy. Forget that it is the ordination of a bishop, a rite that not many of us get to see, much less do more than once in our lifetime. Forget that the sign of our apostolic tradition is being made in our very midst. Forget that it is not an easy rite to plan, one made much more difficult by the often large scale rooms that are made to be a church for a day.

    I am appalled by the wretched notions of planning for this. The sad thing is, this is more often the rule rather than the exception. Its why I cannot any longer stomach diocesan liturgies. The politically "correct" notions of having "everyone" participate despite their abilities mirrors many parish experiences.

    Sorry to be on my soapbox, but 20 years of being in stupidly planned diocesan liturgies comes out occasionally.
  • And, after Kevin's post, can I get an AMEN?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    Any idea what the new bishop does for music? I looked at his current parish site, but couldn't find much encouraging. The music minister put a notice in the bulletin to recruit teen musicians to play geetars and drums for the youth hootenanny, I mean Mass.
  • It is of interest that this youth Mass was not held in the main church, but a chapel, and ONLY youth were permitted to attend. I was impressed by what was not said...if that makes any sense.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 675
    A lot of this is probably just ignorance. The less that clergy and laypeople with church jobs are trained in music at least at some basic level, the less they appreciate the fact that you can't just wait till the last moment to decide on music, make sweeping changes in previously announced music, and rehearse choirs and instrumentalists. There's an unconscious expectation that musicians are like CD players, and that all you have to do is press the on button to hear something beautiful and perfectly made.
  • Maureen, I would agree except that they think that all you have to do is press the on button to hear something poorly done, and why should it be better?
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    A parishioner appeared in the loft last Sunday after a Mass, clutching a volumne of Buxtehude, and asked me to play a prelude and fugue he liked. I observed that I am not a jukebox (a line harpists use when asked for strange requests at receptions). My own interest and expertise lies in early Spanish organ music - and I stay away from the Germans because I don't have the interest to work them up. But he didn't care - and he didn't care if it sounded awful. I played 10 measures and told him to go home and learn it himself.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    We all have our areas of strength and weakness, along with individual areas of interest. My area of interest is French organ music of the 19th and early 20th centuries. I even like the French baroque much more than the German. So much of the German literature requires extensive practice, as well as having been written with Protestant worship in mind. Some of it doesn't even fit Catholic liturgy. But, I do drag out some well-known Bach and Buxtehude pieces for special occasions - assuming I can find the practice time. Non-musicians have no idea what it takes to competently play any kind of music, so I treat them with kindness. They tend to mean well.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,204

    Unless I'm mis-reading your entry above, I must say I'm a bit taken aback by your response to that parishioner's request.

    If I had been approached by a parishioner after Mass (it never happens, regardless if they have something good, bad or indifferent to say about music), with a Buxtehude score in hand no less (I would guess that of the approx. 3,000 people that attend Mass on any given weekend, perhaps 1/10th of 1 percent of them even know what an organ score looks like, let alone who Buxtehude was . . . nevermind Spanish Baroque, Old French or English Romantic), I would be doing handsprings in the church. If I didn't know it, I'd offer to learn it and play it in the following weeks. Perhaps its because of the seemingly invincible cultural ignorance I confront in my parish on a constant basis.

    Nevertheless, I would consider it a great complement if someone approached me and asked me to play a piece of legitimate organ literature, and given that I have my DMA in organ, would be shame-faced if I couldn't take a run at learning it.

    As for CharlesW's comment about so much German literature requiring extensive practice and having been written for Protestant worship, I daresay the organists at St. Agnes in St. Paul (nationally recognized for its dedication to orthodox liturgical practice and good music) would be ashamed of themselves if they knew so many of us elitists pour scorn on folks like them who abide the use of that verboten German Protestant Lutheran bilge. Awful. Just Awful. Don't they know any better? (Yes, perhaps I'm not being particularly civil, but I'm really fed to death with this non-stop vilifying of certain types of organ literature on this forum!)
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I'm with David. I WISH someone would demand Buxtehude of me. I'm actually quite a pushover/jukebox, so long as someone's demanding good music - although I had a boss who once asked me to play Bach's Prelude and Fugue in D Major - maaaybe not that one! At any rate, you now know there's someone in your church who appreciates good organ music, that in itself is a good thing! Perhaps consider leaning towards more north German organ music to please them?

    I don't read Charles as attacking those who play north German baroque literature, I thought he was just expressing a personal preference. And he is factually correct: neither Bach or the Catholics of his time would want his works played at Mass. It was written to be played in the context of a Lutheran Divine Service. That doesn't mean we can't use it for the Mass, particularly as the Ordinary Form of the Mass has a bit more in common with the early Lutheran liturgies than the Extraordinary Form did. But I would dare say that we couldn't get away with performing a full cantata in the context of Mass - although individual movements are dandy. In the same way, Charles would no doubt acknowledge that his beloved Organ Masses are inappropriate to the Ordinary Form of the Mass, being designed for a (now discouraged) form of Low Mass.

    There are those on this forum who believe music composed by, say, a Lutheran is inappropriate for use in a Catholic Mass. They are welcome to their opinions here, as are all of good will, even though others here may feel they're needlessly limiting the treasury of church music. However, I don't think CharlesW is one of them.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Every musicians has different preferences in what kind of music they want to play. Some are more stonger than others in this. We should respect music even if we don't like, but people also have to respect that musicians cannot just play all the music they request. If you cannot put your heart in certain music, how can you make music? That's one of the reason I quit playing organ in our parish. I just couldn't or didn't want to play all the music that's requested by people or by MD. I admire thsoe who can take that burden and stress. Somebody has to do it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    David Andrew, it sounds like your parish doesn't request high-quality organ literature very often, or at least that's the impression I get. I wouldn't accuse you of not being civil, just a bit overwrought on occasion. Perhaps where you work is a factor in that. After 61 years on this planet, I take most things in stride, even temperamental musicians and overly emotional parishioners. I can't see how anyone could survive in church music without taking most things with a large grain of salt. Gavin, you are quite correct. I do play selections from the Liturgical Year, but German baroque and the instruments designed for it, are definitely not my favorites. Again, you are correct that those cantatas wouldn't work in a Catholic liturgy. My own church instrument has more of a mid-20th-century American tone (think Schantz 1953) and it doesn't work well for the German literature. It does seem to do a credible job with Widor, etc. As Marie-Claire Alain once remarked when told a certain prominent instrument couldn't play Bach, "then play something else."
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    It's better to be asked for Buxtehude than to be asked for "On Eagle's Wings", at a Tridentine Mass, no less.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    "chonak CommentTime7 minutes ago edited
    It's better to be asked for Buxtehude than to be asked for "On Eagle's Wings", at a Tridentine Mass, no less."

    Incredible! I have been asked to play that before at an OF mass. I usually respond with something along the lines of:
    1.) That song is so closely identified with funerals anymore, I don't use it
    2.) It would be a good song for the Broadway stage, but is not sacred music
    3,) The accompaniment is all piano arpeggios, and I don't have time to re-write it.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Maybe the members of the diocese who favor chant could at least
    be represented through chant-based organ literature ...
  • There is a tremendous and useful library of organ music from France based upon chant....thank goodness! Much of it coming out of the practice of improvisation on the chants.

    To really solve the problem we need to write the next Mass of Creation.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Frogman noel,and eft, could you recommand some good organ music based on chant? I always look for more. Not too difficult ones please. (I have some Tournemire, J Langlais. I kind of enjoy looking at them now. But someday I'll have time to pratice, if my computer goes off.) I went to the web site above, cannot see the music inside and hard to tell which one to choose.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    This discussion should remain on-topic (sorry I wandered).
    I have created a new discussion
    Gregorian Chant: General: chant-based organ scores
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks, I appreciate that.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Back to Noel's original post, I would only say that you have to live here to understand the personalities involved and their agendas. They always behave predictably when it comes to music, but it's still kind of sad. What Noel is protesting is, I am afraid, the norm.
  • And they are well-meaning, within their own frame of reference, as far as I can tell.

    This would be a great time to do a premiere of a new work....there are some great composers out there (of which I am not one) that deserve the attention. It is so nice for an experience like this to filter back to local parishes. "You should have heard that piece. Wow. And the celebrant...he FACED THE ALTAR....and there were CANDLES AND A CROSS ON THE ALTAR!!!!!!"
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    Just to defend myself, the gentleman who wanted the Buxtehude played through for his personal entertainment when I had just finished one Mass and was getting ready to rehearse a different choir for the next one, with about 15 minutes for myself between. He is also an aspiring organist, but somewhat unstable personally. I am unfailingly generous and patient with parishioners. At the same time, there are people with whom one has to deal very carefully to avoid misunderstandings. And this is one of those people.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    mjballou, I believe you. I try to be kind to others, but I have one person who invariably stops by after mass and wants a copy of something I played - when I have little time to deal with him. He is an adult, but can't drive and is taken from place to place by relatives. There are definitely some emotional issues involved, too. There are times I wish I could be like one of my predecessors, who threw hymnals at choir members who sang wrong notes. But I can't do it. I don't know if this person realizes I am working, nor do I know exactly what he perceives or doesn't. But it seems there is always a similar person in each place I have worked. I suppose we just have to keep them in our prayers.
  • "one of my predecessors, who threw hymnals at choir members who sang wrong notes."

    Thanks for confirming what had been a rumor until now! It's all about...control.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    And that control is all in the wrist.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    It's no rumor, Noel. It's fact.
  • Oh. Well, this other TN parish where I am sort of at also had an incident of hymnal towards organist chucking by a DM prior to my arrival....and what I find interesting is that 100% of the attacks by hymnal have been precipitated by females [ducking and running]
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    Noel, you will have to send an e-mail to fill me in on that one. If you do, I will enlighten you on the individual I was referring to, which I don't want to do on the web.
  • There is a news release in the local Catholic paper that says (I am not kidding):

    "One set of music will be provided by mail to each parish to copy and distribute to musicians for rehearsal only. Legal copies and binders will be provided at the (site of ordination) on the day of the ordination Mass."

    So this means we are supposed to use illegal copies to learn from? The whole thing about copyright is that you MAY make a copy of something that you already own to make it larger or to eliminate a page turn...but you may not make a copy to avoid buying another copy of the music. So rather than providing legal copies for rehearsal, they are telling us publicly to violate the restrictions of copyright law.

    I know someone is going to pop up and say that they may have sought permission for this rehearsal copying....that's not how it works. They have to say "We have secured permission for X, Y and Z for parishes to copy the music we are sending out that must be destroyed by (name the date). Then it could be legal.

    And how far can YOU chuck a hymnal?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    I wonder whether they'll collect the legal copies after the Mass to prevent them from escaping the church.

    In some circumstances, I can't blame people for making an unauthorized transcription. If you want to change the arrangement, shift the voices around, etc. it's more practical to transcribe the piece in Sibelius/Finale/whatever, make the changes there, and print, rather than telling the choir to mark up their individual copies of the score with a dozen edits. So one would end up buying copies (not to be used) and printing an equal number of unauthorized copies as "study aids" or some such thing, and destroying them afterward.
  • Disappearing ink may be involved....
  • francis
    Posts: 10,700
    Bachs Sox Rocks! And Buxtehude is very gooda!
  • Follow Up to the Ordination

    The diocesan music committee chose to have the organist from a small town Methodist church, near where I live, play for the ordination, probably to the disappointment of those organists faithfully serving churches in the diocese (the Cathedral organist is a mild-mannered guy who can REALLY play!) who would be thrilled to be asked and to the relief of some who were dreading the pressure of it all.

    When the director fell and broke her elbow last month, there was rampant speculation about who would be picked to take over and conduct the massed diocesan choir and instrumentalists. Would it be the Cathedral choir director, with 18 years experience, she who studied at Westminster Choir College and arguably the best-trained director? Or the former music director at a parish here, she who is also a professional golf pro and was a board member of the American Choral Directors association?

    Well, no.

    [correction: I've been told that the Cathedral organist [the really capable guy] played the organ, while this guy conducted.]

    The above-mentioned organist from the Methodist church (an Episcopalian member of the church where my wife is director of music/organist) was granted the baton.

    Interesting choice, no?
  • You have to pity the poor new bishop coming in to that mess... who probably has no idea what the diocesan music committee has been doing.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    It's worth saying that some of the organists here were trying to avoid the whole thing like the plague.
  • I know, I know that I sank this, but Charles brings to mind the heaving of hymnbooks at people. With the heaving of hymnbooks apparently being statistically higher here [two miscreants, both moved on to other states] than other diocese, I'd think you'd still want a football helmet and pads.

    The security for musicians involved sniffing, they were not forced to sniff dogs to get in (here's a ripe one, Harry!) but cases, stands and such were sniffed, so can you imagine trying to take pads and a helmet in?

    "No, sir. It's not for football. No. Well, you see, the woman directing, well, she's been known to throw hymnbooks at, I'm serious."

    And as far as GIA, they no longer offer copyright permissions, all theirs have been assigned to OneLicense, so any music you come across that is copied that has the GIA copyright permission at the bottom and not the OneLicense one at the bottom is illegally copied and can cost big bucks for every copy in fines.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,951
    The original hymnal tosser who was once in my church, now lives in Kansas City. So he wasn't involved. This is a different set of folks, some of whom are overdue for retirement. And yes, I was warned the security was bad. I wasn't there but saw the ordination on streaming video. It's a good thing I don't drink!
  • A notice has arrived from the diocesan music committee that now there is not enough time to rehearse for the diocesan Chrism Mass, so they are going to do the same music that they did for the ordination, the same music they did for the last ordination.

    Charles, I have a contact at the local AA....

    [my wife was at a Presbyterian church that had given keys to everybody....and realized that they needed to end this practice, so they changed the locks and required all groups to sign for a key and give a contact name in case of emergency. One group refused because they are....anonymous.