Escaping the clutches of OCP
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 37
    My parish has used OCP for everything music-wise since its inception in 1994 —Breaking Bread, Respond & Acclaim, Today’s Liturgy, you name it. Our former music director was an OCP junkie and used anything and everything from them in his 20-year tenure.

    Our current music director told me this morning that we would not be renewing our subscriptions with OCP for the 2021 liturgical year. Part of it is because it would be a waste of money to buy missals that wouldn’t be used, but our music director has wanted to get away from OCP for a few years, now. I’m sure some parishioners will not like the change because Breaking Bread may be all they’ve known as Catholic hymnody, but this is a step forward in my eyes.

    I never thought I’d see the day.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 345
    I wonder how many parishes are going to forego renewing their OCP missal/hymnal subscriptions this year because of Covid-19 restrictions or budget constraints. OCP is vulnerable to suffering a significant decline in revenue, and once parishes have taken a break from the OCP musical ecosystem how many will realize they don't need OCP's disposable resources after all?

    I'm somewhat similar. I took a parish off of a Breaking Bread subscription, instead replacing it with a small number of OCP's Glory & Praise, Third Edition hymnals, which has a good number of traditional hymns in it and enough of the post 1980s standard good stuff to satisfy people as I steer the ship away from the contemporary-style music that isn't suitable for worship. I'm now projecting almost all the music on our large screens, which means we don't need anywhere near a 1:1 hymnal:person ratio, and I'm also thereby not limited by the contents of a hymnal; I'm leveraging the parish's ONE LICENSE subscription quite a lot and taking advantage of public domain resources. I worry that ONE LICENSE is going to price gouge its customers eventually.

    We're practically at the point where hymnals/missals aren't needed anymore because parishioners have their own Magnificat subscriptions or phone apps to follow the readings, if they want, and relatively cheap reprint licenses or public domain materials combined with desktop publishing software or projection technology allows parishes to create their own music participation aids each week.

    I'm interested to see whether Source and Summit is going to be worthwhile.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 134
    For just the briefest moment, I misread Breaking Bread as Breaking Bad.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Just curious, but what hymnal are you going to? Are you getting a durable, permanent one or using a better disposable option (something like St. Ignatius Pew Missal)?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    I retired at the end of July because of the Covid virus and I am also in a vulnerable age group. Home is a safer place to be. I used Ritual Song for 20 years because it had a good selection of traditional hymns and also because it was paid for. I used a WLP missalette for psalms - RS psalms were mostly horrid paraphrases by composers we all know and detest. I never allowed anything from OCP in the front door and considered that a wise decision.
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 37
    @Nathan_the_Organist,

    I don’t think the pastor or music director picked a new hymnal or missal. I’m under the impression that a weekly worship aid is the end goal. We’ve had a One License subscription for a while, now, so I believe that’s what will be used whenever we can put worship aids in the pews, again.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 197
    We have also used this opportunity to cut ties with OCP. For a little while prior to covid I was creating weekly worship aids anyway, so our current plan is for that to continue once singing is permitted again. I look to traditional hymnody and things in the public domain. I am big on engraving my own PD music anyway, so this isn’t too much of a stretch for me. I also use engraving hymns as an opportunity to put back proper gendered lyrics, Thee’s and Thou’s, etc. It’s also a great way to use alternate texts to well-known melodies that are otherwise ignored when only one text is printed in a missalette. My agenda is hardly a secret at this point. One License was prohibitive for us financially, besides which, I don’t like a lot of what they offer anyway. Perhaps one day in the future we will have to succumb, but I’m going to give it the old “college try” in the meantime. Fortunately there are oodles and oodles of old PD hymnals available online (in addition to my own personal collection). And for anyone else considering doing your own engraving/worship aids: Affinity Publisher is your friend.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • MarkB
    Posts: 345
    I think OCP is worried about parishes canceling their subscriptions. By now they've received a fair number of responses to the renewal notices that they sent out about a month ago, and they can extrapolate to a likely trend or see the writing on the wall. Today OCP posted an "exciting and new program" for parishioners to purchase their own individual missals.

    https://www.ocp.org/en-us/ppmp2021

    It amounts to nothing more than parishes continuing to purchase missal subscriptions, then reselling individual missals to their parishioners for personal ownership and use instead of pew use.
  • I think that going without a hymnal and just printing worship aids can sometimes be the best solution since you after not limited to the repertoire that someone else had chosen. You can put any hymn text with any compatible tune giving you considerably more flexibility. Of course, you have to take extra time each week to make a worship aid and put it in the pews, but no system is perfect.

    Questions for those that have gone to weekly worship aids:
    How does the yearly cost of printing each week compare to the cost of hymnals?
    Do you print the mass setting in the worship aid, or do you have a separate card that sits in the pews with just the mass setting in it? I'm thinking about how much reprinting it each week adds to wasted paper, ink, and by extension money.

    I know that's a lot about money, but I guess that's what happens when you are both an accountant and a Church musician.
    Thanked by 1ServiamScores
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 197
    We did the math last year and figured it would still cost substantially less to print worship aids than to buy the missalettes (and we even get the thin ones that don't have a "hymnal" section in the back!). We also calculated that if we stopped buying them we could purchase new hard-bound hymnals or 3yr permanent missals in 2.5 years time if we simply shifted the funds from OCP to the book of choice. This would get us a better quality book and no more waste. My main issue with OCP is that you pay for the same thing over and over and over and over and over again. I SHUDDER to think of how much we have paid Owen Alstott in royalties for the use of his psalms. He must have a private island by now. Our parish has used his psalms (and the annual batch of psalm books for the choir) every year for about 20 years. The choir practically knows them by heart and we just sight read them through once at the end of rehearsals on Wednesdays. At one point my predecessor stopped ordering the books and just kept a few batches of old ones and swapped them out each year.

    To do the math you have to figure how you design your worship aids and what your per-print fee is (if you rent a machine) and how many reams of paper you'd use.

    Ultimately, there's no love lost for us to part with our missalettes and the hymnals which, while not terrible, are feeling long in the tooth.

    That said, it IS a lot of work each week to design them and you have to have someone who is good at it and who likes the work. In my case, I enjoy that type of graphic design and I love music engraving, so it isn't an issue for me to do it. I enjoy it and I like to make them look beautiful. I use Dorico to engrave the music and Affinity Publisher to put it all together.

    In our case, we've experimented with a few different formats. Our pastor isn't interested in reprinting the text of the readings since they are meant to be proclaimed anyway. So we've settled on a letter-sheet front and back (sometimes two stapled together at the spine but this takes a lot more time to prepare) folded in half with just the music and proper texts if there is room. A friend of mine prints larger worship aids with ordinaries in them; he does an 11x17 trifold. Mind you, his budget is much larger than mine and 11x17 is more expensive to order. I've also considered legal bifolds just to get a bit more width but we haven't really tried that yet.

    During Advent/Lent we sing Missa XVII and I've designed this pew card which has been laminated and we used to keep it in the pew backs. We alternate with another so we have two copies, one with each Marian antiphon. We have been transitioning to Michael Olbash's Mass in Honor of Our Lady, Star of the Sea and so I made a worship aid for that too but unfortunately that all fizzled out around the time of Covid. I'll probably have to make some larger worship aids with the ordinary in them once we are permitted to sing again.
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 37
    @ServiamScores,

    Thank you for your insight on the weekly worship aids.

    I have looked at examples of worship aids across our diocese, and I really like our cathedral’s worship aid. It’s an 8.5 x 14” trifold, and the hymns are printed on them, along with the music for the psalm, Gospel Acclamation, and Mass parts. It all fits on there and is able to be read easily—no squinting.

    I should also note that our current pastor wanted the hymns printed in the bulletin each week (we started doing this prior to the pandemic), which works, but he doesn’t want the music printed—only the lyrics. The people of the parish detested this and asked us if we could go back to announcing the hymns from Breaking Bread, so we did.

    Since the public Masses have resumed in June, we have gone back to printing the lyrics in the bulletin because there are no hymnals, and the bulletin is single-use, as the parishioner takes it home with him or her at the end of Mass. They still groan about no music being included. I hope he changes his mind about printing the music with the lyrics because some people have flat-out refused to participate because they want the music.
  • Caleferink
    Posts: 325
    If you want to do weekly worship aids in lieu of hymnals, you might also check with your bulletin publisher if you use one about either printing the worship aid within the bulletin or printing the worship aids separately and shipping them with the bulletins. It may be worth the extra cost if it means freeing up time from doing the printing, folding, etc. yourself as well as wear and tear on your machines.

    I think having the music along with the text is a must. Even if people don't read music, they can at least tell by looking at it when to move up and down in pitch (even if not hitting it correctly). Maybe one can get away with text only for extremely well-known hymns (think "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name"-common), but that would be an exception. I would strongly recommend printing the Mass ordinary in your bulletin/worship aid or have it in print somewhere, again both text and music (a card in the rack is a good idea as someone suggested above) for those who might be visiting or otherwise unfamiliar with the respective setting being used that day/season.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 345
    From the standpoint of projection slides as a hymnal replacement, I've attached a handout version of the PowerPoint file that I created and the parish used at a pandemic-postponed Confirmation Mass recently.

    I know projection screens are hated by some here. I've grown to appreciate them more as I have had to use them. They have some advantages. I know some people won't like some of the music selections; understand that I took over the program just five months ago and am working with what they know mostly. In addition to what's on the slides, I chanted the Veni Creator Spiritus during the anointing with chrism; probably the first time that has been chanted in that parish in decades, if ever, and I have introduced chanting the Communion antiphon at the beginning of Communion as a regular practice.

    Some practical things about slides as hymnal replacements: it's a huge expense upfront for the hardware, but then practically nothing except labor to create the files. I agree that it's important to include music along with lyrics, but formatting that for slides so that it can be easily read (large size) and sung (phrasing on each slide with no or few awkward slide breaks) requires engraving skill. In my engraving software I set the output page size to a 4:3 ratio, which is our projector slide ratio. After I enter the music, I size it large enough to be read easily from the back of the church. Then, as much as I can, I adjust the system breaks so that each slide has one or two musical phrases on it and the transitions between slides are at natural breaks in the singing. It was more time consuming when I was first getting the hang of it. Now I can engrave a new song in 30-60 minutes, depending on its length and the number of edits I have to make to format it well for the slide transitions. The copyright information and ONE LICENSE number accompany the music, as required, but unobtrusively.

    I have been building a library of song files from week to week, as I have had to create new music slides. When a song or setting of the Mass ordinary is repeated in the future, I don't have to re-engrave it; I copy the file from the library and paste it into the new Mass slide deck.
  • ServianScores,

    Thanks for the insight on making worship aids. I had always wondered what the cost savings were to do them as opposed to normal hymnals. Ithink the time to make them would be the most prohibitive to do something similar at my church. Most of the staff is part time, and the ones that are full time have plenty of other things to do.

    We have been using the St Ignatius Pew Missal. It is cheaper than Breaking Bread and most of the material that is missing from Breaking Bread, we would not have sung anyways. We do makes cards with the mass setting that we put in the pews with the hymnal. We print these on cardstock so they can be used for multiple years. We just switch them out with the changes in liturgical season.
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 37
    @Caleferink,

    Yes, I agree that printing the music is a must. I do not understand why our pastor doesn’t want it printed. Not all of the stuff we do is well-known. I asked my music director if it was a matter of space (limited pages in the bulletin, perhaps), and she said that there was indeed space, but the pastor is just insistent that printing the music is not necessary.

    I tell the people in the pews that ask me why music isn’t printed in the bulletin to raise their concerns with the pastor. Maybe enough of their complaints will get him to change his mind. It’s really hindering many parishioners’ participation. It’s disheartening.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 545
    If you haven't been able to change his mind, then it's up to parishioners. If those fighting against us are able to be loud and obnoxious enough to effect change, then those on our side being loud (but hopefully not obnoxious) is what we should be doing as well.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,509
    A former pastor would not allow us to print music. It was something about unappealing pew clutter and the fact someone had to clean it up. Pet peeve, I guess.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,106
    @MarkB,

    Who cues the slides for you?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 345
    A volunteer runs the slides and the sound mixer.