Anyone going to the NPM convention?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    Just curious. I wonder how long before the association dissolves. I don't think anyone in my diocese is a member nor goes to events anymore.
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 978
    Until I became a member here, I didn't even know the organization existed.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,217
    I have known about them for years but the church stopped paying the membership fees a good 15 or so years ago. The pastor at the time said we had grown past anything they had to offer. I haven't paid much attention to NPM since. Now that I am retired, I care about them even less.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,017
    A fellow church musician said that when this entity was being formed after the council that there were actually fisticuffs on the convention floor betwixt those who were excited that 'now we can have beautiful solemn high masses in English like the Anglicans', and those who were determined that nothing of the sort would come to pass. Unfortunately the latter won the day. If, as it should be hoped, the NPM folds, it would be good riddance.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,217
    A priest who was at that early meeting told me about the fisticuffs. It really happened. He also said some of the early leaders hoped to reform and refocus the organization but abandoned it when they realized it was impossible.
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • Clarification for my own understanding, NPM is the super liberal, praise and worship type church musician group, right?
    Thanked by 1Brian Michael Page
  • Nathan,

    NPM is an abbreviation for National Association of Pastoral Musicians. When I stopped following them, just before my oldest son was born, they were advancing music and praxis which (more or less) said "the past has nothing to teach us", and, accidentally, "Look at our glorious mediocrity".
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 185
    NPM is the super liberal, praise and worship type church musician group, right?


    The following don't belong in the same sentance:

    super liberal,


    praise and worship


    NPM is largely devoted to advancing the interests of publishers who are largely incompetent at praise and worship.

    Most composers of praise and worship music are theologically conservative.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,686
    NPM is the super liberal, praise and worship type church musician group, right?


    Just to expand on jclangfo's clarification, "praise and worship" music originated among Evangelical Protestants and was expanded particularly by charismatic denominations such as Vineyard and Hillsong. It is often devotional and emotional in content, with repeated material intended for easy singing by large groups led by a stage band with one or more soloist "worship leaders". While a parish with several thousand people is no big deal among Catholics, a congregation of several thousand is often called a "megachurch" among Protestants. The commercial Christian-music industry was an instrument in the spread of this music, as it was played on Christian radio stations, and available for sale to the public.

    This term does not include most of the "contemporary" music sung in average Catholic parishes in the US and Canada; 1960s-1970s "folk mass" music has mostly faded away and been succeeded by later (post-1980) compositions. Some people call this music "sacropop" though it's really not based on pop music: theater is a bigger influence. Let's call it "contemporary Catholic", though that's not a perfect term either: some prominent authors in the field are not Catholics.

    Doctrinally ambiguous lyrics are more often an issue in the contemporary Catholic category than in P&W. P&W music avoids saying anything heretical about the sacraments, because it's mostly designed for Protestant audiences and therefore rarely talks about sacraments. In the recent document about church music from the US bishops' doctrine committee, none of the songs they cited as problematic examples were in a P&W style: while some Catholic musicians have adopted it, it doesn't have a dominant presence in parishes.

    Oh: but this is a digression.

    While NPM mostly advances the interests of big publishers of parish music, it usually does (to its credit) have presentations on chant for its members who are interested.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    For an example of a Catholic parish that's attempting to transplant genuine Evangelical praise and worship music into the Mass, jump around the video here:
    https://youtu.be/BHAsS0vxj-A?t=342

    This parish is across town from Saddleback Church, which is the dominant Evangelical megachurch in south Orange County, CA, pastored by Rick Warren. Saddleback is influencing the way Catholics worship in the region: quite a few parishes there use at least half their music at Mass from CCLI licensing (a P&W licensing organization) instead of from traditional Catholic publishers.

    Here's another example at a different nearby parish:
    https://youtu.be/WhfNJva8ABk?t=389

    Listen to those videos; that's what P&W music is. OCP's "Spirit & Song" catalogue is a mostly failed attempt by Catholic composers to imitate the successful style of Evangelical P&W music but for Catholics.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,542
    MarkB

    Could only listen to about 10 seconds of each vid, and then had to close the page. The only word I can use to describe this is... repulsive.

    Thanked by 2KARU27 ServiamScores
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,017
    Contrary to what some teach and profess -
    Just because sacred, and 'theologically conservative' words are wedded to musical dross does not make an acceptable liturgically sound work of it. One could, for instance, set theologically conservative sacred words to the melody 'Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer', or 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' or a secularly inspired music - but that wouldn't make of it an acceptable hymn, far from it. Such would be a tasteless parody of the mass and would be tolerable only amongst irreverent folk for whom everything must be fun = and not, please, 'churchy'.

    It is not only the text, but the music which conveys reverence, prayer, praise, devotion, and awe. Music is thought, and, then, it too conveys appropriate emotion and prayer; it, too, informs intellect, conscience, and spirit.

    Plato (amongst others) taught us that near 2,500 years ago. Some still haven't learnt it.
    Thanked by 1rich_enough
  • Jackson,
    Have you seen/heard the CD called Pigorian Chant?
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    While NPM mostly advances the interests of big publishers of parish music, it usually does (to its credit) have presentations on chant for its members who are interested.

    I think it's noteworthy that both OCP and GIA appear to be phoning it in this year: offering prerecorded video showcases instead of live.
    https://www.npmsecure.org/conventions/brochure.php
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 873
    Listen to those videos; that's what P&W music is. OCP's "Spirit & Song" catalogue is a mostly failed attempt by Catholic composers to imitate the successful style of Evangelical P&W music but for Catholics.

    Maybe I'm not listening closely enough, but I hear the same solo singing style, the same individualistic lyrics, the same chord progressions, the same silent congregation, the same disconnect between the music and Catholic liturgy and spirituality with both "authentic" P&W and its Catholic imitation.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,017
    Chris -
    No.
  • jclanfo, on that day I posted that, I went to their website, and one of the first things I saw was a black lives matter statement talking about inclusivity. Also, the church I grew up at was quite contemporary and liked praise and worship music. I would say it is also one of, if not the most liberal church in my diocese, which has quite conservative leadership. I would say that you are quite different from the other contemporary musicians I have interacted with. I would not put you in the liberal category, but many of the other contemporary musicians I would.
    Thanked by 1jclangfo
  • Also, that is quite an amazing book, Chris. Thank you for introducing me to that one.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 8,017
    My favourite neume is the porkulus.
    Also, it is very important to get the liquescence just right on words like 'oink'.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,686
    Thanks to MarkB for posting the example videos. I've only listened to a little so far, and I thought there were certainly weaknesses about the entrance song heard in the video. On the other hand, it was an attempt to evoke a real sense of adoration toward God, something which is rather remote in a lot of average parish music.
  • KARU27
    Posts: 151
    The "opening song" though - - "Here I am to worship" - - Yay for meeee!

    Is there a better example of the "Jesus is my boyfriend" genre?

    "Here I am to say that You're my God and
    You're altogether lovely, altogether worthy,
    altogether wonderful to me"?
    Breathlessly crooned into the microphone.
    Thanked by 2chonak CHGiffen
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 185
    I though that was a poor rendition of Here I Am To Worship, for a number of reasons. The most significant are that the lead singer used an overly commercial vocal style that strayed from the normal rhythm and pitch of the song and likely intimidated the congregation out of singing. You can hear that the singer is often not lined up with the rhythm of the guitar. And that leads to the second issue here, it seems that the accompianment is only a single acoustic guitar being played at what I would consider an intermediate level of ability.

    Here's the original version of the song:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86v2ZEsEKW8

    A Catholic parish would need a lot of resources to sound like the original recording, but I just want to make the point that this song was intended to sound much better than the parish video makes it sound. Here's a live version that a Catholic parish that invested in a contemporary music ministry could pull off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUywjZrfslQ

    I reguarly play this song for my contemporary choir.

    "Here I am to worship" - - Yay for meeee!


    Since when did singing about worshiping Jesus equal "yay for me"? Seriously. By similar logic, "Holy God we praise Thy name" is "yay for we."

    "Is there a better example of the "Jesus is my boyfriend" genre?
    Here I am to say that You're my God and
    You're altogether lovely, altogether worthy,
    altogether wonderful to me"?


    Again, I feel to see how singing about worshiping God = Jesus is my boyfriend. The quoted text is a noble sentiment to have in worship of God. Furthermore, I don't think you can credibly make this claim about a song whose lyrics discuss sin and the death of Jesus. Full lyrics, for comparison:


    Verse 1
    Light of the world
    You stepped down into darkness
    Opened my eyes let me see
    Beauty that made
    This heart adore You
    Hope of a life spent with You

    Chorus
    So here I am to worship
    Here I am to bow down
    Here I am to say that You're my God
    And You're altogether lovely
    Altogether worthy
    Altogether wonderful to me

    Verse 2
    King of all days
    Oh so highly exalted
    Glorious in heaven above
    Humbly You came
    To the earth You created
    All for love's sake became poor

    Bridge
    And I'll never know how much it cost
    To see my sin upon that cross
    And I'll never know how much it cost
    To see my sin upon that cross

    Tim Hughes
    © 2000 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)


    Copyrighted text reproduced for the purposes of critical analysis, which is specifically exempted from copyright enforcement.

    Here I Am To Worship is a good worship song. If what you hate about this song is that it isn't Gregorian Chant, that really isn't fair and doesn't make this specific song worthy of your ire. This song is a huge step up from Gather Us In in essentially every measurable facet. Some of us live in a reality where we are picking hymns that match the readings rather than chanting the antiphons. For those of us in that reality, I don't think a compelling case has been made for why Here I Am To Worship is a significantly worse choice than any other hymn.
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 191
    Perhaps because it is written in the style of popular music with popular instrumentation and a popular vocal style, therefore making it inherently secular and un-sacred in nature and unsuitable for use at Holy Mass?
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,219
    BINGO! @trentonjconn You can argue all you want: you still can’t square that circle. Christian pop music is not suitable for the Mass because of what it IS.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 924
    I've said it elsewhere and I'll state it again in this thread: there's nothing wrong per se with Christian pop music. It has a place: on the radio in the car. It's far better to listen to christian lyrics (often quoting or referencing Sacred Scripture) in a contemporary style as a part of ordinary life than most of the licentious and down right vile music that is broadcast everywhere. It's perfectly acceptable driving/jogging/mowing the lawn/working in the garage/background at a party music. The problem is that it is not the music that is appropriate for Mass.

    "Catholic Praise music" and Catholic "sacred music" are (and should be so) be two very different things. They are exclusionary when viewed through the light of sacred liturgical tradition.

    Often I find we are eager to disparage it as not qualifying as "sacred music" (and rightly so—it is not sacral in the traditional sense) but what often filters through is only a sense of disdain which is then perceived as a hatred for the people who like that music.

    To be clear: I do not hate the music in se (although I do not listen to it) nor the people who listen to it. It just has no business being offered at Mass.
    Thanked by 2KARU27 rich_enough
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    The "Jesus is my boyfriend" lyric phenomenon is real. I'm going to start a separate thread about that since this thread was originally about NPM's convention not P&W music.
    Thanked by 1KARU27
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,691
    jclangfo - "I though that was a poor rendition of Here I Am To Worship" I haven't found the "that" to which you refer among the various links posted above. Your analysis seems interesting, so can you clarify for me where it is please.

    ServiamScores - but you recently quoted
    De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia: 4. “Sacred music” includes the following: a) Gregorian chant; b) sacred polyphony; c) modern sacred music; d) sacred organ music; e) hymns; and f) religious music.
    Surely P&W comes in under (f), which however does mean that is normally right for Mass.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    Here, a_f:

    For an example of a Catholic parish that's attempting to transplant genuine Evangelical praise and worship music into the Mass, jump around the video here:
    https://youtu.be/BHAsS0vxj-A?t=342
    Thanked by 1jclangfo
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    Kind of back to the original topic, I saw that this week PrayTell published this interview with the new CEO of NPM:

    https://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2021/06/21/in-interview-npms-jennifer-kluge/

    Not quite 600 convention registrations; 25% of those are virtual, streaming attendees.

    Under 4,000 members and declining.

    I don't think NPM has a future.
  • Mark,

    Such hopeful news, and yet it can't be denied that jclangfo and others who agree with him (Pax Melodious comes to mind) will continue to insist that what NPM proposes is the real world future of Church music, not some ivory-tower Gregorian chant or fussy recital music.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 924
    AF- one has to qualify those terms, however, which the document goes on to do:

    7. Modern sacred music is likewise sung in many voice-parts, but at times with instrumental accompaniment. Its composition is of more recent date, and in a more advanced style, developed from the previous centuries. When this music is composed specifically for liturgical use it must be animated by a spirit of devotion, and piety; only on this condition can it be admitted as suitable accompaniment for these services.


    P&W wouldn’t seem to fit as “suitable accompaniment for these services”. It does not evolve naturally out of the [liturgical] musical praxis of previous centuries but out of ardently secular music.

    Even more damning though, is #10:
    10. Religious music is any music which, either by the intention of the composer or by the subject or purpose of the composition, serves to arouse devotion, and religious sentiments. Such music “is an effective aid to religion” (Musicæ sacræ disciplina, idem.). But since it was not intended for divine worship, and was composed in a free style, it is not to be used during liturgical ceremonies.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 670
    jclangfo frequently makes a good point that liturgical music doesn't only have to be Gregorian chant. I can support the judicious use and restrained performance of praise and worship music at Mass, if that's where the community is at and if that's what helps the community pray. Moves should be made to expand upon P&W to introduce or include some chant in vernacular and Latin and other recognized and common Catholic liturgical music instead of relying only on P&W, but the P&W genre does have music that could be used effectively and appropriately as liturgical music for some communities.

    I wouldn't introduce P&W where it wasn't already being sung or that didn't have a very, very large college-age population. The only P&W song I think I used, which I have quietly retired, was "In Christ Alone", which I would only ever program as a prelude piece; never during Mass itself. That song is more in the style of a hymn than much P&W music. But just because I don't use P&W doesn't mean I oppose P&W music; in some parishes and settings it could and should be used.

    I do disagree with the tendency of P&W bands to contemporize traditional songs so that every song has to be performed with a rock beat. Consider this contemporization of "Holy, Holy, Holy" published by OCP:
    https://youtu.be/FIHEx-cpaSs?t=28

    In so many parishes, music directors have to make pastoral judgments about what music the community will accept, put up with, are ready for, will appreciate being introduced to, want to sing or want to hear, and what will help them pray given where they are, and where they can and should be led. That can be dishonestly used as an excuse not to move in the direction of traditional, sacred music, but a responsible music director will not use it as an excuse to avoid expanding a parish's repertoire beyond styles they already know and love to what accords more with the mind of the Church.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,681
    Since when did singing about worshiping Jesus equal "yay for me"? Seriously. By similar logic, "Holy God we praise Thy name" is "yay for we."

    I beg to differ. "Holy God, we praise Thy name" is not "yay for we" music. It is a paraphrase of the first part of the centuries old Latin Te Deum laudamus. Indeed, when all 7 stanzas are sung (or 8 when H.T. Henry's 7th stanza is interpolated into C.A. Walworth's translation), instead of the present day default first 4 stanzas, one has a noble vernacular paraphrase of the venerable "Te Deum laudamus" - for example, as in my own full setting (also available at CPDL).

    This not "yay for we" music; on the contrary, with pardon for employing the "yay" epithet, this is "yay for God" music.

    Added: The original thread with my setting is here, along with more commentary about the text of HGWPTN.
    Thanked by 1sdtalley3
  • Liturgical music doesn't have to be Gregorian chant. True.
    I can support the judicious use and restrained performance of praise and worship music at Mass, if that's where the community is at and if that's what helps the community pray


    I can't. The praying we're supposed to be helping the community foster is that which is pleasing to God.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,691
    likely intimidated the congregation out of singing.
    I agree. There is, of course, a straightforward way to get the PIPs to start singing, which is for the celebrant to chant 'The Lord be with you' to the music provided in the Missal and follow with the third form of the penitential act, again chanted by the celebrant. This breaks the inhibition, easily if you ensure that key members of the congregation AND the altar servers are primed to respond in chant (and ensure that the cantor is nowhere near a microphone).
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 185
    yet it can't be denied that jclangfo and others who agree with him (Pax Melodious comes to mind) will continue to insist that what NPM proposes is the real world future of Church music, not some ivory-tower Gregorian chant or fussy recital music.


    NPM doesn't speak for me and I would consider myself in opposition to most of what the organization seems to stand for.

    The genre of music I am interested in has nothing to do with the music of Haugen and He Who Shall Not Be Named. If you hate P&W, please hate it on it's own merits and not by guilt by association with craziness from the 70s.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • The craziness of the 1970s included, but isn't limited to, the use of Praise and Worship music in the context of Mass.

    Keeping Jeffrey Morse and Lucy Carroll in mind, there certainly has been an undercurrent of such stuff for years. So long as the superstructure was intact, there was a safe place for Bring Flowers of the Fairest, but with the advent of the Missal of Paul VI, mediocrity (musically and otherwise) became the norm.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,691
    Not sure what you mean here, are you suggesting Jeffery Morse is giving chant courses at the Colloquium as a disguise for P&W? I remember in the 70s the precentor of Westminster Cathedral remarking that 'of course the St Louis Jesuits derive their music from chant'
    So long as the superstructure was intact
    And is that just the musical superstructure, or more fundamentally?
  • jclangfo
    Posts: 185
    Yeah, I have no idea what is being referred to here:

    The craziness of the 1970s included, but isn't limited to, the use of Praise and Worship music in the context of Mass.

    Keeping Jeffrey Morse and Lucy Carroll in mind, there certainly has been an undercurrent of such stuff for years. So long as the superstructure was intact, there was a safe place for Bring Flowers of the Fairest, but with the advent of the Missal of Paul VI, mediocrity (musically and otherwise) became the norm.


    While praise and worship is derived from many older traditions, praise and worship as a distinct genre did not exist at any point in the 1970s. The earliest plausible exemplars of the genre come from the 80s and basically everything still in use comes from the late 90s or later.

    I have no idea what superstructure is being referred to. The goals of NPM in the heyday of post Vatican II craziness have little in common with the goals of the conservative evangelical churches who (along with John Michael Talbot) are the primary creators of the genre of praise and worship.

    I want to be part of liturgies where we say the black and do the red (might have red and black reversed, typing this on my phone haha not sure). My understanding of the liturgical documents of the Church is that contemporary music is allowed and thus compatible with the rubrics. I want the liturgical documents of the Church to be followed.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,219
    Just because something isn't explicitly excluded in the plain text of the liturgical documents doesn't mean its use during the sacred liturgy is laudable or a good idea. The music you advocate for is so informal and secular in style. There is nothing elevated or hieratic about it. That's just what it is. It's not wicked nor poisonous, but it's not appropriate for Mass.

    I think none but the most ardent ideologues would suggest CCM/P&W/whatever should be proscribed in every circumstance, but it doesn't belong at the foot of the Cross and is completely incongruous with the august Sacrifice being offered. You keep trying to square the circle and it can't be done.
  • pfreese
    Posts: 138
    “I want to be part of liturgies where we say the black and do the red. My understanding of the liturgical documents of the Church is that contemporary music is allowed and thus compatible with the rubrics. I want the liturgical documents of the Church to be followed.”

    My first year out of college I helped out at the local Newman Center that some of my FOCUS-type missionary friends ministered at. The music ministry uses the sort of P&W that jclangfo describes but everything else about their masses was very orthodox and by the book (male servers in cassocks & surplices, bells, Benedictine altar, etc). My parents, long time parishioners at a typical suburban parish, visited one Sunday and commented on how traditional it looked and felt.
  • Jeffrey Morse posits (rightly) that there isn't much distance between the syrupy music which was used in many American parishes before the Council and the syrupy music used in nearly all American parishes in the time since the Council.

    Lucy Carroll, on the other hand, posits that the syrupy music/texts represented a true devotion to Mary (for example) even if many of us now find the music cloying.

    The superstructure to which I refer is the liturgical environment created by the Traditional form of the Roman Rite. German parishes sang hymns in German at Mass (despite prohibitions) but, it can be argued, didn't thereby abandon their faith. That came later.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,691
    CGZ - thanks. The problem after the Council was that we were treated as responsible adults. Thus our bishops told us to choose our own form of Friday penance, 'it doesn't have to be abstaining from meat'. That turned out to be too demanding for most.
    Similarly it was supposed that priests had a good liturgical understanding, they did not, they had simply been trained to follow the rubrics. Intelligent appreciation was not needed, nor was it taught (in many seminaries it is still not taught).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,217
    I think the problem of not eating meat came from a time when the nobility ate little else. It was a way of getting them to fast and didn't apply all that much to the peasants. Similarly, it doesn't mean so much with people today, since we have so many food sources available.

    As I remember, congregations were singing folk music after the council. Every Joan Baez wannabe in town showed up with a guitar. There was no praise & worship music at that time.
  • Hawkins,

    I disagree with your assessment of the situation. Those who had no intention of behaving as "responsible adults" pushed for everyone to be treated as those responsible adults. It's an old school-boy trick: bet someone 5 doll hairs (which the poor gullible target construes as dollars) that he won't do (whatever).

    Now, was there rot in the seminaries? Probably. After all, the Consilium came from somewhere. Michael Rose documents the problem on this side of the Council, but we know some very significant rot existed before hand.

  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,357
    I suppose one of NPM's more successful goals over the years was the professionalization of an industry that is by nature catch as catch can.

    For those of us who have made a living wage at Church music, something almost unheard of in some other countries, we can thank the AGO and NPM.
    Thanked by 2PaxMelodious Heath
  • Kathy,

    In some fields, professionalization leads to improvement in stature AND improvement in internal standards. I don't think the same can be said of the NPM's accomplishment in the professionalization of Church musicians.