An encouragement from the trenches
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,079
    After spending Easter singing the Regina Caeli every week, yesterday, everyone finally sang with gusto. Its in their heads and hopefully in their hearts as well.

    Now on to other matters

    Offered as an encouragement from the trenches.

  • The lack of understanding by musicians that 'the people' really cannot be expected to maintain a repertoire of hymns when liturgy guides recommend different hymns for every Sunday and Feast is amazing. Next year people WILL sing Regina at Kevin's church.

    Yes, the myriad changing hymns are familiar to an organist who practices them, then plays them for the cantors, possibly at cantor rehearsal and just before Mass, and at choir rehearsal....and then playing them for 4 or 5 weekend Masses.

    But 'the people' only hear it once....until the next time, sometime off in the future.

    Though the Joy of Cooking contains hundreds of recipes, only a few of the pages end up being stained with spills. Likewise, hymnals that do not fall open to certain hymns are a sign that 'the people' are being ignored while the liturgical guides are being followed religiously.

    And I have been totally unable to get this across where I am at, and now all my hymn choices are reviewed by three before being presented to the Pastor for his approval. The last set of hymns I prepared for June and July came back with 30 changes. 30.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, this is a great approach. I've always made the mistake of introducing too much too fast and expecting everyone to learn things week by week. One antiphon a season is probably about right -- as much as I hate to admit it.
  • If no one believes this, program Praise to the Lord, Come Holy Ghost, Lord Who At Thy and Holy God as hymns at a Mass and listen to the people sing.

    But also, play the entire hymn as an introduction, set the tempo and keep it, no ritards in the intro or verses....and be consistent. Give people time to hear the hymn, recognize it, get the book and open it.

    The same with chant, introduce it the same way every time....

    Now, once they really know it, then go ahead an embellish the introduction verse...have the organist improvise, but make sure the melody can be heard.

    Have a list of known music to work from, a current repertoire of the choir, the schola and the congregation.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Noel, you got that right. Those things raise the roof at my parish!
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    The Frogman is right about introductions. The four-bar intros that work for Episcopalians and Lutherans don't work with Catholics. Part of that is because they don't start to pick up the hymnal/missalette until they're standing. When I was a child, I was taught to sit down, pray very briefly, and look up the opening hymn. Then I was to sit quietly with my finger in the book until it was time to stand and sing. (BTW, no one announced the hymns - they were on the board and in the order of worship.)
  • So what ARE the basic core hymns today in your church beyond the four I have mentioned?

    What hymns are the core that we can establish and then build on?
  • Enter your own observations as to what are hymns that are so well-known that they WILL be sung...
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    Kevin: "spending Easter singing the Regina Caeli every week"

    Here is a confirming data point!
    I used Regina Caeli at every Mass, beginning as the priest approached his chair for post-Communion,
    from the Easter Vigil through Pentecost, sung completely twice (Latin text then English text,
    with Alleluia hilighted by the organ chimes), and gradually the participation increased.
    Even though in the Parish Bulletin I had warned about its "last use" on Pentecost Sunday
    and its "return" during the Easter Vigil 2010, it was a disappointment to me to finish
    Pentecost Evening Prayer by reading the rubric (with the conclusion of Evening Prayer,
    the Easter Season comes to a close) and feeling bad about "taking away" this chant from the people.
  • I have also introduced the Regina Coeli and at our vigil Mass, - sung in Latin , then in English, and it was sung with gusto from the first time by the congregation without a schola or a rehearsal. I am new to this congregation , but there is a faster learning curve for chant hymns ( Ubi Caritas, Veni Creator,) then there is for other WLP pieces. We will be adding Mass XI in English from the
    <<a href="" >St. Meinrad Kyriale. And replacing the Regina Coeli with Salve Regina. The Choir has added 5 communios this year.