• is the central character that determines the level of music in the church.

    I really like the Pastor.

    Last Fall, I was told by the Pastor that I would be responsible for playing all weddings in the new church, to keep the music in character with the new Romanesque church building we were to move into at Christmas.

    However, brides were booking the church and I was not getting calls. Finally found out the church office was telling brides there was no one to play, they had to find their own musicians. And, it turns out, that is the ongoing plan, though I have requested that I get first opportunity to play them.

    But the Pastor has decided not to decide about having me play the weddings and coordinate the music. A parish council member has undertaken a 'study' to determine what is the norm at neighboring parishes in order to develop a policy on who plays weddings and how much to charge, I have been told. It's been weeks and weeks and no progress.

    So a few weeks ago I met with one of the few brides who was able to contact me. She, her mother and I met and I explained that the music had to be sacred. "We can't have the Hawaiian Song?" No. The mother said, sarcastically I thought, "so this means we can't have Night and Day?" I confirmed this, if only for the reason that it sort of fails to mention God. I suggested we meet in a couple of days.

    I saw the Pastor on the way out and said that they had brought this up and how I had handled it, and he thanked me for keeping the level of music up where it belongs in his new church.

    Four days later we met and the mother said, "Tell him. Tell him what Father said." The girl had called the Pastor that afternoon, he told her she could have any music she wanted as long as he got to approve the lyrics.

    At that point I kindly suggested that they find another organist who might be willing to play the music they want.

    I referred them to a neighboring parish with a very praise and worship music program. [locals will recognize the initials, AS] One of their organists contacted me and said he was getting ready to meet with them and wanted to confirm that we were as strict as they are and do not permit the traditional wedding marches. This surprised me, since their music program is much beloved and is not traditional.

    I attempted to explain the situation, thought I did a good job.

    Tonight I happened to run into this organist. The wedding was a couple of weeks ago.

    The Bride's Mother processed down the aisle to Moon River. He had already played Night and Day and Stardust He wants to apologize to the Pastor. I suggested that the Pastor agreed to this. He said that the Pastor had mentioned Moon River in the Homily and that he was not pleased.

    It appears that the bride and her mother may have decided not to tell the Pastor that Moon River, Night and Day and Stardust were part of the program since........they were played and there were then NO LYRICS for him to approve!

    The Pastor does determine the level of music in the parish. And this is how it plays out.

    I continue to like and respect the Pastor, and it pains me that people go around him like this to get what they want.

    And tonight, in a church with 7.5 seconds of reverberation, a visiting priest started a wedding rehearsal saying over the microphone. "WELCOME, K-MART SHOPPERS!"
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    That's a ridiculous situation to have to contend with. It's sad you don't get more backing from your pastor. I am often asked to play for weddings, but I always refuse. Life is too short and I don't need the money that badly.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I'm 24, have no wife, kids, or other responsibilities, and family to leech off of. Ergo, my view is simple: if you don't have the pastor's support, quit.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    A fitting story to explain the need for The Year For Priests
    which began this day.
    Saint John Vianney, pray for us!

  • My deepest condolensces, FNJ. Not just for the quantum physics-level of chaos apparent in your story, but for the empathy (take that, Barry O) that must be felt by most who lurk and post here regarding the duplicity and feigned ignorance that is the fabric of the emperors' clothing.
    "Moon River" and "Night and Day?" For God's sake, really!
    None of us is alone and we will hold center.
    And I'm typing this after a three hour funeral, inwhich at least the family (among whom was a visiting celebrant) didn't try to circumnavigate my instructions that the prohibitions against recorded music weren't an inconvenient local parish truth, but, ahem, rubrical.
  • I was drafted into the US Army back in the late 1960's, went from living in NYC in the middle of the rarefied air of some greatly inspiring sacred music to standing at attention each morning at 6 AM staring at the trees across the way at Fort Knox, KY, watching them change color as the seasons passed.

    I hated being in the Army. Eventually, I ended up in Germany, got into an Army band to finish out my two years. Stayed another 2 years working as a musician in Germany after I was discharged. Those two years of my life were essentially wasted, but they did get me to Germany. My goal the entire time I was in the army was to exist until it was over. But I realize that I would have never gotten to Germany if it were not for the Army, so I understand that although being in the army was the pits, something good came out of it.

    At this parish, the pastor with the support of his associate at the time gave me a free hand to reform the musical liturgy. He and I together have had to put up with lots of criticism of our projects...mine the music program, his the new romanesque basilica-style building. The building is now complete and my goal was to prepare the choir to sing music for that building.

    Any choir can sing any music if you work hard enough at it and encourage them and choose music that teaches them what it takes to sing even more difficult and challenging music. But you have to stick it out with the knowledge that you are doing good,

    The choir is now singing at a high level, able to sing Palestrina mid-level pieces, the more difficult ones are still beyond us. cpdl.org has been a blessing, since I can pick exactly what i want them to sing, I can choose something and if it turns out to be beyond them, back off to a simpler piece that will teach them what is needed for that more difficult work in the future. In a year I will pull it out and they will be able to sight read it and I have to remind them that a year ago they were unable to sing it.

    The choir has gone from about 16 regular singers to as many as 46. We've lost a few but gained many.

    The pastor has gone through the agony of having a vision and sticking it out through all that one can imagine when building a church that looks like a church in a diocese which has buildings as contemporary of the music we all prefer to avoid. A church of great beauty.

    It has not been easy for him and he has stuck it out. There is not a mean bone in his body and he has many jewels in his crown, as the Baptists say. While it may appear at first glance that the pastor's at fault with this wedding business, he's not. And sticking it to realize my vision is a challenge to me as he has taken upon his own challenge. We've both been beaten down but both have stuck it out.

    I am sure that he has reasons for not having someone in charge of the music for weddings. I may be too difficult for Brides to deal with? But he also does not want Moon River wafting through the columns and up into the 45' dome of the church.

    And maybe this unfortunate experience, like many in my 2 years in the army, will result in a policy that will work to plug the loopholes that people will find to get around what the church wants played and sung in the church.

    My companions that got me through the two years in the army were 2 Lea pocket scores of the Well Tempered Clavier of Bach. Those 48 preludes and fugues were always there for me to study and, sometimes on the weekends, play.

    This forum, along with Mary Mezzo, has kept me at this church, working toward my goals. Mary's sung with us, left for very valid reasons, and some day I hope that the situation will become atractive for her to return. Instead she is fighting the good fight with B-16, her Schola, and doing good.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I think the pastor makes all the difference, and your pastor is certainly a very good man. Mary is at my church, and there is no fight to fight. Mary was welcomed with open arms and the pastor is delighted with what she does for the church with her schola. So am I. However, my pastor knows what he wants - music that is sacred and reverent - knows what he stands for, and doesn't back down. I would call that character of conviction. It's great to be a good, holy and wonderful man, and my pastor is all of that, as well. But sometimes it takes more than that to be a successful pastor.
  • I should be clearer when I use the word FIGHT.

    To me anyone who sings chant is FIGHTING to bring chant to the attention and appreciation of all. I have been fond of calling Mary a Chant Terrorist, but that's no longer politically correct. Chant Maven?

    Yes! Chant Maven or, in Hebrew: זמר מייוון

    Mary Mezzo, זמר מייוון
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I understand. Restoring sacred music is a team effort. It requires musicians who are dedicated to the cause of sacred music, but it also requires backing from the top. I have seen too many musicians try and fail because that backing wasn't there.
  • I can think of no stronger team that the one you now have in place there...if you feel overcome with waves of jealously they are coming from the west.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    If one of us succeeds, then we all do. I rejoice at the gains made by those who are able to restore sacred music to the liturgy, at any place or time. Every success strengthens our cause and we all benefit from it.
  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    Would you care to supply some points for the Hebrew? Otherwise I have to guess at the vowels, and after the hubbub with the Tetragrammaton I'm a bit gunshy about making them up.
  • Google Translate is my friend.

    If your guess work results in: Chant Maven, you've got it.
  • Today's Saga...very, very fine early music vocal quartet sings wedding at the church (I was not invited to play, rather I was playing at CharlesW's church for choir members (husband and wife) lovely daughter's wedding.

    So after all the beautiful music, the custodian tells me, the organist (not associated with this group..have no idea how she was located, aside from the fact that the parish does not seem to tell them to call me) the organist begins the wedding recessional....which turned into ROCKY TOP, the bluegrass theme of this end of the state and the UT football team.


    Notice, among other things that the band can sing.

    A Mass with music of the finest ends with Rocky Top.
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 236
    Since my good friend Frogman brought it up . . . yes, as a member of the quartet, I can testify that this occurred. The accompanist in question is an elderly lady and a family friend of the couple.

    The quartet sang a prelude that included Palestrina, Viadana, Durufle, and Bach.

    For the Mass, the visiting priest had suggested to the couple that we sing "I Have Loved Yooooooooo With an Everlasting Lovvvvvvvvvvvve" in place of the responsorial psalm. Paid hirelings, we did what the couple requested.

    I did manage to get the Gregorian Communio for a nuptial Mass into the program and a couple of other decent selections (a Moravian piece, "Die Frucht des Geistes ist Liebe," and Rene Clausen's "Set Me as a Seal").

    In any case, during the rehearsal, as the organist and I were conversing, I learned that she incorporates "something special" into the recessional for every wedding. It might be a few bars of the Pink Panther theme or Rocky Top or the Notre Dame fight song--whatever she deems appropriate.

    I said, "do the couples ask for this?" She said, no, she just throws it in. I thought but did not say that if someone had done this at my wedding, I would have stopped, turned around to face the loft, and shouted "Stop that!"
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I'm amazed she could get away with that. Among PIPs, committing liturgical abuses and invalidating the Mass is one thing, but screw up Mendelssohn's Wedding March and you've just gone too far!!
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    anyone hear play butterfly kisses as a bridal procession? I had a wedding where the bride hired my choir that sang tolite hostias (from Saint-Seans Christmas Oratorio) and other great stuff but the bride insisted on comming down to the moonlight sonata.

    I hate weddings.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I hate weddings, too! But I take it you haven't been asked by a widow at a funeral, to play, "Brighten the Corner Where You Are." It was her deceased husband's favorite. One of you is going to have to let me know who this modern-day Ethel Smith of the organ is, so I can make sure she never plays at my church.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,181
    Does she know the theme song from "The Newlywed Game"?
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 236
    I could suggest she add that to her repertory.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I have been told that it is always ungracious to play, 'The Lady Is a Tramp" at a wedding. ;-) Although I have witnessed a few where it might have been appropriate.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I always suggest "Baby Got Back" as an example of an inappropriate recessional - followed by the stated requirement that where the line is drawn between that and chant is my decision alone if they want to have music for their wedding.

    I personally prefer weddings. With a funeral, you just CAN'T challenge a bad request - in the mind of most grieving family members, you may as well tell them what the epitaph on the tombstone will read as tell them that the deceased's favorite song can't be played. Yes, we eliminate the reprehensible, but it takes a moral monster not to have his heart ache at having to do such a thing to the non-understanding grieving. As for the personally offensive but not heretical requests, I remember that the mercy I show them is the same that may be given to me by a "Spirit of Vatican II Liturgist" when I want chanted propers at one of my relatives' funerals.

    As I've mentioned before, with a wedding, I stipulate out front that I approve of the music or it doesn't happen (with the mention that I'm "more lenient" than for a Sunday Mass to assure them of my good faith). Of course, this goes back to what I said above: I had full faith and credit given to my decisions on suitability at my last job. If you don't have it, save the church some money and quit so they can just buy a jukebox.

    Also there's the age thing. Most couples are around my age, so when I tell them "I can't do that", they're more likely to assume me sympathetic than some frumpy old man. And if I suggest something, the element of peer pressure adds more weight to it. However, this tends to bite me on nearly any other "request/demand" situation, since I've found anyone over 30 (by which I mean "old people") tends to think they can give me a direct order and expect me to do it. Weddings are definitely easier on me right now.
  • Where, Charles? This will help....it may be due to residual radiation from years of exposure...and I understand that she's been there for 20 years plus.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    I was referring to weddings and funerals I have played in the past. One post had nothing to do with crazy Mona of Rocky Top fame. I had never heard of her, but Mary filled me in. You're right, it probably is residual radiation, or beryllium poisoning.
  • Seating of the Mothers: Promenade d'Éléphant de Bébé (Mancini)
    Bridesmaids Procession: Red Dress (Sugababes)
    Bridal Procession: You're so vain (Carly)
    Gradual: I don't know how to love him (Webber)
    Offertory: Bang bang (My baby shot me down) (Cherilyn Sarkisian)
    Communio: What a fool believes (Doobies)
    Recessional: I do, I do, I do, I do ... (Abba)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,955
    Hah! ROFL :-)
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    I have a much better one: This may be apocryphal, but my organist swears it is true. Years ago, the Bridegroom wanted 'Another one bites the dust' (Queen) played when he and groomsmen met at the altar.
    Daniel, you missed 'Send in the Clowns' This may be suitable for Wedding party, or Priests entrance

  • Hello, I'm Bernard, and I am a former choir director.

    For my sins, I must confess that one of my brothers long ago asked me to sing at his (secular) wedding at the wedding chapel. The piece that he wanted me to sing was "But will you love me tomorrow", by Carole King.

    Because I loved my brother, I did so; but after that I vowed never to be involved again in another such tasteless display, either inside or outside a Catholic Church. I have never found grounds to regret that decision.

    P.S.: my brother's insight about his intended alas bore itself out perhaps ten years later. She divorced him. That was probably the best thing that she could have done for him, save for not having married him in the first place. But that is another story, and one I think it best not to tell.