Starting Fresh: Input Solicited
  • Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, the 1 PM English new rite Mass at my parish will be sung.

    This is not a typical parish, I don’t have to worry about being expected to do anything remotely happy-crappy. Nor, it should be said, would the people want anything like that. The biggest issue is going to be time.

    The parish has some parking agreements that expire at 2 PM on Sundays, so there is a very strong need for the Mass to be contained within the hour. Right now, I will be the organist, and there is another college-trained musician and vocalist who will be helping me. What I have from the pastor, is that the introit should be chanted, in either English or Latin, as the priest and servers enter, the Kyrie and the Gloria will be sung, the Psalm will be recited for reasons of time and due to the logistics of how the readings are proclaimed, there will be a Gospel Acclamation, the Offertory will be sung, although it is quite short, Sanctus and Agnus Dei will be chanted, as well as the Communio. Post-Mass, I think, is pretty much in my court. Oh, and the ablutions take a significant amount of time.

    This is pretty much the musical equivalent, within reason, of being handed a blank check. What would you do in the situation? What would you recommend that I do, in order to be consistent, to maximize the opportunity here, and to build a real musical culture in the context of a liturgy that has not had music for a while? I should add that all the Masses at the parish are celebrated facing east, and in a very traditional way.

    Of particular interest to me, where or whether to do any hymns, what to do at offertory, and what to do during Communion after the proper has been chanted.
  • Nihil,

    Since you say you've been handed a blank check, and have nearly a blank slate of a parish music paradigm, here's your chance to make nothing but positive steps.

    Consider, however, that stable situations with good will can evaporate at the speed of the internet, and you may be dead (or the second coming may be in progress by the time you read this), and follow the basic rule: make each decision as if it were your last.

    Avoid introducing hymns, especially vernacular hymns. The priest has given evidence that the Mass isn't about him, so don't make the music about the congregation.

    Avoid lengthy announcements about music from any microphone whatsoever. By this I mean not only "Please join in singing....." as well as "Today I'm introducing the Latin chant x for the penitential season y". If you have a newsletter or a parish bulletin, use it to inform before implementing, and welcome questions.

    I would introduce Latin incrementally, as you introduce music. Let there be a place for the vernacular, but never give it the opportunity to rule the roost.

    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • As far as ways to keep things short, I would bet you that a psalm-toned and sung version of the gradual would take a significantly shorter period of time than a read psalm.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,638
    Make a worship aid for each sunday. Put everything in there... once it is ensconced in B&W people will be willing to take what you are doing more seriously and you won’t have to explain or announce anything.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Thanks for replying! Sorry, I should have been clear about a few things:

    (1) A Latin Ordinary is expected.
    (2) Announcements are not made. I produce a leaflet each week.
    (3) Hymnody, in moderation, is appreciated, especially following the Sunday High Mass, where all verses are sung always. But I don’t intend to overdo it.
    (4) I agree about the Psalm, but that is from the pastor. I will try one more time to suggest the Gradual.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,289
    If you want to go quickly…
    —Simple English Propers
    —Jubilate Deo Ordinary
    —Recessional Hymn + whatever brief postlude you want
    —If you need to cover time at Communion, Heath Morber’s Englished motet duets work well
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,337
    Is the congregation atypical? for us it would be unusual to want a Mass at Sunday Lunch time.
  • davido
    Posts: 848
    I worked in a similar parish once. I would suggest:

    Entrance: Gregorian or something brief in English. Short Antiphon+verse+GP+Antiphon is more satisfying to congregation than Weber long Antiphon once through
    Ordinary: Gregorian, 8, 9, 11, 17
    Offertory: short English chant w/verses or w/organ verset
    Communion: Comm. Antiphon, followed by vocal or organ solo, followed by congregational hymn
    Recessional: congregational hymn

    Don’t fight the responsorial, it’s a form that only works when people participate, which is always hit or miss.

    Abbreviated English antiphons can either be Weber, SEP, or Source and Summit.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis