Now what would you do?
  • I have come to learn that a church I previously served as DM is inviting Dan Schutte to come and do a concert. To some at this church, it will be a second coming.
    However, most of the pips are uneducated with regards to the sacred liturgy, the church documents, and Vatican requests. What would you do?
  • my impression is that these are harmless. I mean, concertizing is what he should be doing. In fact, this is what drew him to music. Neither Schutte nor the rest ever imagined that their music would be seen as liturgical - it was placed there by others at their own seminary.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    Obviously, they have come down in the world since you are no longer with them to hold them to higher standards.
  • ;)
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    There once was a young man from Kew
    Who found a dead mouse in his stew.
    Said the waiter, “Don't shout
    Or wave it about,
    Or the rest will be wanting one too!”
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Standards for a concert are considerably different from those for the Mass, as Jeffrey has said. The real problem is how few churches offer their parishioners any alternative to the Mass. There was a time in which there were festivals, processions, and youth group gettogethers where songs were fully appropriate. It is good to hear of a church doing so.
  • I take issue with the suggestions of some above. Standards for music at our churches should be pervasive and not slackened for any event, such as an organ recital or choral offering, which happens not to be Holy Mass. There is all the artistic, cultural, scholarly and aedifying difference in the world between a recital by, say, the famed resident organist of Wannamaker's Department Store and one by one of our university professors or an artist from Europe. Our mission and ministry is always one to the whole person, not ever just to the time-keeping foot and whistling lips.
  • eft- LOL!!! A good limerick covers a multitude of sins.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    MJO, I think Jeffrey was referring to the distinction between concerts and the sacred liturgy. The sacred liturgy requires sacred music in compliance with liturgical norms; in concerts, a broader array of Catholic religious music, including oratorios and cantatas, can be suitable. There are some norms in this document.
  • Well, look, if I were in charge of extra-liturgical musical program, people would be listening to Schubert, Mahler, and Lully. But I think we musicians have to come to terms with the reality of public tastes here. Concerts of praise music in a parish setting can act as a sort of safety value and underscore the point that this music doesn't need to be suppressed; it has a time and place. Liiturgy however asks for liturgical music.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    What's so depressing is the number of peole who will attend a touchy-feely concert by some' Catholic' musician, but can''t be bothered to show up when the Cathedral Choir sings a beautiful Faure "Requiem" for the Necrology, or Sung Vespers for Advent or Advent Lessons and Carols. The list goes on. So discouraging. It's not as if we don't sing in tune or it doesn't get in the bulletin or Dioscesan newspaper. I have even resorted to mailing postcards to the P)arish Council members. Nothing works.

    :( Donna
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Donnaswan - I sympathize with your predicament. Unfortunately our cathedral has a parish that consists of only a few blocks so has little to build on. The area churches with much larger congregations have far better luck on the t-f concerts, but neither group has much attendance at any sort of Vespers or "Catholicky" thing. An unsettling sign of the times.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    Donnaswan -- I had a big long message and lost it.

    There are two principles to remember in advertising. You have to think about your customer -- who is he, and where can you find him? You also have to think about how you can nudge your customer into actually showing up, instead of forgetting all about it.

    When it comes to concerts, the members of a parish cannot be your only targets. Music has broad appeal, yes, but only a comparatively few people will actually show up for concerts. You ought to advertise your concert broadly, so as to gather more of those people. Libraries, music stores, newspaper concert listings, other parishes. Sending flyers to other churches' musicians or even announcement sections, if you think it would appeal.

    If it's something educational, alert the school and college music departments and the piano teachers. Let parents know that this is something that would be enriching. If it's classical, tell the local classical station or radio program. If it's contemporary, tell the local "Christian" or "gospel" station, if you think they'll take it. You can always ask. In fact, asking them what sorts of events they like to know about is a very good idea. You might even be able to "partner" with a music department to help bring in other interesting groups, or find the group places to go and talk to schools and thus advertise themselves while teaching kids stuff about music. (Our metropolitan area has a program where artists do this on a routine basis.)

    But yes, your parishioners are your base, and you want them to come. See if you can play music from the group, or from the composer they're performing, in the vestibule after Mass. If it's a parish group going to perform, and there's something suitable for liturgical use, you might want to try having them give "sneak previews" as motets at Mass, or before Mass on Sunday.

    Basically, people are conservative about investing their time in a concert. They like to know what they're getting into, and preferably know and like at least one song from the group (or composer) beforehand. You want to cater to this. Make people comfortable with the program, and they'll be more likely to come. So if it's something classical, you might want to write up the composer as well as the group, in the bulletin. If you have a parochial school, make sure they know and tell the students.

    The good part about all this work is that, next time, you'll have the procedure all set up.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    I forgot totally to mention the "social media". This has the advantage of being free, unlike photocopying flyers. The disadvantage is that it might take you a while to ferret out all the groups which are relevant to your concert, and that you might have to sign up for all the relevant social media services in order to pass your messages along. (Bleh.) But that's the wages of publicity.

    So yeah, you'd want to look for people from your general area who like the kind of music you're offering. This is probably the most fruitful place to look for warm bodies who are motivated enough to show up at concerts. But if there's a specific composer or composers involved, then you certainly want all the groups dedicated to your composer guy to know about it. Maybe only one or two people in the group will be in range of your concert; but everyone in the group will be happy to know the news, and the people in range will probably be _extremely_ motivated. They will also be likely to try to drag along all their friends and relations. That is a great audience multiplier.

    Finally, make sure that if it's a local group, you encourage everybody in the group to tell their friends and relations and co-workers about the concert. Even if it's just a flyer outside somebody's cubicle, that's publicity. People can be very shy about this, but personal connection is really one of the big reasons people go to concerts. People are social beings.

    The big point, of course, is more than education or entertainment; it's evangelization, worship, and enrichment of the Christian life. But again, though the parish base is not something you want to lose, it may well be that outsiders will get more out of a concert than the parish insiders, or that they have more incentive to attend a concert. So if the parish council won't show up for all your pleading, that may not be something to really worry about. (As long as you can get some kind of bodies.)

    Re: cathedrals --

    Probably the main problem with cathedral music programs is that they're far away from where people live, and they usually take place in bad parts of town after dark. I've been to cathedrals in other dioceses, thanks to sightseeing, but I've never even seen my own archdiocese's cathedral, except in a documentary on public TV. I mean, it's an hour away on the highway, and then you still have to drive like a half-hour to get there because it's not even downtown. And then you have to get back, late at night! So I'm always reading about the nice music programs there, but actually going? Never gonna happen. (OTOH, I'm sure it's much more convenient for people who live closer, but the guy who got shot right across the road a few years ago is still probably keeping people away.)

    OTOH, when another diocese's cathedral also an hour away hosted a baroque opera, it was scheduled in the middle of the afternoon; the thing was practically free; and the cathedral's near a highway and not hard to find. So I did drag along a couple other people and went. :)
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    Maureen, Our cathedral is in a medium sized city what those of you in the Northeast might even call a small city.- Most congregants live within spitting distance. It's not downtown. We have a population of about 1300 families. I get compliments all the time on the music sung at Mass, but getting them out for anything else is like pulling teeth.Believe, I've gone the flyer route, the newspaper route, the sending to other churches bulletins, posting flyers in Kroger's etc etc. People's relatives do come,and the traditional mass congregants. I've been at this job now for almost 20 years. So far, the best attendance is when I can round up the children's choir, which is not always possible. And you wouldn't believe what they sing at the attached school- Marty Haugen would be a high point. Our biggest audience was when we went to Rome, sang All Soul's Day Mass at St. Peter's and a concert at St Ignatius Church- it was packed to the rafters, inc the Austrian Ambassador, b/c he loved the Faure 'Requiem' .
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    Well, you are obviously getting quality concertgoers, then! All you have to do is get a teleporter and schedule all your concert dates in Europe. :)

    I figured you'd probably done most of that stuff. Although apparently that part disappeared with my first post.... Sorry I didn't think of anything new for you.

    Well, like my mom says, you're obviously getting your purgatory worked off here. (And yes, I'd believe schools singing just about anything. Sigh. They make kids sing crud all their lives and then complain they've got no taste. A couple generations of that, and of course nobody shows up for choir concerts!)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Maureen's suggestions are great. At the same time, I recognize that there are many people in this world who won't set foot in a church unless it satisfies their Sunday Mass obligation. Don't even try to interest them. Well, you should try, but don't be disappointed when they don't show up.

    Don't forget radio stations that have any suitable programming - classical, early music, religious. Send them a public service announcement and it may pick up another group of potential music lovers.