NPM Convention is on . . .
  • Francis, we may not be at war, but the folks who have the influence in "music ministries" and their support systems attack us at the mention of chant. "We've come too far to turn back now!" and "Chant and serious music are not uplifting!" and "Chant will drive people away from the Church!" are the battle cries. Actually for them, I agree with the first call. THEY have come too far to admit they were wrong. Let's say that every church in the country started using chant (in all forms) and a more dignified music in general--this way no one can simply shift parishes. How many would leave the Church over it? How many would return in a few weeks after their tantrums have subsided? Is their theology so tied up in the "joyful noise" syndrome that they would look for the nearest megachurch? If so, it wasn't the music that that sent them there. The music was just the last thread holding them to Catholicism.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    So much for my suggestion in another thread that the Colloquium be held in Louisville next year (before I knew NPM had decided to have its meeting there)...!

    I think I am finally starting to understand Francis's side, but I just don't consider the whole issue to be so dramatic.

    Touching just one music director means that an entire parish will begin to experience better liturgy.
  • Doug, as the source of some of the recent drama, I state that my response to the "let's just set up a booth" proposal indicated my assessment of its viability and worth in the larger scheme. As Dr. Mahrt has stated of late, if chant is invited to the banquet table, but is knowingly regarded by all others present as the odd uncle whose mutterings are to be ignored, then the morality and manners of the host are dubious at best. So, it's either a question of brick by brick (where we are) or true recognition (how apt is that?) and reconciliation among these "guilds."
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Charles C, thank you.

    rollingrj, thank you for your info. I truly appreciated it, although that was exactly what I was afraid of, the "popular vote,' and marketing.... I'll be surprised if they didn't have Top 10 popluar chart.
    In my opinion the leadeship of NPM has to be totally converted to lead church musicians in a right direction. I'm sure they, the LEADERS, read church documents (or do they?) and know that the Church instructs that Gregorian chant has a 'pride of place' (actually 'first place') in our liturgy, but simply ignore it or deny it. It's just not marketable, is it?
    It's not the 'nice' people who go there, is the problem, but the leaders, who supposed to know better, who creates the environment where sacred music of the liturgy is determined by the poplurarity and use the outcome for the marketing business with publishing companies.
    Booth for Gregorian chant.... among crowd of other booths. I don't know. I hope contemporary bands booths don't get louder. I trust CMAA who will make a wise choice after figure out cons and pros with limited resources they have, and I will respect the decision they make no matter what it is.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    Becoming just another voice in the "liturgy fair" of an NPM Convention is something that I still think is a worthy venture. As Michael points out, inspiring even just one Music Director could change the liturgical life of hundreds of families. Within those hundreds of families will be other folks who will get the "chant bug" and become inspired to become schola members, directors or organists. More importantly, within those hundreds of families could be a young gentleman (or two..) who might get the "chant bug" and then later in life a vocational call.

    All it takes is one piece of music, performed the right way, to convert people. I've known people who have converted because they stopped into a Church and heard a piece of music, which lead them to the Catholic faith. Likewise (and perhaps much easier), all it could take is one piece of music to convert someone to a better liturgical style.

    Trickle-down liturgics. It's the way to go.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    Also, just in response to Mia's post above, there are no "rock band" booths where rock bands loudly play (or at least there weren't at any of the 3 conventions I attended). It's mostly publishers, a few composers, organ companies, choir tour companies, companies that design choir robes, book venders, a massage parlor (I kid you not), and handbell retailers.

    There were at times performances by handbell choirs or children's choirs, but they tended to be far on the other end of the convention center from where the booths were. I've had many intelligent conversations with people running the booths and noise was never an issue.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    matthewj, all you said is true, and it can be done and is being done in local places, without going to a place where the competition and marketing are the main focuses. (response to your first post above)
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    Actually -

    Could you have the Colloquium in Cleveland, Ohio next year? It is a great music venue, great organs, great spaces for choral programs ... And a growing number of people who either post here, read here, and/or have went to the Colloquium are in the Cleveland diocese, myself included.

    It is also a good "central" location - and everyone knows, Cleveland can use all the tourism/visitors it can get.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Ok, to your seond post. I wasn't saying it happened (I don't know.) But if CMAA is going to play CDs of chants or sing, (isn't that what you and others wanted to do? How else Gregorian chant is going to be heard there, unless they have Gregorian chants in Mass regulary there)it could stir up some compettion of playing music.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    I'm all about the Colloquium being in Ohio (though I do like to travel). Columbus, Ohio's Cathedral Music Program is tremendous: www.cathedralmusic.org
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    I'm not sure singing at the booth is the best idea... This is how I would do it:

    Have a booth staffed by at least 1 CMAA Member at a time, 2 during peak hours.
    Sell books (Sing like a Catholic, etc...), CDs, etc..
    Give away free copies of essays that could be submitted for this convention that are pastoral, well-written and promote chant/polyphony/organ while not taking shots at the mainstream.
    Give away some sort of a guide on how to use the various free resources that are out there (American Gradual, Chabanel Psalms, etc). This could be developed relatively easily.
    Give away or sell (depending on resources) copies of Sacred Music
    Sign up anyone who is interested in joining CMAA
    Answer questions about CMAA, Gregorian chant, and the renewal of sacred music.
    Give away information about the previous Colloquium (perhaps we could have copies of Ostrowski's video if a DVD is made from Colloquium XX).
    And perhaps at various times (once per day) have all CMAA members present asked to come together at the booth and do some sort of chant.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,894
    PaixGioiaAmor, it never hurts to send suggestions about future sites to Arlene.

    For a starting point: look for a Catholic college with a city campus, with suitable facilities (rehearsals, lectures, housing, dining) on site, a big enough chapel/church and nearby hotel accommodations for those who prefer that option.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Hmmm, I'm thinking young people might actually pull this together. I usually like the spirit of 'let's try and find out.' (I came to America by myself with that spirit when I was young.) I don't know how many volunteers you will get (if you actually organize this), but you might also have to do some fund raising and start saving money to cover all the expenses, or some portions at least, including the cost of the trip for each person. And then they might have to miss coming to Colloquium, (It's very hard for many musicians to afford both events for time and expenses.) If you cannot afford to do both, I don't know which one you will choose? I think people who go there need to be well trained and knowledgeable to deliever the message effectively, maybe you are. (as you can see I'm in older side and cautious.) Everyone has a different talent, and if you think this is your call, why not.

    Best wishes
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Charles, I hope you didn't feel like I was accusing you of anything!

    I see your point about the odd uncle, but I would just go back to my statement that setting up a booth seems to be in accord with the CMAA's stated purpose. Not doing it wouldn't be against the purposes, so to me it could just as easily go either way.

    If there were a booth, many (on both sides of the booth, obviously) would question the CMAA's motives.

    And can we all in good faith say that all proponents of chant everywhere haven't done a lot to GIVE themselves the reputation of the odd uncle? The wackos always linger in one's memory, not the temperate ones.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,673
    I'm sure there would be some questioning of CMAA's motives from the NPM side and the average attendees eyes. That is why the people manning the booth must be positive, welcoming, friendly and not negative (which is a different thing than being positive). They also must not be jaded. You're not going to convince any guitar-only folk choir director to go home and do full Gregorian propers. To even attempt that conversation is to welcome disaster.

    Here's how I'd see some different scenarios going:

    SCENARIO 1:
    Were a guitar-only folk choir director to approach the booth and begin asking questions, a bad thing to do was to pick up the Graduale Romanum, open it up and tell the man that's what he must be doing every Sunday. The person has likely never seen neumes before, has little exposure to Latin other than Ave Maria, and would think the person at the booth was nuts. He would go home and do exactly what he has been doing, with some new stuff from GIA or OCP that he picked up at the Convention.

    SCENARIO 2:
    Were a guitar-only folk choir director to approach the booth and begin asking questions, a more realstic approach (don't even pick up the Gregorian Missal) would be to show some examples of a capella music (Chabanel Psalms, in modern notation, for example). Were they to reply with, "Why would we need that? We just do Shepherd Me, O God for the Psalm every week...," one could pull out a copy of Chabanel's The Lord is My Shepherd by Brian Michael Page and suggest perhaps considering it "for the sake of variety." Then hand him/her some copies of liturgy documents as he/she walks away, or a sheet of paper with links to where liturgy documents are found on the internet. He/she would then go home and perhaps try the piece by BMP which includes some chant. The congregation is exposed to chant and perhaps someone is inspired. Perhaps the director would read a liturgy document. At any rate, more good comes from the Convention than would have had the booth not been there.

    Scenario 2 is thinking very small. Obviously just exposing a congregation to one Psalm is not something that would be worth CMAA's time. However, if scenario 2 happened multiple times and more successful scenarios took place in addition to it, a real difference could be made.

    There are some directors, perhaps some even in your own diocese, who are going to be the last people to go to a local workshop on chant or liturgy, but look forward to NPM each and every year. These are the ones that such a booth could possibly reach, in addition to those who perhaps know and like chant but have been told again and again that it was "banned" in the 70s.
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,021
    Wow! That makes what we're doing in CMAA - "banned-aid"!
  • Chris_McAvoyChris_McAvoy
    Posts: 382
    The CMAA needs to work with promoting the teaching of church music in parish schools, retreat houses, lay confraternities/oblates, and making friends amongst the Bishops, this is where the people who want chant are, not the NPM. Go around the NPM, ignoring it will be God's blessing upon us!

    People who actually pray frequently like and want Chant.

    Every single time I have sang english adapatations of gregorian chant from the office or mass around lay people who were praying I have had positive reactions, I have even been kissed for it.

    Here is how strongly I feel:

    You will get better results having a booth at the Baptist Church Music Conference than the NPM.


    http://www.sbcmc.org/ <-at least here people are less prejudiced aginst it and can view it as some sort of legitimate exotic possibility to use it, because they havent been innoculated against it. It is something new and exciting to deal with. Thats why the local Western Rite Orthodox Church of former methodists is so in love with Gregorian Chant in english. When I sang the propers for the Mass of the Ascension there there they were so enthusiastic and happy about it. Now to be fair, that positive reaction can come from some segment of the laity in a local Latin Catholic Church too (and its a inspiriational feeling when it goes) but it sure wouldnt be shared by a enough of pastors/musical directors/guitarists/liturgists. They're the ones who've been brainwashed against it, and theyre the ones at the NPM.<br />
    I delt with underground house music for years, It ALWAYS thrived and sold well amongst the subculture that loved it and independent urban vinyl record stores that sold it. The mainstream music industry never wanted it in the USA because it was too pure to be exploited for the lowest common denominator, save for a certain period in the 80s and early 90s. Anytime it got involved with the mainstream for too long it usually got watered down or forced to compromise itself very quickly. And mainstream music stores, with a few exceptions (such as Tower records, which was willing to promote vinyl) would not let very much of it into their store, and when they did only on cd's and tapes.

    I think the NPM could be seen along the same lines.
    I am not absolutely against a booth at the NPM. But I do believe these are actually the people who are most opposed to TRUE traditional beautiful Catholic music, regardless if its put in english (which you would want them to hear english adaptations if you did have it there). I believe the NPM at the present time would sabotage a CMAA booth.

    If you do it, keep your expectations low and do not spend immense resources on it, and be prepared to be asked to leave.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    I have to say- I love reading someone draw cultural parallels between chant and underground house music
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    I don't think NPM would sabotage it.
    I just think they don't care.
    They would rather take our money and have us rent a booth. I don't think that they're "threatened" that if people knew that we were out there they would join us and leave NPM...and I think they're right, because if anyone has any remote interest in chant, with the internet it's pretty d*** easy to find CMAA! (like I did about 3 years ago!)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,409
    "People who actually pray frequently like and want Chant."

    I think this is oversimplistic. There are people who pray frequently in a charismatic style and for them, chant would take a lot of getting used to. There are people who are so used to the status quo that chant doesn't sound right to them as church music. A lot of people can't take a single-line melody.

    Some people will kiss you, some people will say, "Hey, man, where's my chord progression?" Even people who pray frequently might feel the need for a chord progression, a bass, and a "hook" refrain during their first decade or two of praying frequently.

    I don't think there's any justification for suggesting such an absolute correspondence between prayer and chant.
  • Chris_McAvoyChris_McAvoy
    Posts: 382
    In the book ' Toward Ritual Transformation: Remembering Robert W. Hovda,' The founder of The National Association of Pastoral Musicians Virgil C. Funk, [14] wrote on page 31: "Without a basic celebrative model and a common experience, we learn by doing. Lex orandi statuat legem credendi: How we pray shapes what we believe. By our diverse singing, we believe in diversity of belief."

    Diversity of belief? Isn't this what the Unitarians boast of? Isn't this what comprehensive Anglicanism means by "high, low and broad"? In other words, for Funk, the connection between doctrinal orthodoxy and orthopraxis in the liturgy is explicitly and formally rejected. That the liturgy judges us, and that we do not judge the liturgy, is set aside in favor of novelty, [15] a reversal of all we have known and done in the sacred liturgy. "Diversity of belief" represents the age-old contest between orthodoxy and heterodoxy. Any pretense at unity in the church is consequently annihilated. If there is no truth, then there is no heresy, echoing Karl Barth. On this question the liturgists of Catholic heritage seemed doomed in the 1970s to repeat the mistakes of the Liberal Protestants of the nineteenth century. As Kelly wrote years later and in another place, "Doctrinal purity and discipleship go together—injury to one weakens the other—hardly a desirable condition for the Mystical Body of Christ." [16]

    Anglican writer Peter Toon put it well concerning that rule of prayer, the "lex orandi":

    ... as used by modern writers of the new mix-and-match liturgies the tag as a claim is true in the way they translate it only in so far as it tells us that what they pray is what they believe (which is usually a revisionist or progressivist form of Christianity). That is, they have written into their liturgies a revised form of the Christian Faith reflecting progressive thinking because that is where they are in terms of their own beliefs. Then what they pray is certainly what they believe. However, they ought not to claim that they speak for the whole Church: they speak only for themselves and their supporters.... What they really believe is lex orandi statuat (founds) legem credendi. And since they produce the lex orandi they also decide what is the lex credendi! [17]

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles - whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine). The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition."

    Earlier I was asked to remove from my post a statement about the NPM attendees not having an interest in plainchant because they do not pray very much, at first I removed the comment. Than I changed my mind.

    No, I do stand by my statement that "I do not believe the people who attend the National Association of Pastorial Muscians pray very much, at least not in a way I recognize it." emphasis on "way that I recognize".


    If what I made is an unacceptable statement I would see no interest and no reason to desire to post here further. My statement was not ment to be unchristian, mean or suggestion of heresy. Simply the truth, as I see it. Humble that I am, I could be wrong, but thats how I see it and I do not take it back. Perhaps I am better off in the Orthodox Church where at least there is some consistency in this area.

    "(Tradant enim vos) They will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues, and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles" - Antiphon on magnificant for Common of Apostles.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,894
    Happily, many people who go to NPM events don't believe in some ideology indifferent to sound doctrine. Some of them are apparently right-thinking Catholics who participate in this forum.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,639
    I don't know how NPM folks pray, when they pray, or even what God they may pray to. Some that I know seem to be obsessed with their feelings and creating a "mood" - for lack of a better word - during worship. To me, it all seems rather manufactured. Unfortunately, I haven't found them to be obsessed with liturgy in any sense that the Church recommends. I know one very talented musician who is attached to the music of the St. Louis Jesuits, along with most other 70s music. Emotionally, that music does something for him. But that seems to me the whole problem. For him, liturgy is based on his experiences and feelings. In talking with him, I have found that his vision of liturgy is the correct way, and anything else is pre-Vatican II. Keep in mind that he has never read the Council documents, and wouldn't know pre-Vatican II if it bit him on the backside. It often is a case of in ignorance, there is bliss.
  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 330
    what has come of this thread?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,639
    I don't know about the thread. But I will comment on one thing. First of all, I love chant. Yes, I do other music besides chant, but it would generally be considered by most to be good music. However, I have met and know people who actually hate chant. Hearing it isn't going to change a thing. They know what it sounds like, and they despise it. Some of these folks are, believe it or not, trained musicians. Go figure. For those indifferent to chant, there is always the possibility of change. For those who hate it, maybe not. Despite what NPM pushes, there are too many who think it's wonderful.
  • What are the popular forums at NPM? Some here have mentioned them and I am unable to find any activity.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,802
    Wow, Chris. I missed your comment from July 24. This is very keen observation on your part. I think we are all flopping around in the same mud puddle, so to speak, trying to make sense of why the roots of sacred music have eluded us.

    In the book ' Toward Ritual Transformation: Remembering Robert W. Hovda,' The founder of The National Association of Pastoral Musicians Virgil C. Funk, [14] wrote on page 31: "Without a basic celebrative model and a common experience, we learn by doing. Lex orandi statuat legem credendi: How we pray shapes what we believe. By our diverse singing, we believe in diversity of belief."

    Diversity of belief? Isn't this what the Unitarians boast of? Isn't this what comprehensive Anglicanism means by "high, low and broad"? In other words, for Funk, the connection between doctrinal orthodoxy and orthopraxis in the liturgy is explicitly and formally rejected. That the liturgy judges us, and that we do not judge the liturgy, is set aside in favor of novelty, [15] a reversal of all we have known and done in the sacred liturgy. "Diversity of belief" represents the age-old contest between orthodoxy and heterodoxy. Any pretense at unity in the church is consequently annihilated. If there is no truth, then there is no heresy, echoing Karl Barth. On this question the liturgists of Catholic heritage seemed doomed in the 1970s to repeat the mistakes of the Liberal Protestants of the nineteenth century. As Kelly wrote years later and in another place, "Doctrinal purity and discipleship go together—injury to one weakens the other—hardly a desirable condition for the Mystical Body of Christ." [16]
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,154
    @Chris: "The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles - whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine). The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition."

    I think what we have is a massive failure of education.

    What makes Chant the ideal, given the above quotation, is that it is sing-able by regular people. It does not require 4- or 8- part singing, and the Ordinaries are really very easy to sing.

    But what people do NOT know--including well-trained singers--is how the Chant IS the 'music-fication of the text.' That's partly because popular music is not 'music-fication' of text (unless you go back to Sinatra-era pops). People have not been trained to understand that there SHOULD be a relationship between text and music.

    So they miss what Chant offers.

    But it's also because church musicians don't talk about that stuff, either. Whether because of time-limitations, dis-interest, or their own defective education, they do not impart this information.

    OTOH, having been involved in education, I'm also aware that only 10-20% of a class actually "Gets" what's offered; the rest either don't care or actively resist.

    I wish there were a magic solution.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,423
    What makes Chant the ideal, given the above quotation, is that it is sing-able by regular people

    This, THIS!
    This is the key to winning over the folkies, the contemporary-music people, the NPM crowd. That was the whole point of the folk-mass movement.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I agree with Adam. Chant (and really so much of traditional liturgy) is about egalitarianism.
  • I would love to have the Colloquium to come down to Texas, especially, South Texas. This year, at our diocesan mnistries conference, the diocese made the mistake of inviting Peter Kolar, from WLP. Peter had a presentation for choirs the night before the conference. He did not talk about the upcoming Mass translation revisions. He did not talk about chant. He gave Latin what amounted to a nano-second of breath time and then launched off into teaching everyone his Missa Luna. He said it was the official musical setting for the Diocese of El Paso. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt on this, but, as I heard it, it was not really a good piece at all. The Spanish setting, in particular, took too many liberties with the official text. Worse yet, he decided to translate "Christ has died" into Spanish. "Christ has died" does not exist in any other vernacular translation of the Roman Missal but English. During the break, I asked him why he did this since, according to Liturgiam Authenticam, we really can't be doing that. He dismissed me. Needless to say, his whole presentation left a very bad taste in my mouth.