To live and die in Suburbia
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    [removed by original poster]
  • G
    Posts: 1,396
    I think the best part of your reply was the unequivocal nature of your statements on the primary aim and purpose of, really, any music ministry.
    It is so hard to combat the entertainment/performance model.
    I had children whose parents didn't bring them to Mass on weekends when their little darlings weren't "doing" anything.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • Excellent response on the performing/ministry question.

    I personally abhor using the word "performance" when referring to sacred music sung/played in its proper context. "Presentation" or "offering" seems to make so much more sense.
  • Cantor
    Posts: 84
    Yeah....I think just about everything I have read by David Haas has some really insidious, glaring problem with it.

    He has an article in the latest Liturgy and Music that says artists are by nature opposed to structure. This is nonsense; artists can only create what they do because of structure. Haas’s own music is very structured and very much in conformance with the popular music style; like composers have always done, Haas took the musical structures and practices that he learned through others and imitated it himself, adding his own uniqueness onto those “traditions”.

    He’s part of a dying breed, the 1980s-era liturgical musicians who think in simplistic, black-and-white terms. All or nothing, no grey area.

    Not to say I hope ill for the guy or would encourage anyone else to nurture that hope, but I think we will all be better for it when he is no longer writing.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    The whole performance versus ministry question is a straw dog in my book. Haas consistently dodges the concept of proper training and practice or anything that remotely approaches a high standard in music by swathing everything in the cloth of "ministry". And yet, everything about him is performance-oriented and consumer-driven. I'd love to publicly challenge him to post any of his music to his website as a free download to be used by whomever, whenever, without additional permissions or royalties. It will never happen because he's plugged into the publishing industry.

    At every turn he pours scorn on those of us who are dedicated to the advancement of high standards in music for the liturgy, claiming that what we do isn't "ministry" and that we're driven by "professionalism" which is somehow antithetical to "ministry". This is great bosh, indeed.

    His use of the word "ministry" permits him to avoid the question, "just WHO are you/we/they ministering to?" Clearly, if you read his many books and articles, it's never about serving the Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it's always about creating an environment where those who participate in the ministry are made to feel that they belong. It's that old problem of narcissism. He and his followers will claim is all about serving the people, but of course the only way to serve the people is to somehow be visibly engaged in some kind of "ministry" up in front of them with a microphone and a tambourine, crooning the latest trendy tune he or one of his cronies have just released on their latest CD.

    I think too I've figured out why Haas objects so rigorously to the LifeTeen model. It has nothing to do with what he claims, that it creates "dis-unity" in the parish by permitting the youth to worship in their own way with their own music at a particular Mass. I think it has everything to do with his fear that his music will become marginalized and irrelevant. The only way he can ensure that his music remains mainstream is to always and everywhere insist that his music belongs at all Masses, and by exploiting the youth by claiming that the only way young people can be made to feel that they "belong" and "have a place" and are "actively ministering to their peers and the whole community" is to be singing his music in sacro-pop band at Mass.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    One must respond to challenges like this carefully; providing lots of information without being snotty, being truthful without being dismissive, and so on. Definitely well done. I don't know the guy, but he sounds from the letter genuinely interested, and I think that letter back will only get him more involved. In my experience failing to start a children's choir at my last church, the biggest obstacle is the parents. I can't count how many parents said to me "my child would be interested but we don't go to the late Mass" UGH - Convenience Catholicism strikes again!
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Gavin, what about setting up chant instruction as paraliturgical? Present it as gaining literacy in what is at once the foundation of Western music and a very rich, scripturally-bedrock prayer life. Along the way, as an aside, mention that these chants are still integral to the Mass, but most people have just forgotten about them. Then the light will go on in someone's head, and the question will be asked from the grassroots: why can't we do this at a Mass, then? Anyone who tries to present a negative answer will have a tougher time. Bottom line: chant instruction is always good. Put the naysayers on the defensive, not yourself.
  • david,

    It's an excellent support of what you are doing. I might have tried to meet him/her at their level of enthusiasm and warmth. Most people who don't know that music has been bad for 40 years won't respond to logical argument, but they will be willing to go along with someone is noticeably excited and positive. I know that I liked responding to people who asked why we didn't sing X (fill in your favorite Haas ditty) by saying,"Well, we could have... but here at St Elmo's we are capable of singing this great hymn (or chant)." and just smile.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    [removed by original poster]
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    My answer: "find me the children interested in a mix of music, rather than those coerced by busybody idiot parents into saying they want **** from the 80s, and I'll find you someone to work with them"

    David, don't let this get you down. News flash: you have people, perhaps thousands, in your parish who don't get Church music. Wow. Incredible. Wait, no I can believe it, we had dozens in my last parish. The bottom line for her or for anyone else is that they can let their kids do it, or they can suppress their interest in music so serve their own selfish interests. And I know which that mother will choose because I had bad parents at my last parish also. It's frustrating, but hopefully you can find some parents willing to involve their kids in a choir without whining because their ideology isn't served.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    Calmness, people, please. Names and overstated adjectives don't help. And remember, please, we're publishing this conversation to everyone on the planet who knows how to type "google". For all time.

    What we have here is people struggling to find common ground given that we're all coming from different places. I can respect that this person finds spiritual value in a diversity of musical styles and abilities. Whether I choose to focus my leadership on that is up to me, but I need to attract people toward sacred music rather than push people into it.

    It takes longer, but you get more permanent results.
  • zapman
    Posts: 5
    Calmness, people, please. Names and overstated adjectives don't help. And remember, please, we're publishing this conversation to everyone on the planet who knows how to type "google". For all time.

    Thank you for saying that, Carl. I've noticed a few postings (and one thread) that have made me raise an eyebrow or two as they scroll by in my RSS reader. (I'm mostly a lurker here.)

    ...I need to attract people toward sacred music rather than push people into it.

    A very astute observation. Just for my own edification, do you have any tips on how to go about this?
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    You know, perhaps I need to seek out a support group, rather than post this stuff here.

    Point taken, Carl D.

    I've removed all the inappropriate content that I posted, and am sinking this discussion. A "google" search won't bring up the original content now.

    Thanks, all.
  • I must have missed something...
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    ARE there support groups for musicians? At any rate, rather than "Hi, my name is Gavin and I'm an organholic", I generally just try to befriend other musicians, and typically would go out for beer after choir rehearsals. One of the things an early organ teacher taught me, the importance of relationships with colleagues.

    And hey, if you're in my city/metro region, let me know and we'll get some beers.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,202
    Michael O'Connor,

    You didn't miss anything.

    I had posted several e-mail exchanges between myself and an unnamed member of my (unidentified) parish who was giving me grief about my apparent insensitivity to the needs, wants and desires of the youth of our parish viz-a-viz the music for Mass.

    Carl D, above, suggested:

    Calmness, people, please. Names and overstated adjectives don't help. And remember, please, we're publishing this conversation to everyone on the planet who knows how to type "google". For all time.

    I took his comment to heart and removed all of my posts that might have given rise to his rebuke or given cause for concern.

    I really want this thread to sink, and to that end would appreciate it if people would simply not post any further comments here.

    Thanks much.
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