Parish Pastoral Council
  • Just to recap on the previous 150 posts - these letters are not unsolicited. We have asked for feedback from the PPC in the presence of the Pastor. It was intended to be in person, but more and more of them are responding via email (because it is easier than conversation....). They are responding because they have been asked to.

    Thank you all for your responses thus far. I do have another one I might share if I have difficulty with a proper response. The thing that really got me was Adam's *CITATION NEEDED*. Though slightly tongue-in-cheek, THAT is exactly my problem here. People are not hearing the excitement from our Children's Choir and Liturgy Choir in learning Latin and how to read neumatic notation!

    We DO have hymnboards and typically use them - however, during Advent, Christmastide, and Lent, we use worship aids which either contain the music or list the hymn numbers. I usually allow the cantors to neglect the hymnboards during these times because they are physically difficult and, for some, impossible to mount or update. I help when I can, but it is a lot of stress taken off the beginning of Mass for both me and the cantor if we don't have to worry about the boards.

    Honestly though, the Latin truly is nearly absent from the liturgy. I stopped doing the (FIRST VERSE) of the Adoro te in Latin when this came to light, and have not done anything in Latin since. EXCEPT: I decided not to switch to the ICEL Chants as I had originally planned for Advent this year. (We always use them for Lent, but I thought it might benefit the congregation to hear them more than once in a year. I decided against it in this "we're not familiar with the music" debate and figured they have come to expect it in Lent... so I'll leave it for this year. My frustration mounted with this when our Parochial Vicar came up to the loft before Mass and expressed disappointment at the fact we weren't using a Gregorian Kyrie. I told him, jokingly, that I would like to keep my job and to talk to the Pastor about it.) However, I realized that almost everyone knows the Agnus dei XVIII and decided to chant that instead. IT IS THE ONLY THING THE ENTIRE CONGREGATION SANG... ROBUSTLY! (This includes our Parochial Vicar who cannot physically sing because of a severe problem with his vocal chords that makes it difficult to even speak. Though not singing, he was mouthing the words right along with us. That had an incredibly powerful impact on me, and I hope the congregation noticed as well.) That is the only hint of Latin in the liturgies right now, and it was never really much more than that.
  • And another one, which is completely contradictory to the first!
    This particular individual is one that responded overly positively when I presented about the Propers at a PPC meeting saying "I think I'm going to read the GIRM! If there are texts that ought to be sung, why aren't we singing them?!"

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention at the start that I believe you are doing a fantastic job with the music ministry. Not only with the actual music (your organ playing at the 4pm Masses is powerful and wonderful, and your piano playing at the other Masses, especially the 10am Mass, is fantastic), but also working with the cantors to build out the adult and children’s choir. But I would like to stress again how your organ and piano playing really enhances the Liturgy….you are a very gifted musician.

    With that said, the basis for most of the discussion in our recent PPC meeting dealt mostly with music selection. I believe I understand what you’re trying to accomplish, especially after listening to your explanation the last time you visited the PPC. I also appreciate the fact that there is something to be said of introducing new music to the congregation, or trying to use songs that fit the most traditional definition of what should be played during Mass.

    But there is another side of the argument we really need to consider. Music enhances a liturgy when people are familiar with the hymns and can participate by singing. When I sit through a Mass and am not familiar with 50% of the songs, I feel as though not only my participation in the Mass, but my level of worship, was not as strong as it could have been. (It’s tough to define, but it’s almost as if when you’re trying to pray, but keep getting distracted by something….at the end, you don’t feel like you were very prayful.). I’m not sure if you can hear above your singing and playing, but there is a definite difference in hearing people sing, when they know the song vs when they don’t know it. When the congregation is quiet during a song, has that specific music selection really accomplished what it was intended to do?

    To sum it up in once sentence: I think if we can just swing the pendulum back slightly towards familiar songs, so that people can sing along, this whole thing will go away. I’m not asking, and I don’t think anybody is, that we stop introducing new music into the Mass; but keeping a “majority” of the music familiar, with new songs interspersed throughout, would be a better formula than a heavier dose of new music.

    I don’t know if you keep records, but I lectored today at the 10am Mass. Music selection was fantastic – I was able to sing every song you selected, and it felt like I fully participated in the Mass. I also heard people singing the songs as well. To that end, as requested by you and Fr. John, I’ve attached a list of the songs I’m familiar with. Please note that of the 100+ songs, I’m sure there are at least 10% - 15% more that I didn’t recognize just flipping through the pages…that if I heard the songs being played I’d be familiar with them as well.

    Another entire issue is Lent, which will be coming up in about 4 months or so. Using my pendulum theme, I believe last year the pendulum swung to the extreme during Lent. I am all for Latin/chanting/subdued music, but just not the extent it went last year. But this is a topic for another meeting/discussion.

    I hope this wasn’t too long to read, and I’m more than happy to answer any questions or provide any additional information. I’d be happy to meet, but again, I don’t think I’d have anything new to add, since you and I spoke on this a few times already.

    Thanks again for your response and time. Remember – it’s a good thing when people voice concern, because it means they care. Much better than people going to Mass and not caring/participating in the music ministry!
  • It really does sound like you have some very REASONABLE and intelligent people that you are dealing with.

    He/She makes some good points. It doesn't sound like you've been where you are too long. I know that to you, especially doing 4 + masses a weekend, 6 months feels like an eternity. But remember, many people have "institutional memory" or 10 years or more! I've been where I am now for almost 4 years, and I just now feel "settled in" and not like I'm new!

    Why don't you back off a bit? During Lent, use "Lord Who Throughout these 40 Days," "Now We Remain," "Deep Within," etc. Also use the chanted ordinary. Chant the propers as a prelude. Next year, do the same. The year after that, look at replacing the entrance with material from "By Flowing Waters." The year after that, do the exact same thing during lent, no more changes - introduce "Regina Caeli" during Easter, along with the favorites. Keep to that for a while .... you get the idea.

    Some here are against such "glacial" change - but I'll tell you what - four years after I've gotten here we now use mainly chant settings of the Gloria, mainly chant settings of the Agnus Dei in latin, and a generous amount of material from By Flowing Waters - along with good hymnody. But that didn't happen my first year. The change is REAL, but it's taken four years to get to this point.
  • For the most part, they are reasonable, but many of them only appear that way on paper. :) These two individuals really are, though.

    I've been here for 2.5 years, so not long at all on the scale of church positions. However, when compared to the past few (many) Directors of Music here, I've been here an eternity!

    We have been using the Graduale Simplex for the Entrance during Lent. My first year here, I did that and used the songs you suggested above. I also used the chanted Ordinary. That raised fewer eyebrows than I had expected.

    Then, I found the Simple English Propers and thought "GOLD! It's English and they're easy so no problem!" and went almost entirely in the direction of chant. THAT was the end of the world. So, I am looking at going back to the model I used my first year here and building from that.

    The Regina Caeli is actually our "Seasonal Chant" after communion for Paschaltide, and I started that last year.

    I'm all for glacial change, but what I thought was glacial was really more like flowing water (see what I did there?) for this congregation. I am definitely taking steps back, but I we also need to keep the momentum going. Pulling TOO far back gives the impression that "we were right! Chant is wrong!" I am hoping my Pastor will allow me, during the abundant weeks of Ordinary Time, to chant the Orbis Factor Kyrie and the ICEL Chant Gloria. For weeks on end, I am hoping that will bring them to the point where chanting the Gloria is as second nature as chanting the Our Father or Agnus dei.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,258
    What about putting the numbers up in (Latin) Roman numerals? Purple!
  • I was told by a colleague of mine that to some Latin has a socio-political agenda attached to it to which they are specifically against.
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • I was told by a colleague of mine that to some Latin has a socio-political agenda attached to it to which they are specifically against.


    YUP.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,798
    I was told by a colleague of mine that to some Latin has a socio-political agenda attached to it to which they are specifically against.
    Yes, Vatican II's endorsement of Latin, and Bl. John XIII's endorsement of Latin -- he devoted a whole encyclical to it -- are based on some socio-political agenda. :-)

    Is it possible that opposition to Latin is associated with a socio-political agenda?


  • TCJ
    Posts: 636
    I get the distinct impression that many people view using Latin as "moving backwards." Who hasn't heard the comment "Latin? We got rid of that a long time ago!"
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • I know I'm preaching to the choir on this forum, but when one is looking over the edge of a cliff, even just a small step backwards is a huge progress. (I understand Cardinal Meisner of Cologne was quoted in the German press in recent years saying something along these lines.)
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • YOU. GUYS.
    This is spreading amongst the people that want me out. Now, instead of it just being the PPC, staff members are causing issues.

    It's Christmas. Here was my Christmas line up for all three Masses:

    THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
    December 24, 4PM
    with the Brass Quintet, Parish Choir, and Parish Children's Choir

    Processional: O Come, All Ye Faithful - arr. Willcocks
    Gloria: Melodic Gloria - Jim Chepponis
    Psalmody: Today is Born Our Savior (Mass at Midnight) - Owen Alstott
    Acclamation: Respond & Acclaim - Owen Alstott
    Offertory: The First Noel - arr. Willcocks (Vs. 2 and 5 led by Children's Choir and Altos)
    Offertory Organ Selection: In Dulci Jubilo - J.M. Bach
    Ordinary: Heritage Mass - Owen Alstott
    Communion Anthem: O Holy Night - A. Adam
    Communion Hymn: Silent Night (sung by Children's Choir)
    Seasonal Chant: Of the Father's Love Begotten (DIVINUM MYSTERIUM)
    Recessional: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - arr. Willcocks
    Postlude: Hallelujah Chorus for Organ/Brass - Handel/arr. Mills

    THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
    December 24, 11PM

    Processional: O Come, All Ye Faithful - arr. Willcocks
    Kyrie: Mass VIII (de Angelis)
    Proclamation: Roman Missal
    Gloria: Melodic Gloria - Jim Chepponis
    Psalmody: Today is Born Our Savior - Owen Alstott
    Acclamation: Respond & Acclaim - Owen Alstott
    Offertory: The First Noel - arr. Willcocks
    Ordinary: Heritage Mass - Owen Alstott
    Communion Motet: O Magnum Mysterium - Morten Lauridsen
    Seasonal Chant: Of the Father's Love Begotten (DIVINUM MYSTERIUM)
    Recessional: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - arr. Willcocks
    Postlude: Toccata on Joy to the World! - D. Cherwien

    THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
    December 25, 10AM


    Processional: O Come, All Ye Faithful (ADESTE FIDELES)
    Gloria: Melodic Gloria - Jim Chepponis
    Psalmody: All the Ends of the Earth - Owen Alstott
    Acclamation: Respond & Acclaim - Owen Alstott
    Offertory: The First Noel - arr. Willcocks
    Ordinary: Heritage Mass - Owen Alstott
    Communion Motet: O Magnum Mysterium - Morten Lauridsen
    Seasonal Chant: Of the Father's Love Begotten (DIVINUM MYSTERIUM)
    Recessional: Joy to the World! (ANTIOCH)
    Postlude: Toccata on Joy to the World! - D. Cherwien

    Today, I received this, among 2.5 pages of critiques of the Music Ministry from a staff member:

    53. Unfortunately, many of the song selections were not conducive to bring people to a
    warm feeling of Christ’s love. It is not always just the song selection, but the
    arrangement of the song. Even when many may know the song, the arrangement is so
    complicated that people cannot sing it or get frustrated trying. Frustration is an
    emotion we are trying to avoid, in my opinion. Annoyance or even anger is better than
    frustration (none are good), but frustration leads to not caring at all and then
    eliminating the opportunity for other parts of the liturgy to reach them.

    57. I have lived in many places in different areas of the country and been in the north shore for about 30 years, involved in different parishes and programs and I can honestly say I have not heard many of the songs that were selected for the 4pm and 11pm in the
    church and when I tried to look beyond that and get some inspiration from the song, I
    could not because I could not understand the words and it was not something that drew
    me into deeper prayer or reached me emotionally.

    Oh.

    To boot, this section started with:

    45. It is no surprise that the quality of the music performance was extraordinary. The
    quality of our musicians and professional cantors is at the highest level on the north
    shore and I imagine in the archdiocese. The quality of the musicians and singers has
    never been in question, in my mind.

    Is this NORMAL? I have never experienced anything like this. AND this went out to the ENTIRE staff. It was a 7-page critique of the Christmas Masses, 2.5 pages on music, 1 page on the Worship Aid (for which I was also responsible), and the remainder on the environment, preaching, etc....
  • Also, if anyone is interested in seeing the full 7-page "document," I'd be happy to share.
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,329
    @bkenney27:
    1. The sky is not falling.
    2. Your orders of worship are fine, even great, except -
    3. There's probably too much Owen Alstott.
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,070
    To say that they are not familiar with that music reflects badly on them, not on you. Those are COMMON pieces, and if they haven't heard them, that's their problem.

    It is absolutely inappropriate for them to be critiquing your job performance in a public way. Complain to your pastor immediately. Keep copies of the correspondence. It is extremely unprofessional (not to mention un-Christian) not to come to you privately, but to CC everyone on this critique.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,798
    The writer is protesting against the parish priest's pastoral, liturgical, and managerial decisions, and the music is only a portion of that. Since this was sent to the staff, that escalates the conflict to a level where the pastor will have to decide things, so simply ask for and follow his direction about this. That probably will mean leaving the whole thing to him.

    The writer has gone over the top, in a way that probably will convince the pastor that the writer has bad judgment or is extraordinarily fussy. Either way, he will know not to cater to this person's complaints.

    For your sake, I'd recommend that you not spend much time on this person's complaints any more; don't share them with people outside the parish, etc. You have more valuable things to do!
  • For your sake, I'd recommend that you not spend much time on this person's complaints any more; don't share them with people outside the parish, etc. You have more valuable things to do!


    Precisely. But I just wanted to make sure this is as ludicrous as it sounds and that I should, in fact, be speaking to the Pastor. I am pretty frustrated because, as I said earlier in the thread, there has been much PASSIONATE talk about how "unfamiliar" the hymns are, and I feel like this person is just trying to pull the rug out from under my feet when I thought I was safe with Christmas Carols.
  • Also, Fr. Krisman, thank you! It sure FEELS like the sky is falling and that my position is in jeopardy (or will be if my Pastor takes these complaints too seriously). And I do agree about the Alstott comment, hahaha. But given where they were before I came, Alstott is a pretty excellent stepping stone to sacred music and hymnody.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,404
    Wow. What great programs! I'm sorry for your situation.

    No, this is not normal. I think I would ignore it.

    (Do people in the pews ever compliment you? Anytime someone compliments you, or anything in your program, ask them to repeat it to your priest so he hears positive feedback. People rarely say anything when the are content unless asked to do so.)
    Thanked by 1Jani
  • My pastor actually told me to tell people that, and I have as much as possible. Problem is, the church is almost empty by the time I finish the Postlude, so I rarely have the opportunity to receive these compliments and ask that they be passed on.

    For the record, I know the recessional was Feliz Navidad at least once at the "midnight" Mass before I came on board. It was, you guessed it, a bilingual Mass.....
  • I'm so sorry you're having to deal with these "Bah! Humbugs!" I second what the others have said, and I would like to add that anyone who finds the Willcocks arrangements confusing or distracting clearly must be a cretin. When you're using Mass parts familiar to the parish, the same style of psalms and acclamations they're used to, standard Christmas carols, the Mass VIII Kyrie, and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, exactly what are the things they've never heard before?

    If you take these complaints seriously, reply with the same music lists you've posted here, and say, "It would be helpful to know which parts of the Mass you found unfamiliar (uninspiring/frustrating/confusing/unintelligible/boring/hateful/scary/etc.)." Sometimes dignifying these things with a response can backfire. I once asked for clarification from someone who claimed the 8' gedeckt (alone!) accompanying the cantor was too loud. The correspondence didn't end well.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,034
    The music looks great, and from what even the letter writer says, it sounds like it sounds great, too!

    But, you know, a lot of what happens in these situations comes down to how a person handles himself in conversations. This is an enormous part of the job. How does a music director come across in meetings, or at coffee 'n donuts, or in those little conversations that come out of nowhere.

    Another very important aspect of this part of the job nowadays is how one handles himself on the interwebs. Personally I've been rather shocked at the amount of information you've been willing to share with the entire world about your local situation, including other people's mistakes, and including things about your boss.

    I guess what I'm wondering is whether what may be lacking a bit is the discretion skill set--knowing what to say and what not to, tact, listening, and that sort of interpersonal gentleness that is usually part of a ministerial job.

    Most of what I'm saying is speculation, so take it with a big grain of salt, but the part about oversharing on this forum--in my opinion, you've gone beyond the bounds of propriety. I would be surprised as a parishioner to find so much information shared on a completely public forum.
  • My main question, especially on the complaint of "unfamiliar" is this: unfamiliar for whom? The complainer is using a lot of ego when communicating: "It doesn't bring ME to deeper prayer" etc. it sounds like the person is using themselves as a standard and assuming that everyone else is that way. I have discovered that many times those in the 2% club(vis a vis When Sheep Attack) complain because they aren't personally satisfied and feel like they have the power to change it. Why else do I get requests for "How Great Thou Art" all the time? Some people have a personal connection to the song and they want to sing it. Either that, or they want to hear everybody else sing it.
  • Kathy, you are spot on. My demeanor here, rest assured is quite different and usually quite patient and pastoral when I'm not speaking with like-minded people; however, I am an academic by nature so I tend to get very lecturey to which I'm finding this congregation does not respond well.
    And yes, there has been quite a bit of over sharing on this thread, but as far as I'm concerned this information is invaluable for anyone who may end up in my position. This situation has at times had me questioning my vocation. If I can avoid that by helping people to see the responses here without having to put THEMSELVES on the line by over sharing publicly, I'm happy to sit in the doghouse for a while if it comes down to it. Nothing here has been intended to be malicious or disrespectful. It is hard because I genuinely love these people, but I do need the help and advice from everyone to make it go over smoothly and to not get frustrated enough to walk. Seeing as I can't really wait until th next Colloquium and many of you are not local, this is the next best thing. But I do hear what you're saying,

    I have asked the individual in question what he would have chosen for Christmas Masses. We'll see....
  • BKenney,

    I will try to e-mail you some further thoughts off-line. What I put here is for public consumption:

    1) Thank this person for his sincerely expressed views.
    2) Ask him if the criteria he set up includes C&E Christians, and how you might find out how not to offend - and how to make them feel welcome, warm and such -- so that you can do better next year. Press for specific points, rather than letting him recede into the woodwork. (If he's doing more than randomly venting, he'll give you something to work with.)
    3) Ask him (even if you already know) why he feels competent to express such strong (and loquacious) opinions on the topic, and how he would feel to be so publicly rebuked. (Yes, you want to use the word "feel", since that's the level of his discourse.)
    4) Ask him if he always feels the same way, about everything: since some people's feelings change, could his be counted on to NOT change, so that you wouldn't do exactly what he asks and get in trouble anyway, because HIS mood changed?

    Happy Feast of St. Thomas Becket
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • Thoughts on today's program?

    Processional: IN DULCI JUBLIO (Good Christian Men, Rejoice!)
    Kyrie: Mass VIII (de Angelis)
    Gloria: Alstott - Heritage Mass
    Psalmody/Acclamation: Alstott - Respond & Acclaim
    Offertory: PLEADING SAVIOR (Holy Patron, Thee Saluting)
    Ordinary: Heritage Mass
    Communion: ES IST EIN' ROS' ENTSPRUNGEN (Lo, How a Rose...)
    Seasonal Chant: DIVINUM MYSTERIUM (Of the Father's Love Begotten)
    Recessional: GLORIA (Angels We Have Heard on High)
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    Typical, typical Brendan program. Translated: Lots of us wish we could be there singing with you, and probably just a few there wish they (or you) weren't!
    Thanked by 2bkenney27 canadash
  • Looks good to me. I really hope things improve for all in 2014.
    Thanked by 1bkenney27
  • I am told by a cantor (who also happens to be a close friend) that I'm not helping my case by not doing traditional Christmas carols. She suggests that I simply select all well-known Christmas carols because we only have a few Masses in which to sing them and everyone expects it. But, I couldn't find anything that I thought fit better for Holy Family than a hymn to Joseph! I dunno.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,037
    I use every Christmas carol possible at least through Epiphany. No one will ever be able to say we don't sing Christmas carols. It is such a short season anyway, it doesn't hurt to give carols some priority. The PR from it is a good thing.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Some divergent points from those above in the latest salvo towards bk27:

    *I don't think you use "too much Alstott," and find that (if serious) comment in conflict of interest by Fr. Krisman. That particular psalm setting for Midnight is well suited for use by all.
    *I do think that only you can determine the volume and content of information you share here or elsewhere on the interwebs. If you are convicted in the truth inside your heart, I would share that truth in whatever discretionary manner you feel necessary. "The truth will set you free." Always and everywhere.
    *Your programming is fine and exemplary for those parishes which struggle in this area. It is, as O'Reilly would declare, "fair and balanced."
    *You could go deeper into carols within OCP's stable for Holy Family than you might suspect:
    -THE SNOW LAY ON THE GROUND (Venite adoremus)- first three verses are Holy Family specific.
    -WHAT CHILD IS THIS?/CHILD OF THE POOR (Soper)
    -INFANT HOLY, INFANT LOWLY
    -SILENT NIGHT/NIGHT OF SILENCE (Kantor)
    -older repertoire still available GOD'S HOLY FAMILY (Schiavone)
    *Non OCP, but surely within the criteria desired by Mr.WarmFuzzy-
    -JOSEPH DEAREST, JOSEPH MINE
    -COVENTRY CAROL

    I fully endorse Charles W's dictum to use carol repertoire thoroughly, even if in a stuffed protocol.
  • Sorry, but I agree on Alstott. He has some fine crafted pieces, but the Respond and Acclaim stuff is just JUNK. Sorry.

    Anyhow - to the OP - here's my take, for what it's worth - and that might not be much.

    Regarding the HIGHLY inappropriate rant CC'd to all members of the staff: You should simply tell your pastor CALMLY that you find it to be inappropriate and offensive. You might mention that aside from the fact that this individual is not your boss and therefore it is not their place to give you performance reviews, it's also ESPECIALLY rude and inappropriate to bring everyone else in on the conversation.

    After having this conversation with the pastor, he can take one of two possible tracks for a response:

    He can:

    1. Speak to this staff member, telling them that they are arrogant, divisive, and rude and that he expects to never see this type of discourse publicly again. It would not at all be an over reaction to tell this person that his job may actually be on the line for that stunt (and mean it). He should follow up with a formal documentation akin to a write up and a plan for performance improvement (i.e. Bob has been informed that future critiques of staff that are not in his purview will not be tolerated. Any further action in this manner may result in termination.) In short, this man should be HUMBLED and calmed immediately or let go.

    OR

    2. Do anything else, including nothing or some combination of looking for real points the guy might have with admitting he might have over reacted, etc. etc.


    If he does number 1, stay put and enjoy the ride. You've got a great pastor and, it sounds like, a great work situation.

    If he does number 2, start looking for another position immediately. He doesn't have your back and will eventually just cave to these people and fire you when you least expect it. Move on now, so that YOU have the advantage.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,798
    I'm with CharlesW: carols are good for this day.

    The St Joseph song is unfamiliar. It probably belongs on days specifically in honor of St. Joseph, unless it relates to the Gospel (the flight into Egypt). In its place, "Lord Of All Hopefulness" is built around the childhood of Jesus, so it could be suitable. I used "As With Gladness" (DIX), which recalls the visit of the shepherds and that of the Magi.

    PGA, of course the Alstott psalms are not so great, but often the parish musicians don't have a choice in the matter.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    "The St Joseph song is unfamiliar."
    Perhaps you should examine its text before endorsing its use, then?
  • The St Joseph song is unfamiliar.

    This is news to me! I think it might have something to do with the fact I grew up in parish whose patron was St. Joseph.... so there's that, haha. But the school uses "Sing of Mary" frequently to PLEADING SAVIOR so I figured the tune would be familiar. I mean, as far as I could tell, they sang it.

    I just received this from the individual in question after asking him what IS familiar for Christmas:

    "Thank you for your feedback and your time. First, I want you to know that I noticed during your message before Mass at the 10 how you invited everyone to sing. Thank you. I must retract my critical comments about the song selections for Christmas. (and I will retract it to the staff) The song selection was fine. I will try to better communicate my concerns. In the case of Christmas and other weekends, it is not the song selection, but has to do with the “sing-ability” (if that is a word) of the arrangement, style, melody, an enhanced melody, a melody with harmony, (I am sure there is a better way to describe it), but the song/music does not seem to invite people to join in and sing."

    Regarding the psalms: What Chonak said. We are trapped with Breaking Bread right now (which I'm trying to change) and Respond & Acclaim is built into that hymnal. Unfortunately, the congregation is so used to the R&A style that they do NOT sing when I try anything else. I have used a few Ostrowski psalms in the past few months and none received the response R&A gets. So, for the time being, they stay. They're the correct text so they're not doing anyone any harm. But I do agree that they are pretty miserable.
  • Perhaps you should examine its text before endorsing its use, then?


    I think he was talking generally, not for himself.
  • I use every Christmas carol possible at least through Epiphany. No one will ever be able to say we don't sing Christmas carols. It is such a short season anyway, it doesn't hurt to give carols some priority. The PR from it is a good thing.


    I always keep carols going through Baptism, at least in some measure. But I read somewhere that Holy Patron was suggested and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Perhaps I was mistaken or there were better choices, but that's why I asked!

    I think I'm using As With Gladness for Baptism and What Child is This for Epiphany.
  • 2. Do anything else, including nothing or some combination of looking for real points the guy might have with admitting he might have over reacted, etc. etc.


    This is exactly what I expect him to do. I would fall over backwards if anything resembling #1 happened.
  • I learned the hard way that we will never be able to please everybody. Your programs look wonderful and I am sure there were many in attendance that were very moved
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,798
    Yes, Melo, now that I've seen the hymn, it's clear. "Holy Patron, Thee Saluting" is rather sentimental stuff. It's about us, about St. Joseph and us, and him praying for us. This is the sort of failing we find it easy to spot in contemporary songs.
  • Aw, come now! I didn't think it was THAT bad. ....Is it?!
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,798
    Stanza 3 is a good stanza: it presents ideas from Scripture, and it's not about us.

    The rest are all about "pray for us", "protect us from vice", "guide us through a happy death", etc.

    For a different example, see the Mass and office propers for this feast in the Liber (pp. 467ff.). The office hymn has some "pray for us" -type material, but not in the first three stanzas.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,034
    The Salve Regina is about us, the Blessed Mother and us, and about her praying for us. I'd say this is normal for Latin hymnody. The problem is the hymn is badly written.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,798
    Maybe I'm fussy, but I like to see the praises come first, and the "pray for us" later! This is how the Salve is structured.

    But go on about how "Holy Patron" is badly written. This is your field, so I'd appreciate your analysis.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,034
    I could, but isn't it obvious?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,034
    (Meant as a serious question, not a purple one)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,798
    @Kathy: If you can mention criteria for identifying bad writing, they might be obvious to you, but some of us would find it informative.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,034
    Ok.

    Assuming this version http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/ANH1921/page/349

    -Verses 3 and 5 are ok, although each has an inexact rhyme.

    Every other verse, and the chorus, (and actually verse 5 but not as egregiously), has some quite unacceptable inversion of word order.

    Word order in modern languages is exacting; it's part of the reason we can get away without inflecting our nouns and adjectives. The place where a noun falls in a sentence tells you whether it's a subject or object.

    A man fell onto the dog

    is different from
    The dog fell onto a man.


    One of the chief difficulties of writing rhymed verse in English is English's rhyme-poverty. Unlike Latin, Spanish, or Italian, where rhymes are easily found, English rhymes are very hard to find. That's especially so, in English, when some of the rhymes are feminine (2-syllable end rhymes), as half of those in this hymn are. It's almost necessary to use verbs at the ends of lines--but ordinarily in English, verbs come earlier in a sentence.

    A compromise that many hymn writers make is inversion of word order. Put the verb last "Benedictions on us shed" or the adjective last "Here we meet with hearts sincere."

    This isn't the only fault here. Verse 2 is nearly unintelligible. But it's a glaring problem.

    I like to think of hymn writing as a craft or skill, like woodworking. When a master craftsman makes something, even something as simple as a wooden chest, for example, the seams are finished. If there were knots in the wood, or if the grain is faulty, or if there is any other problem with the basic equipment, a master is able to finesse the problem so that it comes out finished. Or think of a beautiful piece of lace or embroidery. It has a finished quality. If there have been compromises, they have been handled in a masterful way so that the seams don't show. In this hymn, they show.

    Consider the following hymn, by the master Charles Wesley. Here he often ends a line with a verb, but the entire line has been arranged so that this is natural English word order, as straightforward and robust as natural spoken speech. In addition to a polished, finished handfeel, the hymn also seems to ring with inspiration. We all know singers who are able to ring out the feeling behind a song--Mahaliah Jackson could always do this brilliantly, even without knowing all the words! A well-written hymn is in some way able to communicate the religious impulse that inspired the hymn to those who sing it.
    Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
    Sons of men and angels say; Alleluia!
    Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
    Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply: Alleluia!

    Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
    Where, O Death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
    Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!
    Where thy victory, O Grave? Alleluia!

    Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
    Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
    Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
    Christ hath opened Paradise, Alleluia!

    Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
    Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
    Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
    Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
  • Including this guy. Hymn analysis is not my strongest skill, but I'm working on it!
    Thanked by 1Jani
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    I'm very happy that bk27 seems to have successfully rebuilt the bridge between he and the unhappy staff member. There are two aspects of this thread that I will expiate in two new threads. These have to do with: 1. Inspecific criticism of a composer's body of work, ie. Alstott; and 2. "Attack sheep."
    Regarding the former, I have written a thorough critique of Jeff Ostrowski's Psalter at Chabanel at his request when I was a contributor to the Cafe; it's in the archive. But in contrast, I have not done so for Richard Rice's efforts, Arlene Oost-Zinner, Frs. Kelly and Weber, Mr. Esguerra, Mr. Bartlett, et al, for the simple reason that their efforts rarely if ever have been as scrutinized or criticized as has Alstott's, occasionally Guimant, or the conglomerate folk at WLP.
    I firmly believe that a number of us both presume deficiencies by association with someone's name, such as "Haas/Haugen." That's absurd and ill-mannered. Therefore, when we "name" repertoires as being deficient, we need to, as RC says above, mention criteria, or counter with examples or reasons why that criticism is wholly unwarranted.
    As for the latter, it is just a poll to see if there is some sort of pattern of duress that seems prevelent in our profession.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,034
    Melo, I went to a Mass in Rome yesterday, with Gregorian ordinary and propers--and then they whipped out of absolutely nowhere the Amen from the Heritage Mass. It was SUCH a letdown. There is no comparison between the Cum iubilo Sanctus and the Heritage Mass.

    As a music director I used the Heritage Mass all the time. But it's not in the big leagues. Does this need to be explained, really?

    (Lengthy hymn analysis cross-posted with the last two comments above)