Filling a need
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I just went to Mass today, at the time I will probably be going every Sunday: late in the evening. There was no music at the Mass at all--no choir, no instruments, and the priest was a little flustered today and forgot to sing/recite the Gloria. (I asked him about it after Mass and he was embarrassed that he forgot.)

    Anyway, they have this beautiful, echo-y cathedral-like church up there, and I was talking to the priest and a lady at the adoration sign up table and she said that they practically begged the music ministry to set up a choir for the evening Mass, but can't get anyone to commit. I told them that I had experience singing Latin chant and polyphony from an EF Mass back in Texas, and I didn't know if they were interested, but I would like to help them with music for that Mass if I could. There is a schola-ish group here that practices that kind of music, but they don't sing for any Mass, and the lady said Sunday evening was very hard for people to fit in their schedules so they couldn't get anyone to commit to anything.

    I'm only going to be here through August, also... And I know I will be missing a few Sundays in Feb/March... so if I started something, it would have to be something that could keep going after I left.

    I don't know anyone in this parish, really, because I am new, but ANY music is better than none, even just a lone person singing. I really want to sing some beautiful Latin chants for these guys and teach the congregation if they'll let me. The schola-type group is taking a break for the winter so I can't hook up with those guys and get more people interested, but as soon as they get back in session, I'll be all over them.

    I have a few questions for you guys.

    1) What could I do to generate interest, so I could get a little group together and we could practice, and it wouldn't be just me. I'd even hold the practices in my house if it came to that.

    2) If it is just me, would that be bad? I'm really NOT the concert or solo type but I can sing easy ordinaries in Latin just fine, and I practice my heart out. I wouldn't make it a concert at all. Hopefully I wouldn't be miked even... I can project my voice just fine... And I want the congregation to sing along with me.

    3) Should I go all out with Latin ordinaries from the PBC or find some nice English ones as well? I know the English Our Father chant so we could sing that in English and the other stuff in Latin (esp. the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin, those are easy). I don't want to shock the congregation's system or whatever but they don't really have any music at all... the little they had was intoned off-key and was from some silly sixties Mass anyway.

    4) Does anyone know the Gather book well here? That's the hymnal they have, and if I sing anything I want it to be in a hymnal so the congregation can follow along with me. (I'd use the PBC myself; I read chant notation better for singing, personally.) I have a feeling that those who sing already would sing along in Latin once they heard it a few times. What ordinaries are in the Gather book? They should have all the jubilate deo ordinaries, right?

    5) How should I pitch my idea to the pastor and music ministry so I don't mess up?

    6) I'm I being too overzealous...?

    For me to help it obviously has to clear with the pastor and the music ministry. But the pastor is the kind who chants bits of the Mass so I think he'd be for it. Maybe not Latin, but maybe Latin. I'm going to say, that since it will all have to be acapella, Gregorian Chant sounds beautiful acapella in that large cathedral-like space, and we could really bring some simple beauty to a Mass that is pretty much music-less otherwise. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself but I really think that I could swing this. Put an announcement in the bulletin asking for interest... hit up the schola-group once they get back in session... and then once I am slotted in, before Mass starts announce or get someone to announce the page numbers of the ordinaries so that the congregation could find them and follow along.

    What do you guys think?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    You have almost perfect place start the schant schola. Don't worry too much about the outcome that you don't have control over. I'm sure you pray and know whether God is calling you. Just a little sign for the church bulletin to get poeple, (of course you ask the pastor to approve) and run it as long as you are allowed to. Have you ever heard this, "I'll plant the seed, even if tomorrow is the last day" (I didn't say it quite right, but you got the idea)

    This is a sample for the bulletin announcement. (there might be other ways to start too, )(My main purpose at that time was studying them. I wasn't really thinking of singing in the Mass. After a couple of month later, our pastor asked to sing on Saturday Mass.)

    "Anyone interested in learning and singing Gregorian Chant? Our parish will be forming a Chant Study Group that will study chant notation, interpret and sing chants. You don't have to be able to read music to take part - we will start from the very beginning. Join us and discover why Gregorian chant is among the most beautiful sacred music in our Catholic Tradition and one of the great treasures of Christianity. We will meet once a week. For more information please contact Mia Coyne at"

    God Bless
  • I agree with Mia... when no one will be angry at you for doing Sacred music (because no one else wants the spot), you'll probably get more appreciation. I started with the same thing here and it has really gone well. PUt a simple flyer together and put the word out among folks that attend that Mass... you'll probably get quite a few who are interested and a core group who will stick with the rehearsals and weekly Mass.

    My advice would be to keep it really simple -- Jubilate Deo ordinaries -- many of the parishioners will likely be somewhat familiar with them.

    Do the responsorial psalms simply and unaccompanied with office psalm tones... same with the Alleluia verse... simple chanted English Our Father.

    The Gather hymnal does have many nice traditional hymns you can choose in it. Some of them have been changed for political correctness (i.e. Good Christian Friends Rejoice)... but you can surely find some traditional tunes with non-heretical text in there.

    To make it interesting for yourself and others in your (to be formed) schola, you can add seasonal Communion chants or an occasional Introit...

    Even though it might be more interesting to you to do more propers and a different Mass setting, those who have done this in other places have always emphasized that the need to move slowly so that the people in the pews can come along with you is very important. Plus, since you will not be there indefinitely, these simple things can be continued by your schola once you have gone away...

    I make up Mass booklets to hand out for each season... I'd be willing to share them with you for an idea if you would like. email me and I'll send you an example.

    Keep your eyes open for a potential leader to take over when you are gone and groom him/her for the job :)
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    You could also start off simply by being a cantor/psalmist. Chant the Sanctus, "Amen" after the Per ipsum, Agnus Dei, and Communion antiphon -- all in English, to accustom the parishioners to this approach. Then the Alleluia before the Gospel, the RP (Chabanel or other good source), Introit, and Offertory -- in that order. Use the Gloria Patri psalm tones.

    To introduce Greek/Latin, start with the Kyrie (do a simple one) and then the Sanctus and Agnus.

    From there, people may well be going along with you well. Then try singing the Pater and perhaps a simple Gloria, both in English.

    To introduce Latin, start with a Latin Communio with verses (because people want to pray, and the Latin will make your singing less obtrusive). From there, a Latin Offertory. Check out Chant Abregés for simpler but good alternative melodies.

    If all this goes well, you and your fellow parishioners will be one of the lucky parishes in the US to experience not only a profoundly reverent Mass, but the kind of subtle cultural shift we are all working diligently with our beloved Pope to bring about.
  • WGS
    Posts: 299
    I'm presuming this will be an OF Mass. I would like to think that you and the celebrant will proceed in accord with the three "degrees of participation" as defined in #28-31 of Musicam sacram. Thus, the greeting and reply at the entrance, the acclamation at the Gospel, the various responses in the Eucharistic Liturgy - including the Sanctus and the Lord's Prayer all come first. If you are singing all of them, you may proceed with some or all of the second or third degree.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    [snip] These degrees are so arranged that the first may be used even by itself, but the second and third, wholly or partially, may never be used without the first. In this way the faithful will be continually led toward an ever greater participation in the singing.

    29. The following belong to the first degree:
    (a) In the entrance rites: the greeting of the priest together with the reply of the people; the prayer.
    (b) In the Liturgy of the Word: the acclamations at the Gospel.
    (c) In the Eucharistic Liturgy: the prayer over the offerings; the preface with its dialogue and the Sanctus; the final doxology of the Canon, the Lord's Prayer with its introduction and embolism; the Pax Domini; the prayer after the Communion; the formulas of dismissal.

    30. The following belong to the second degree:
    (a) the Kyrie, Gloria and Agnus Dei;
    (b) the Creed;
    (c) the prayer of the faithful.

    31. The following belong to the third degree:
    (a) the songs at the Entrance and Communion processions;
    (b) the songs after the Lesson or Epistle;
    (c) the Alleluia before the Gospel;
    (d) the song at the Offertory;
    (e) the readings of Sacred Scripture, unless it seems more suitable to proclaim them without singing.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I would say start off solo. When people compliment you say "I'd love for you to join me if you enjoy it." If not, tell them you'll look forward to them singing in the pews. Pes's listing of degrees is a good way to start too.

    I don't even know if Gather has JD. Ritual Song does, but that's more "blended". I would suggest handouts? Again though, start ASAP and just do the singing because it needs to be done. People will join as they are moved to.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    If you do it alone, then I'd want to make sure that people understand that they are invited and strongly encouraged to join you in the future. Otherwise most people may just sit back and enjoy the music, but never think to contact you about joining.

    It can make people nervous to think of themselves as the second person in a group of two. After the group gets larger, more people will consider joining.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    @ WGS: It is an OF Mass. If I recall correctly, the celebrant already sings the greeting and reply at the entrance, and the acclamation at the Gospel. We *attempted* to sing the Sanctus and did not sing the Pater Noster. I'm thinking I can start there, with an English Lord's Prayer and the jubilate deo Sanctus (because it's profoundly simple and beautiful).

    @ Pes: They already do the Kyrie in Greek at the other Masses here, I think, or that might be downtown that they do it, but... I have a feeling most parishioners in here wouldn't mind that being in Greek because when I go to Masses in other places that's most commonly in Greek in my experience, actually. I'm going to ask the music ministry if I can "audition" for a cantor-type role at this Mass.

    @ Mia: they already have a schola here, so actually, most of that work is already done. I just need to meet with them and convince some of them--those who have the time in their schedules--to sing at MASS instead of just at practice Monday night.

    Will someone please point me to some good English ordinaries, and psalm tones for the responsorial psalm?


    Okay, so I will pitch the idea to the Pastor and the music director, whoever it is. I don't mind singing solo at all. I will ask if I could maybe, before Mass starts (which is when they do announcements) announce page numbers in the hymnal for the music, which would clue people in that I want them to sing along if they can, and maybe also at that time ask if anyone might be interested in singing chant for the Mass.

    I'm really tempted to just go all out with all Latin ordinaries -- I love the Gloria from Missa de Angelis -- but I will ask the music director what he thinks. I also love the Latin Pater Noster... but the English one is good too.

    I'll keep you guys updated on what the pastor says... in the meantime, please keep posting pointers and suggestions!
  • Jam,

    Ted Marier's English Chant Mass can be found in the Adoremus hymnal. It's quite good and easily learned. Stands up to repeated use.

    As for responsorial psalms, I'd also be interested in settings that don't have a metric response. Many of the Chabanal psalms are good, but the responses are sometimes awkward. I'd like to know where there are some chant-like responses out there.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Michael, could he use the responsorial settings in Paul Ford's adaptation of the Simplex, i.e. By Flowing Waters? IIRC, there isn't anything metrical in there.

    Incidentally, Ford is right about a seasonal Mozarabic communio for Eastertide, which he adapts beautifully: it is simple and glorious. Alberto Turco's group, the Nova Schola Gregoriana, sings it masterfully on one of their recordings -- I think it's on "Adorate Deum." If I were a cantor at an OF Mass, I would make that thing a workhorse. Never gets old, unlike a lot of "Taste and See" settings these days.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Michael: Chabanel has many non-metrical settings. Look for the ones by the guest authors, particularly Arlene.

    Pes, are you referring to psalm 34 from BFW? I used that for a congregational communion psalm at my last church, it was a real favorite.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    That's the one. Number 364 or 346 in the book, I can't remember. It's the Mozarabic setting of "Taste and See." You can hear the congregational Alleluia response at Amazon here.

    Anyone care to sell me a copy of Marier's Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Canticles? It's rare as hen's teeth these days.
  • RobertRobert
    Posts: 343
    Our schola just tried the Mozarbic Gustate from the Simplex last week and it worked very, very well. I have to say that I rather deliberately copied Turco's rhythmic approach from the Adorate Deum CD :-) Funny how sometimes the simplest stuff can be incredibly beautiful and effective.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Just want to throw this out there: I'm female. And kinda young. So I'm really nervous and don't know exactly where to start or what to do. I quit a choir back in Texas because I didn't want to stand in the sanctuary anymore.

    I'll do some more research into music in the meantime.
  • Jam : Regarding the Charbanal psalms: Some of the "awkwardness" you mentioned in the psalms responses are very much justified by the perfect modal harmonies presented in the organ scores by Mr. Ostrowski. Some of these passages are quite energetic and contain some subtle syncopations of textual and melodic accents. The more difficult passages must be presented with smoothness and with authority.- finesse. Some of the intervals inferred as awkward are employed to establish the mode's shape and will sound "awkward" if our ears are anticipating another mode or a major key. Many need the organ part. You could chant using psalm tones for the response. I do this frequently accapella, from the sanctuary-: now we even use the solemn tones for the response ( though not often) with the congregation.
    I would avoid using any chorale type hymns or or contemporary hymns except the chanted hymns in Jubilate deo.
    My favorite English Gloria for the last 30 years is from Worship and Worship II GIA by Lee- a psalm tone . soh- la doh--ti,soh la/ soh---- mi, fa, so. I will use this simple piece during big solemn liturgies rather than elaborate Glorias with trumpets, or satb, or especially over the "Mass of Creation." This allows the congregation to sing so well that the sound becomes a massive prayerful chant . And the choirs' voices remain relaxed. The English text of the Gloria does not adhere well to rhythmic metered settings. Just use the Latin texts. You will be amazed at the rich poetry in the Latin. Texts such as "In Splendoribus sanctorum ex utero ante luciferum genuite"or the " Stabat Mater," lose about 75% of its meanings in any English translation. This Latin texts contain amazing grammatical architecture and sound and invites reflection, and should be sung in Latin.
  • Our pastor, Fr. Jeff Keyes is arranging responsorial psalms based on the
    antiphon melodies of the Psalterium Monasticum with a corresponding
    Gregorian Psalm Tone for the Verses. They work well, sound "Catholic" and
    are used at all the English masses. I think they can be found on the Chanabel
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Update time:

    I went and had a conference with the music director. My voice passes the bar, and the ordinaries I selected also do, as they're in the hymnal (except for the Kyrie, but it is very simple and she was like, "they'll learn it"). Everything seemed to be going really well... the pastor gets back from vacation on Friday, so in a week or so he'll have time to get to it all, and the music director seemed pretty enthused. She said that I would need cantor training, however. Sounds great to me.

    Enter the cantor trainer. Apparently her son left the church for atheism at some point, because the Mass and the faith weren't "relevant" to him. She encouraged me to include more than just chant in my ideas because that Mass apparently is the one that all the confirmation kids go to (high school age folk, I guess). So the Mass needs to be "relevant" to them. Not all in Latin, etc. But then again, she loves chant, and believes that it has a timeless place in our church, and also thinks that Latin ought to be part of the faith and kids should have more exposure to it, so all she wanted was for me to "mix it up" a little. My only hesitation was that I didn't want anything to sound dissonant, that all the parts of the Mass should match, and she went on this little talk about how liturgy lends itself to variety because each part of the Mass has a different emotion attached to it and they blend together as the Mass progresses. (The whole time all I could think of was, "you have NO idea what liturgy has been about for the past thousand years," but I think I managed to hide my disappointment.)

    In a few weeks, we'll see what happens. I will undergo cantor training. I think that my Greek and three Latin ordinaries from Jubilate Deo will probably fly. (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei.) The music director expressed a sincere like for the English Our Father chant, so I think that's in. I have yet to find a good English memorial acclamation (help, please?), but I promised that would be in English, also. I think what we decided is that the "variety" of music will happen in the various hymns for the day (processional, communion, recessional, etc.). Since there are no instrumentalists who can commit, I made the argument that the beautiful acappella ordinaries would be best for the parts of the Mass that never change, so that people can learn them and sing them with or without instruments. As for the hymns, which change from day to day, we could mix those up with various types of music and various kinds of instruments accompanying depending on who was available. (The cantor trainer plays guitar and will start playing guitar for that Mass come March I think.)

    So, I'm still going to pursue this idea, and keep learning some good responsorial psalms from the Chabanel Psalm project. (Sang one for the music director and she liked it.) I'm going to push these five chants as much as I can without pushing people away. I am willing to compromise, but I won't compromise TOO much... if the Mass starts becoming one of those Masses that makes me crazy with its stupid music, I won't subject myself to that; I just can't. But I will do my best where I'm at to pursue good music for this music-less Mass. If I fail, then I fail. But I haven't given up yet.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Sounds great. There's no failure, in God's eyes your effort will never be counted as a failure, no matter what. You have a good MD. 4 ordinaries in latin is a good start! (not many churches 'allow' that) I think good English memorial acclamation is in the 'By the Flowing Water'. I included memorial accalmation in latin, it's going to take time for the people to learn. They really don't know this part. If the poeple there are not used to latin at all, it's better not do so many latin at first, I think. I suggested Our Father in latin in my parish, my pastor said that might be too much , so I don't do it , (at least not yet, there will be a right time). It will take time. Hymns for other parts, whoever choose the music, is there anyway you can ask for organ accompanyment for them, even with guitar, if whe wants to. Don't loose your MD's support. Be supportive of her ministry and help and maintain a good relationship. (my 2cents). I'll pray for you, and you are being an instrument for bringing this tremendous gift to your church. God Bless your church and your work. Keep posting please.
  • JAM, I sent you the Mem Acc settings by Richard Rice. He posted them awhile ago... they are very nice, too.
  • I can't help but think the DM's son left the Church for reasons other than the music. I mean, weren't they doing 'relevant' music at the time? I thought that was the purpose of Haas and Co. The fact that he pursued atheism tells me that he is at a point where he trusts science and his own senses more than his heart. It's too bad that post-post-modern culture puts so much stock in the observable. I hope its just a phase. I have a good friend (who is a Unitarian music director) who is a confirmed atheist and essentially hails Dawkins as his prophet. The man is very good at dialectic. (e.g., "The accident of my birth dictates whether I am Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist." to paraphrase). He is a master of the simple argument and draws in people who "want to be right" about the nature of existence. For me, this misses the point. My argument has been that every generation has believed in their own enlightenment and that religion is only for weak minds. For an educated person, being religious admits that there is knowledge and understanding beyond our current state. One only has to look back in history to see how incomprehensible our own knowledge must have seemed to folks just in the 19th century (and they were not exactly drooling idiots). For me, atheism is the lazy way out (not saying it doesn't have its social stigma, though). It admits only the observable and ignores the possibilities of the supernatural and meta-consciousness. If either of thos do not exist, the universe is indeed a dull place!
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Miacoyne, I don't think there is an organ in the church at all, so I can't ask for that, unfortunately.

    Mr. O'Connor, I'm with you, but I think she meant that more about the church than just the music wasn't ministering to him. She kept telling me about how, whatever you do for the church or liturgy, you're a "minister" and need to minister to EVERYONE sitting in the pews, not just certain folk. Hence the pushing of variety. So I guess there was more about the church that drove him away than music, but since her chosen ministry is music, that's where she's gonna put her focus.

    When I mentioned that the current pope said Gregorian Chant is the only kind of music perfectly suited to the liturgy, she asked me, "and how old is he, and where does he live?" I answered, "um, old, and in the Vatican." Her reply was basically along the lines of, the pope is old and far away, he doesn't understand this particular people here. That's our job as music ministers. I kind of just shrugged and conceded the point, but if I were to keep arguing, now I'd say, the pope is supposed to be our spiritual father, our shepherd, in charge of keeping our faith alive, guarding what has been passed down to him for thousands of years. Liturgy is the ultimate expression of our faith--not our preferences, our FAITH. The music of Haas hasn't been passed down and developed and perfected over centuries. It isn't the expression of faith of countless numbers of Catholic Christians. It's the expression of faith of Haas. He might be a good guy, I dunno, maybe even a saint in the making, but even so, he's just one guy. Same with all these hymn-writers and innovators nowadays. I think it would be best if we listened to our spiritual father, if we recovered what our faith was always about, and how it was expressed over centuries.

    Okay. Rant over. I guess I'm just frustrated because I see in the Eastern Churches (Coptic, various kinds of Eastern Orthodox) a continuous, unbroken line of development of chant from ancient times to now. The chants down the street at the Antiochian parish here are far more Westernized/Americanized than their Arabic/Byzantine counterparts, but they're still chant, they retain the same essence that all chant has. This kind of ancient, mystical essence that can only come from centuries of organic development of texts, modes, and melodies. Now, when I try to bring the rich heritage of the Catholic Church somewhere, the Latin Church, it's accepted warmly, which is good--but only to a certain extent. Certainly not for everything. Let's have variety. Let's have chant AND Haas. We love them both. I'd make someone mad if I insisted that no, chant is better than Haas, spiritually and in every other way, it's not just a matter of preference... bah. I just need to get this out of my system, I guess. I was really disappointed and afraid when I realized that Haas and guitars were going to find this way into that Mass no matter what I did. I might be discouraged, but I'm not giving up yet.

    (Don't mean to pick on Haas so much; he's just a symbol of that kind of music.)
  • yeah, you forgot about haugen :)
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Jam, I truly hope you focus on what you can, not what you can't. It seems that even a bit of you can is a gift to your church. Pease remember you are planting a small seed, which can bear a lot of fruits, which you might not even see. (my two cents advice again. Don't forget the Novena.)
  • "and how old is he, and where does he live?" I answered, "um, old, and in the Vatican."

    These words should be chiseled into a stone of granite....which then should be ceremoniously dropped on the toes of anyone who would ask such a question.

    A little incense and candles as part of the ceremony, please.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,181
    Sometimes I think it might help if we could take these people to a Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox or Eastern Catholic church.

    It would be a liturgy sung from the texts in the liturgical books, not with hymns replacing the propers; this is a basic idea that so many parish musicians don't know at all.

    And it would be a liturgy where it is quite normal for the priest to face East and chant the anaphora (Eucharistic prayer) while the choir and people are still singing the Sanctus, where the complexity of the rites is accepted as a point of beauty and richness.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Jam - With due respect to Abraham Lincoln... You can minister to some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't minister to all of the people all of the time. On the other hand, if you constantly compromise with 'variety', you can successfully minister to none of the people all of the time.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 993
    The verb "to minister," with its companion noun "ministry," needs to go on a long vacation. I'm sure the two words can find a room at the same place I recommended for "nurturing," "empowering," and "self-realization."

    Blended liturgies have one result - at any given moment, at least 50 percent of the congregation is annoyed.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623

    I kind of just shrugged and conceded the point, but if I were to keep arguing, now I'd say, the pope is supposed to be our spiritual father, our shepherd, in charge of keeping our faith alive, guarding what has been passed down to him for thousands of years. Liturgy is the ultimate expression of our faith--not our preferences, our FAITH.

    Excellent point.

    I attended Mass the other week at a local parish at 5:30 pm. I suppose people would call it a "blended" Mass, but that is a gross misnomer. More like a chopped salad, really. I had my daughter with me in the cry room. There were about five adults in there. One woman in particular voiced her responses very, very earnestly, and she sang the pseudo-folk tunes with gusto. What becomes of her piety if the Mass actually followed the first Roman preferences? Are we ok with her becoming silenced, annoyed, and leaving? This is a delicate question.

    I'd begin by saying that your hindsight response is enormously mature. It takes a certain level of maturity to recognize that individualized expressions of piety, in the great prayer that is the (Gregorian) Mass, are truly "blended" into an expression that takes up and thereby transcends each individual -- across individual temperaments, generations, and Church history itself. The mistake a lot of people make lies in their failure to recognize this trascendence as connected to their own internal and individual longings. No matter how much the Church talks the talk of "one Body," the people who want to express their charismatic kinds of enthusiasms completely fail to realize how intensely inwardly-focused they really are. That is, if a setting of the "Gloria" doesn't express their feelings of fervency and joy, then that setting "doesn't speak to them," and they feel abandoned. Poor parishioners! It seems never to occur to them that a given setting may be calling them to take a more collectivized and historical attitude, to see themselves as part of a much larger and greater whole. To do this, a chant must blend things, like a refiner's fire. This attitude is more mature because it is less egocentric, and it is no less intense and real than any (temporary) gust of religious passion.

    If that 5:30 Mass were suddenly to be offered precisely as it is supposed to be, as per Vatican II (cf. Inclina Domine CD), I wonder whether that woman next to me would, in time, come to sing those enormously moving chant responses with the same gusto as she sang "One Bread, One Body." And I wonder whether she would, in time, come to love the rhapsodic flourishes of the Gradual, the quicksilver of the Alleluias, and the sublimity of hearing multiple members of the schola, male and female, sing psalms with such beauty and balance. Surely, with enough discussion and attentiveness, even the most ardent pseudo-folkie will come to recognize the outpourings of the Spirit in the varieties of sacred chant -- let alone the ecstasies of traditional and modern polyphony!

    All it takes is to lay down one's life and follow.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Young people these days are brought in me , me ,me -centered world. Humility is not in the school vocabulary list. (Literally, when I said the word being 'humble'' to 5th grade class in a school, they were puzzled and asked what that means. They never heard the word before they said.) Kids are not taught to be proud as children of God, but taught and pressured to be proud of what they can do for themselves. Humility and sacrifice, the only way to be close to Christ, how do you teach them in modern culture?
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Show them sacrifice.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    I hope I show the 'Sacrifice' today through our singing. (Of course, I'll try to do in my daily life too. Because you cannot give through your singing what you don't have.)
    We sang "Qui manducat" (Thanks to the Stepping stone CD recommendation. Your schola singing I prefer to Turco's group,(I hope I'm allowed to say this.) and my schola agreed.) The antiphone is most touching and expresses the core of our faith. I can never sing this enough. My schola got it! It was beautiful. They sang every note from their hearts. The sacrifice, the comfort, and the hope and the trust with the beautiful melody line for "Dixit" too. Everynote made sense and alive.
    Actually what I was going to say was that this morning we had a priest who told us not to sing 'Kyrie," becasue the Mass gets too long, and not to sing 'Mysterium Fidei' because he doesn't know it. Well, we obeyed (without any frowning, does that count as a little sacrifice for our schola?. ) No matter what, I'll never forget that priests gave up eveything to give us Jesus. Can never be thankful enough to them. The priest we had today has a real good voice and very 'efficiant' (super speed Mass). I actually want him to say Latin mass for us someday, only if God let him and he says 'yes.' That would be really awesome.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636

    I basically got a "thank you, but no thank you" from the parish council today. Apparently there are a lot of different kinds of people who go to the Sunday night Mass, and they don't want chant there for people who would be "unfamiliar" with it, and wouldn't be around consistently at that Mass to learn it. (Although, that applies to any music, doesn't it?!)

    The thing is, they just don't want chant. I like it, and the music director likes it, but not everyone likes it, and they want to make everyone happy.

    I'm actually really upset right now. But I'm not going to fight them. If they don't want chant, then they don't want the heritage of the Catholic church through the centuries. If they don't want the heritage of the Catholic church through the centuries, then they don't want me.

    I have so much I wish I could say to them. But I'm not going to say anything. I'm not going to fight them. I'm finished here, I guess. Thanks for all your suggestions, though!
  • So sorry for your disappointment, JAM... but my suggestion would be to just keep singing chant outside of the parish and develop a good repertoire of chant hymns and ordinaries... maybe plan music for another type of event that would perhaps be more open to hearing you... if you haven't read Arlene and Jeffrey's article on starting a garage schola... they mentioned singing outside Mass for a long while and finding support that way first.

    Shake off the dust and find a place that welcomes you!

    PS Why is the parish council making this decision? What did the pastor say about it? Does he agree with them, but doesn't want to be the bad guy who tells you?
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Our Mother Church cannot afford anyone giving up on singing and promoting sacred music at this point. What's going on with the schola in that parish you mentioned earlier? Are they doing anything? It's too much for one person to do. Can they start a Vespers , starting only with people who want to come, keep it low for now, maybe just once a month? Or sing just simple Kyrie and Agnus Dei on Saturday morning mass? (I noticed many parishes 'tolerate,' (this is a sad word to use.)Kyrie, especially during lent, and add a Gregorian hymn at the communion? simple ones like Adoro te Devote?)
  • A Parish Council has no power over nor should they ever be involved, in a decision about anything in the Liturgy.

    Any parish that permits any discussion of music at a parish council meeting is skirting on very, very slippery grounds.
  • 'They just don't want chant... they want to make everyone happy.'

    The only people whom They want to make happy are Themselves. This is nothing less than an institutionalised tyrany of dumbness. And, as said above, parish councils are neither compentent nor given authority in matters liturgical. The pastor and those competent musicians to whom he chooses to delegate authority have sole jurisdiction here. The pastor has, evidently, abdicated his resposibility and doesn't mind offense or hurt to those who like chant, but is terribly afraid of offending Them. (This is astonishing. On one discussion we weigh in on whether Catholics should sing Now Thank We All Our God, and on another we consider whether Catholics can sing [or are Allowed to sing] Gregorian chant! That there is any question about it is insane. This is premeditated cultural suicide.)
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    "PS Why is the parish council making this decision? What did the pastor say about it? Does he agree with them, but doesn't want to be the bad guy who tells you?"

    Pardon, I meant liturgy committee. The pastor is the head of it. I never actually talked to the pastor myself, though, just through the music director, so it only makes sense that he should respond via her also.

    In other news, the leader of the Monday-night schola here is very old, and I think he is sick at this time. So I have not been able to meet any of these people or ask about doing any kind of liturgy. They do not do any liturgies at this time; they just learn chant and polyphony together. I have been invited to go ahead and get the cantor training, however, which I think I will go ahead and do; maybe I'll be able to slip in a Chabanel psalm or two into liturgy here someday. And I have also been invited to a taize chant thing that will be going on during Lent sometime. Just people getting together and learning to sing it. Sounds interesting.

    At least there is a small, flickering hope for sacred music in the Anchorage diocese. I went to the cathedral's once-a-month Latin Mass last Saturday and heard a very beautiful polyphonic pange lingua during communion. The schola there uses only male voices for the propers, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear strong female voices coming from the loft. (The congregation sings all the ordinaries along with the schola.) I want to ask about joining their schola, but I have too much going on in my life at the moment. I'd probably annoy them all by constantly asking if we could do more things than just that Latin Mass once a month.