Formation of CMAA chapters
  • Chris
    Posts: 80
    As most of you are aware, I'm one of the newbies on this site. I joined the CMAA in January, and I've been reading through this marvelous forum almost daily since I stumbled upon it (quite by accident) back then. I am not, however, green-behind-the-ears when it comes to sacred music. Although certainly not a battle-worn veteran from the trenches of the late sixties and seventies, I've been working in church music as a DOM for a number of years now, and was not previously familiar with the CMAA. When I inquired of local colleagues and other DOM friends as to their knowledge of the CMAA, only 2 of them (out of about 15) were familiar with it. All of them, however, are well acquainted with NPM. I, myself, am a recovering Chapter Director.

    So I found myself asking, um, myself, why is this? General publicity for the organization? Lack of a presence at other conventions and symposia? I guess what I'm skirting around is the inquiry as to why there aren't any CMAA local chapters. The discovery of this organization has completely renewed my weary sprite which was, until recently, longing to flye out of my troubled brest. (Thank you, Mr. Campion.) This can't be the first time this subject has been broached. Can anyone enlighten me?

    Chris
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Well,for many years, the CMAA kept a low profile, publishing Sacred Music and holding the Colloquium. As everyone knows, those were difficult years for Catholic church music in general. Our new times, however, have given new energy and purpose to the CMAA, and we are probably just seeing the beginnings of what could turn into something truly spectacular. Already the Chant Intensive has broken records for attendance at a week-long, chant-only teaching program. And the Colloquium has increased by 50% each year for 4 years, and this year might double last year, or more. Also, technology has been a great help here, obviously.
  • If this year's Colloquium attendance doubles that of last year Jeffrey, you are to be congratulated. Most folks in my neck of the woods are feeling the impact of the recession. (No one here in the North East doubts it's a recession.) Unless you live within daily commuting distance, the CMAA summer sessions can be a financial strain for many.

    As to the formation of local chapters, I'm not certain how much impact they would have. The NPM chapter in the Boston area has never had much of a visible presence (even among those who champion sacro-pop). And most local CMAA members not only already know each other but frequently work together in scholas. Reaching those who are not yet acquainted with the work and mission of CMAA perhaps could be enhanced by a local chapter, but I have trouble envisioning how that would transpire.

    I'm open to counter arguments. Convince me and I'll organize.
  • Stella611
    Posts: 111
    Randolph Nichols,
    I am curious to know exactly where you live in New England? I'm guessing Massachusetts since you mentioned Boston, but I may be wrong. I was just wondering since I'll be headed back to Vermont as a DM in May after I graduate from college.
  • Kimberly,
    Lincoln (western suburb between Concord and Lexington). I make St. Paul/Cambridge my base, but sing once a month in a chant schola in Beverly under Michael Olbash's direction (OF) and on occasion at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton (EF).
    Though parish music culture tends to be pretty dreadful in this area, Boston offers a treasure-trove of musical riches. I hope you've been able to take advantage of them. Best wishes in your Vermont DM position.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 989
    Down here in the wilds of northeast Florida, attempts to organize some local NPM chapter have never gone anywhere. AGO chapters seem to do better because of the Episcopalians. NPM has the money for large-scale mailings to clergy and diocesan staff, etc. I think CMAA will continue to grow through technology and word-of-mouth marketing.

    Just tell everyone you know about the organization. You don't know where your words will spread.
  • AOZ
    Posts: 369
    Words of wisdom, Mary Jane. I think you are precisely right.
  • Chris
    Posts: 80
    Word of mouth is always an excellent idea, and I will certainly try to bring aboard as many folks as I can. The CMAA has made a tremendous impact on me, and I'd be remiss in not sharing it with others!

    My experiences with local chapters are vastly different from MJ's and Randolph's, however. I live in NJ, where there are 5 NPM Chapters, 3 of which are extremely active (1 of them was actually acting in place of a diocesan Office of Worship for a long time), and 8 or 9 AGO Chapters, all with active memberships. I have been both an NPM Chapter Director and an AGO Dean, and know both organizations inside and out. Again, here in NJ.

    Since their inceptions, these 3 very busy NPM chapters have been influencing DOM's, Organists, and other folks who have an impact on our liturgy, and have been leading them down the errant trail. Rather well, I might add, sadly. They are extremely well organized and hold a variety of events and workshops/training sessions annually. At the early stages in my career, they were the first ones to reach out to me to offer help and guidance on how to properly "plan" a liturgy. In these session, no mention of any documents other than MCW and LMT was ever made. I didn't learn about Pius X's Tra le solecitudini, the documents from the 40's and 50's, Musicam Sacram, etc., until I started doing my own research. What a shocking eye opener that was!

    My point is that counter-catechesis (or better yet, correct-catechesis) is sorely needed, and the best way for it to happen is on an interpersonal, social level, not through a computer or magazine. How much further along would we be in correctly celebrating the OF/NO if musicians were properly trained from the beginning, instead of having to be corrected on the music they thought was 'proper' to the liturgy and have been doing for the past 20, 30 or more years? I know that I certainly would have benefited from proper liturgical training at the onset. Furthermore, mutual, local support among colleagues from within the same organization leads to strong community building. I have witnessed this firsthand among the local NPM chapters. They're doing something right here in NJ; unfortunately it's neither liturgy nor sacred music.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, this analysis seems right. One way that we do this is through the Colloquium. This is a life changing event. Everyone who comes is changed forever. But there are surely other formative and more local events coming.
  • I'm another newbie, who is very grateful for CMAA. My mailbox at work is always full of the usual nonsense advertising. It's a shame that I have to use it to fill the dumpster!
    Where I live OCP is the norm, and NPM is the standard to follow. Here's hoping this DOM can come to the Colloquium and get some inspiration.
    Perhaps another idea is to start working with the young. Education is key, and what is going on in the Universities (with regards to Mass) is astounding.
    -Colleen
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 311
    Organizing locally might very well be a great way to get chant workshops, lectures, and perhaps even regional colloquiums off the ground. It would help those who find the travel costs to a national convention to be prohibitive. Also, though the internet has greatly enhanced our ability to communicate across the country with one another, there's no substitute for those interactions you get when you come together in person with your colleagues. Elisabeth Pifer and I were so impressed with the CMAA that we talked about trying to organize a New England offshoot/chapter/affiliate of some sort, but we quickly realized that this requires much work, many minds, and great vision. I think some sort of local (or, at least, regional) apparatus for the CMAA will eventually materialize -- and perhaps soon. It just seems like a natural extension of the growth that the Holy Spirit has desired us to have.

    P.S. Kimberly, what part of Vermont are you heading to? I have a friend in Vermont who owns an inn and private chapel who might be willing to host an event at a reduced rate -- maybe a chant workshop or something...
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    If you think about it, already the progress in one year has been amazing. In 2005, there was essentially one chant event apart from the Colloq. In 2006, there were three or so. In 2007 there were something like 10-12.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 989
    I like the term "counter-catechesis" and it is definitely what is needed. And the geometric growth of regional events is encouraging. As regional/local subsets of the CMAA develop, one thing they could work on is getting the word out "on the ground" for these events - in the church bulletins, in small mailings to local choir directors, and of course, just talking and talking.
  • Mary Jane

    If you ever interested in doing a chant workshop in FL, give me a ring. I'd be glad to help organize from the other end of the state. Just think how many folks might want to come for a weekend in workshop in say, February!

    Mike
  • Stella611
    Posts: 111
    Olbash,
    I live in Northwest Vermont, Franklin County. Please do send me info about your friend! You can email me or post it here.
    kimberlydepatie@gmail.com
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 989
    Michael O'Connor - What a great idea! You could bring your men. I could bring my women. And you're right - we could do this somewhere in the middle with good access from Orlando.
  • Mary Jane,

    You bet. Drop me a note sometime after school's out in May at moconnor09 at comcast dot net. Let's put our heads together. There are some folks in the Tampa area that might be intrigued as well.

    Mike
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    Filthy lucre.
    That is why CMAA isn't further along, and why a seemingly similar organization that pushes products on which money is to be made has prospered.
    But the equalizing effect of the Internet has helped CMAA immensely, it has made the networking, and the dissemination of information possible, despite remaining un-bankrolled by anyone with a financial incentive to do so.
    I could be remembering wrong, but I thought it skimming through an old copy of Sacred Music I read about a colloquium being cancelled because the people who were interested, people like us but of a generation earlier, simply couldn't afford to get together. (Can anyone confirm my memory?)
    So much of what we are doing now, include just camaraderie and moral support, would have cost more than we are likely to make at our Church jobs, had we to rely on snail mail, long distance phone calls, finding and distributing photocopies of documents and music.
    But I imagine we will see local chapters at some point.
    Just think about this workshop in Lafayette, Indiana this weekend, Gregorian chant, working with Fr Samuel Weber.
    (FREE to participants.)
    Think of the very reasonable workshops in Alabama. Think of the Chabanel project. Think of CPDL.
    All grass roots efforts.
    Yes I'm quite sure chapters will come. W're social critters.:o)
    Chris, where in NJ?
    Write me at GeriOMHildreth AT aol DOT com if you care to.

    (Save the Liturgy, save the World!)
  • Chris
    Posts: 80
    Geri,

    I'd be delighted to. You'll hear from me shortly.

    All the best,
    Chris
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 989
    Michael O'Connor - you're on my calendar. We'll talk after school's out. And keep up the good work down there.
  • musico48
    Posts: 16
    What would be ideal is to get both NPM and CMAA to come together to dialogue, pray and sing. I realize there are vast philosophical and musical difeirences,however, I do believe if we truly love our Church, Our Mass, Our Lord and each other WE NEEED TO SHOW THAT to the rest of the Catholic Assemblies we serve. Let not the evil one wisper our shortcomings about one another. Satasn want the Liturgy to be a asiign ot distyrust,discourse and selfcenteredness. Let us unite our voices witth the Angels in heaven .
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 804
    Anyone interested in networking CMAA folks in Galveston-Houston, TX, shoot me a line at music@ctrcc.com.

    Even a local mailing list, informal gatherings, etc. could be done, and I would be interested to meet other local CMAA members.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    Same here for Baltimore/Wash DC. Informal to start.
  • Chris
    Posts: 80
    I agree, Musico48. If for no other reason than the fact that we are all brothers and sisters in the same Christ Jesus, we must not isolate ourselves, but rather reach out to NPMers and other Catholic musicians for mutual prayer and discourse. Imagine how wonderful our Masses and liturgies could be as more and more Catholic DOMs discover the true nature of our sung liturgy, and move away from the self-praising music that is found in the 'popular' hymnals around the U.S.

    I echo the sentiments of Felipe and Francis and invite anyone in the NJ/NYC area to make contact with me for an informal gathering. Perhaps a summer picnic? I may be reached either through www.musicatstmarys.org or directly at c_deibert@yahoo.com.
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 804
    Of course, we may just come to terms here with how few CMAA members there really are. :)

    It’ll happen. It just takes time, patience, and prayer.
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    I'm pretty sure that all of us want to reach out to the masses and be unified in liturgical music, but the current situation at NPM is IMO beyond reform. They are far too connected to the publishers. I say build CMAA on a solid foundation and reach out to our fellow musicians in Christian charity and encourage them to see what it has to offer. NPM wasn't built in a day (well, maybe it was, but that means it will go away about as quickly).
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    After one day, we have two people in our chapter already.
  • pipesnposaune
    Posts: 113
    Chris- I'm 3 hrs outside NYC- but still interested in a regional chapter. I've got little kiddos, so going to Chicago (and for a week!) is probably out of the picture this year. Even a picnic sounds great. 2 for the NY chapter!
  • Michael O'Connor
    Posts: 1,637
    If anyone in S Florida is interested, contact me at moconnor09 AT comcast.net
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    Though there may not be a huge contingent of CMAA types in central WI, I would love to see a local organization of people who get together to chant and sing polyphony for fun, practice, and moral support. If anyone happens upon this who's interested in that, please contact me, darcy - at - catholicsacredmusic.com. (We're organizing a chant workshop for this fall too, which may be an excuse to gather from wider areas for a weekend - saintpetercatholic.com.)
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    By the way, I see all this networking--centered in parishes, meet ups, blogs, cities, regions, or anything else--as all glorious and all the better if spontaneous rather than somehow centrally controlled, if you know what I mean. Love of sacred music really is a unifying force, so much so that an attempt to bureaucratize it and formalize it from the "top down" could only create more problems. By the way, the colloquium really does provide an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and expand these friendship networks in a million directions. We see in time that this sort of approach is by far the best -- and all the more viable thanks to great tools like this forum.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    Yes, Jeffrey, this forum is certainly a great impetus for all of us and a much needed foundation on which to promote Musica Sacra, and we are ever so grateful to you and all of the CMAA staff and members! Long Live Musica Sacra and the CMAA! (forever, in fact!)
  • Informal gathering (Mass and social) of scholas is already scheduled for the Northern Virginia (DC) area on May 30, 2008. A few of us discussed this concept over the past year and simply decided to set a date and get things rolling just in the last month. Details follow with more in the attachment. The Mass Propers have been assigned; however, all local scholas director/scholas are welcome to attend. Mass: The Sacred Heart of Jesus 7:30 PM, Friday May 30, 2008, followed by pot luck social. St. Michael’s Church, 7401 St. Michael’s Lane, Annandale, VA. Novus ordo (Brief music outline: All Propers from the Gregorian Missal, Ordinaries Missa VIII De angelis, and Credo III). Each schola is invited to complete a handout (see attachment) to describe what they sing on a regular basis. We plan to handout copies, ask for brief (5 minute) presentations, and have open discussion. …while enjoying good company and food !!!
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    I think this all goes back to two very important points:

    1) NPM is part of the "liturgical-industrial complex." The publishers control the materials available, the NPM chapters and national control the dissemination of the information through workshops, conventions, seminars and their own publications and together they impact (in almost insidious ways) the way liturgical/musical decisions are made at not only the parish level but even at the diocesan level. Just check out the leadership at your diocesan worship or liturgy office, and find out how many of them are connected in some high-level way with NPM at the local chapter or national level. Or, find out what connections they may have to one of the Big Three publishers. Either their music (or texts for music) have been published, or their philosophies have been via the various magazines from those same publishers. (Jeffrey Tucker I believe wrote a brilliant piece that exposed this connection). I commented last fall on the rather suspicious list of folks who had been tapped by the USCCB to serve as advisors to the CDW and the subcommittee on music. With the exception of Leo Nestor, they were all folks with some kind of connection with the "usual suspect" publishers.

    2) NPM is an outgrowth of Universa Laus, an organization which very early on in its history worked to gain legitimacy with the Holy See. I find it ironic that CMAA is an outgrowth of the Consociatio, the first organization formed after the Council with papal approbation devoted to the study of music in the reform, and yet NPM is the one that enjoys such legitimacy. I raised this question very early on in my participation on this forum.

    I think that technology and the current winds blowing from the Holy See will put our ship to sea. But until and unless we can figure out away to develop some structure including financial organization, we'll play second fiddle to the pandering, patronizing NPM newchurch crowd.
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    I don't know, David. To me it seems like the Holy Spirit is working through the CMAA and its members, and the fact it is not run like a corporation but operates as a grass-roots network is an advantage. It is doing a lot of good in big ways. Because it doesn't require huge sums of money, it can offer more, like resources for free or cheap (chant downloads, Parish Book of Chant, etc.). Parishes that are balking at getting a chant hymnal may be persuaded in part when they see it's not as much money as replacing the old Gather books. A parish choir director may be willing to try incorporating the communion chant when s/he realizes it won't impact the music budget at all. And the fact that this all comes from a "labor of love" on the part of CMAA members ensures the thought and prayer put into the work for a quality outcome. It prevents suspicion of motives too. Obviously no one is doing this for power or money, but to serve the Church. I hope the CMAA never strays from that. I am an example of a parish musician who never knew anything about the NPM until this forum... the first church music organization I ever had contact with was the CMAA. There's no reason to think there will be more of that in the future. There are going to be more and more priests looking to hire music directors with CMAA membership on their resume.

    Also, if you want to put big publishing houses out of business, what better way than to offer for free/cheap replacements for what they are selling at high cost?
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,575
    Please forgive me if this comes off as a sweeping generalization. It is only my personal observation.

    There is the top down model (NPM, OCP, etc.) and then there is the grass roots model. I have found that those who come to the CMAA are (in general) after what the Church espouses concerning sacred music. The members appear to be independent thinkers and movers concerning authentic sacred music, are always striving to the highest ideal in pursuit of that goal. The other organizations seem to thrive on the relationship of one member to another, and place the highest value upon what each other have to say, think, feel and offer (without caring about how their perspective aligns itself with the church) rather than an ideal which is found in tradition, church documents, etc.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Hear hear, Darcy!
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I doubt that the CMAA will ever stray from the grass-roots, free-if-possible model during my lifetime. For now, there is no temptation toward the top-down, big-money, corporate model, simple because, well, that would be just pretending. The whole operation is highly leveraged, wildly speculative, and based completely on the human energy of its members, lots of faith and prayer, and nothing else.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    You know, now that I reflect on this more, we (that is to say, members or kindred spirits of CMAA) can be much more effective without the top-down, big-money structure.

    I guess I was falling victim to what we're cautioned to guard against in the psalms: being envious of the well-off, popular and "good-looking".

    In the meantime, and I've asked about this before, I think it would be helpful to get a handle on exactly how the Consociatio got bumped out of the nest, much like unsuspecting hosts of the European cuckoo, which Wikipedia describes as follows:

    "The cuckoo egg hatches earlier than the host's, and the cuckoo chick grows faster; in most cases the chick evicts the eggs or young of the host species. The chick has no time to learn this behavior, so it must be an instinct passed on genetically. The mother still feeds the cuckoo chick as if it were her own, the chick's open mouth serving as a sign stimulus for the host to feed it."

    Is it just me, or does this not sound an awful lot like what Universa Laus did, and what NPM still does?
  • Felipe Gasper
    Posts: 804
    Darcy wrote:
    Also, if you want to put big publishing houses out of business, what better way than to offer for free/cheap replacements for what they are selling at high cost?


    Unless you’re casting a stone at all vocal music publishers, this makes no sense. OCP, GIA, and WLP charge the same range of fees as other American publishers for their octavos. Even though we may balk at the low musical quality of this or that piece, those octavo fees cover non-musical-quality things like typesetting, proofreading, copyright of texts that another publisher may own, etc. etc.

    More problematic for the publishers, IMO, is CPDL. I’ll probably never buy an edition of Palestrina “Sicut” because the CPDL editions are perfectly suitable and, in this case, reliable.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 670
    If we and other folks can spread the word enough, the publishers will eventually sense the tide turning and jump on the bandwagon. :)
  • janetgorbitzjanetgorbitz
    Posts: 932
    How about the Ft. Worth area? Any CMAA members out there?
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 234
    Noel Jones (frogmusic) and I are interested in forming an East Tennessee CMAA chapter, with the intention of meeting in the flesh at least quarterly. I know of at least two other East Tennesseans who have posted on the forum, and I'm in touch with several other people whom I believe might like to join.

    Most parishes in the Knoxville Diocese are still stuck in the contemporary quagmire, but there are signs of hope. I believe a chapter could help embolden those who love good music--and assist those who don't realize there's life beyond Haugen-Haas.

    If you're interested, please e-mail me at mary [at] b16schola.org.

    Thanks,
    Mary