Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taking the Big Step

It may surprise some of you to know that the music program at my parish is what would be considered "mainstream" by most standards. Sure, you won't find such standards as "Gather Us In", "All Are Welcome" or "Sing A New Church", and instead will find solid hymns and Psalms set to psalm-tones....even an occasional Antiphon from the Simple Choral Gradual. Things were quite different when I arrived here nearly three years ago, and they will be quite different still three years from now.

This week, after discussions with the Pastor and meeting with the two choir directors, the decision has been made to take the BIG step...we will begin using the Gregorian settings for the Ordinary at the principal Choir Mass in October, and extend that to all other Masses in November. This is a moment that I was unsure would ever happen here, and now that it has there is a lot of PR work to do.

I don't know of any other parishes in our Diocese that make regular use of Gregorian Ordinary settings, other than the token "Agnus Dei" during Lent or a chanted setting of the Kyrie from time to time. There may be another, but at the very least this is new territory around here.

I'm going to post from time to time on how this "project" progresses. We had the meeting yesterday to let everyone know the plan... it might be disingenuous to say everyone is as enthusiastic as I am, but I didn't expect that. The next step is to work with the two choirs well ahead of time to open up this "whole new world" of Catholic Sacred Music to them. I am planning two sessions for all parish musicians in September, and am even considering inviting any parishioners who would like to learn more to attend, as well as our parish Priests. The Pastor has also asked me to put together several brief articles for the bulletins in September to introduce the idea to the parishioners.

On one hand, it's shameful that it is such a major production to sing chant at the Mass... it really shouldn't be. On the other hand, that is the reality and I'm grateful that I at least have this opportunity that so many other parish musicians can still only hope for.

I was there once...have faith! And stay tuned....

1 comment:

Charles said...

You betcha I'll stay tuned, JH. I'm right behind you on the curve.
Truth be told, best I'm hoping for is that at my parish in 50 years, there will be, in addition, to the blended and the buffet, at least one solemn Mass replete with all the trappings and trimmings, even if it's in OF and in English.