Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Peace, all. A church musician should not let St Cecelia's feast day pass without comment. Sorry I was late. One person's opinion on what is needed in the realm of church music. 1. Good wages are not a guarantee of finding a good liturgical musician, but parishes have to pay them. There is no shortage of musicians these days. Sadly, many choose to struggle to make ends meet in bands and as peripheral performers in jazz or classical music. If you can find a church gig that pays pretty well, you have stability, usually only two very late nights a year, and the opportunity to make a difference. 2. Parishes and dioceses are responsible for training musicians and turning them into liturgical musicians, or ideally, pastoral music ministers. Sad that people who do play music in church are not often encouraged with lessons, workshops, and other supportive gestures that might tip the balance. Needless to say, every parish liturgist should ensure the budget includes a generous allowance for formation, musical and liturgical. 3. A seminary requirement should be voice lessons and music appreciation. Clergy need to know where they stand and not be intimidated by a lack of knowledge about music. 4. Acoustics need consideration in every new or renovated church. Natural acoustics should trump the desire for amplification whenever possible. I'm not sure I'd want my bedroom carpeted (sorry, GIA) and they don't belong in great quantity in churches. 5. We need more contemporary church music. Nearly nobody is satisfied with the current corpus of vernacular hymnody, and we need more people writing for liturgy to ensure we have a full field to cull for the classics of tomorrow. There's probably more, but that's enough to chew on for now.