Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm listening . . .

Good day everyone. We awoke to sunshine today for the first time in a long time here in Chicago. Praise God!

As the associate publisher here at World Library Publications, part of my job is to help craft a vision for the future of our company. At the heart of our mission is a dedication and determination to serve the needs of the singing and praying Church. I'd like to ask you a question. As we stand on the threshold of a new translation of the Missale Romanum, and as we recognize that music used in churches across the United States and Canada is from a variety of musical styles, what do you see as the resource needs for the singing and praying Church? I know that readers of this blog represent a wide cross-sampling of the Church. There are those of you who are family members. Some of you are in diocesan leadership positions. Some are full-time church musicians. There are those who are in academia. Some of you are involved in Christian initiation. And there are some who are "in the pews" week after week. I would appreciate any responses you have to this question. I'd like to echo what Frasier Crane would say, in front of his microphone at the Seattle radio station on the TV show Frasier, "I'm listening." This is Doctor Jerry Galipeau, wishing you good spiritual health.

Thanks so much, and let's remember that we gotta sing and we gotta pray.


no1 said...

As a full time director of music & liturgy (mid-size Vatican II parish, which has never had missalettes, in Providence, RI), I am facing this change with some trepidation. The thought of starting anew with mass settings is daunting, especially sinceI have worked diligently to teach the 5 settigs we know.
But there is one suggestion that makes sense to me. As the the new congregational responses are introduced, (whenever that may be) they should be introduced as SUNG, rather than recited. This may eliminate some of the Babel of voices saying the old and the new together. It would say to people "We are doing something new here - we are singing these responses and singing is normative" It avoids saying that the pope says our English responses must be closer to the Latin (which makes no sense to many in the pews)
Having said all that, perhaps a card with the new wording with simple chants.
Just my 2¢ worth,
In peace, Linda

byte228 said...

Perhaps it's time for a modular worship aid of some sort. Bear with me, I'm a computer geek by trade. What I'm thinking is that there are almost always different subsets of a parish that are fed by the spirit in different ways through music. In some parishes a module of "traditional" hymnody and a module of songs of the Marty Haugen/St. Louis Jesuits style would suit them, while others need a module of Latin and still others a module of "contemporary" like John Angotti and Steve Angrisano. Then instead of buying an omnibus of sorts like parishes often do now that gives a little of this and a little of that that is maybe 10% utilized the parish would buy their modules that are all part of one over arching "hymnal system". The great part in my mind is that the accompianment manuals and other support materials would all be uniform and the numbers could all be unique even though there are 3,4,5,8 different smaller books in the pew. Oh and of course there should be a Psalm module so that our Cantors have a selection of settings of the Psalm for each weekend. Not every cantor can make the same setting of a psalm text come to life so it's nice to have options that might suit their level and voice better.

lesandjon said...

I think my good friend Linda is right on, as usual. And I pray composers and publishers don't try to retrofit their Mass settings to the new texts. How many of us learned the alphabet in song? Has anyone recited Happy Birthday while Susie makes her wish? Perhaps a simply set (!) creed would help people internalize the new text. Many of our current Mass settings have differences in text. Introducing the "new" texts in song might ease the transition. Finally, I'd love to see our major publishers come together and give us two or three basic settings released and promoted without competition, maybe with shared copyright admistration. (Maybe you could call yourselves the Collegeville Publishers Group?) Give us a year with these before flooding the market with new settings in order to avoid a neo-Babel with no consistency from parish to parish. (After a year, you can release the floodgates :) ) I'd like to see a simple chant setting with simple or optional accompaniment for daily Masses, parishes with limited resources, funerals etc. For the second, or second and third, I'd like to see either a setting that works equally well with organ or ensemble accompaniment. While I'm pipe dreaming (oops...was that a pun?) I'd like to see a setting could dress way up or way down, depending on the situation. Or possibly one with contemporary ensemble/piano accompaniment and a second for organ and formal choir.
Thanks for listening, but I have to run. I have to walk my unicorn.
Seriously, Jerry, thank you so much for both all you do and the wonderful spirit with which you do it.

Anonymous said...

Amen to Les' suggestions. We need to learn to crawl before we attempt to run. I would suggest that perhaps after the release of the new translations, we as a church are rather like a stroke victim who still maintains knowledge of the oh so familiar, but is unable to use it, albeit for different reasons. The survivor is "retrained" from the very basics to once again do well what he once did involuntarily, although now often doing it in a different way. From his slow rebeginnings he gains confidence in his ability to change and relearn and more willingly embraces the long journey ahead. Unity in our liturgical journey is perhaps more important now than it has been since Vatican II. Our Catholic publishers have the ability to provide leadership in the development of that unity.
Keep up the dialogue!

Chironomo said...

I would hope that ALL publishers are going to include the musical resources that are being included with the new Missal. If the intention is to have normative settings, they need to be common to all published resources.

I would agree with the above that these settings need to be given time to be learned BEFORE there is a rush to get new settings out. I think more than a year is needed...perhaps 3-5 would be a reasonable amount of time.