Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Great Music Director

Happy Wednesday to you all.  Seven degrees here. Enough said.

Happy Birthday Beethoven.

I worked as the director of liturgy and music for extended periods of time in three parishes: St. Mary Magdalen in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Epiphany Parish in Port Orange, Florida, and St. Marcelline in Schaumburg, Illinois. When I knew that it was time to move on from these positions, it was painful to leave, because I had grown to know and love the people, as well as grown to know and love the sound of their voices joined together in song.

Last week I found out that our music director at St. James has made the decision to move on. This has been pretty heart-wrenching for me. For those of you who follow this blog, you know that I have often referred to him as our "great music director." What makes a "great music director?" As a pew Catholic, I think a great director is one who is sensitive to the make-up of the congregation; is someone who is able to provide a variety of music that makes the liturgy musical, music from the Church's treasury, as well as from the treasuries of other Christian denominations; is someone who obviously knows that the greatest sound that he is charged to produce is the sound of a singing assembly. With our music director, all of these things came together quite well. I will miss him dearly.

That's one of the the realities of being a pew Catholic. In my "professional" positions in parishes, it was I who decided when it was time to move on. Our current music director is the third since I have been at St. James. My allegiance is to the parish, obviously. Pastors and parish staff members come and go, yet we who are in the pews provide the steadiness that endures.

I've been asked and agreed to be a member of the search committee for a new director (my second time). I've been asked to bring musical and liturgical expertise to the search committee. Friends, please say a prayer for our work and for St. James parish during this time of transition.

Why? Because we gotta sing and we gotta pray; and St. James needs all the prayers we can get to find the next "great music director."

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