"New Translation Thursday" has rolled around again.
Yesterday's session for musicians in the Archdiocese of New York was a good one. I snapped a few photos of the interior of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish church in Scarsdale, where the sessions took place.
There were approximately 150 people present, mostly musicians, but there were several priests in attendance as well. Monsignor Anthony Wadsworth gave two presentations, one focused generally on the reasons why we have a new translation. His style is simple and direct. His second presentation focused on music and the missal. His fundamental point is that this edition of the missal signals in a much stronger way that the celebration of the Mass is a musical celebration. Monsignor argues for much more singing of the parts of the Mass (the people's parts, the dialogues, prefaces, proper antiphons), but does not advocate just one style. I found his presentation to be refreshing and very pastoral.
Two local musicians then offered some tips on teaching the new musical settings. The first made an interesting point. He said that he would never rehearse music before Mass because he strongly feels that this is his parishioners' private time to prepare spiritually for Mass. He would consider a rehearsal an intrusion. Interesting. He also shared that he and his pastor are planning a big music night in the parish, a night when all the choirs (adult, contemporary, children, teen) will sing the parish's new Mass setting and invite those in attendance to sing as well. He plans to serve pizza and ice cream for the event. He also said that he will be hiring other musicians (brass and timpani) to really give the setting a boost. This sounds really cool to me!
The second local musician had about fifteen young girls from her Catholic school's children's choir there to help her with her presentation. Basically, she showed us how she teaches plainchant. She taught them (and many of us) the Gloria from the missal. No accompaniment; just a simple approach. I believe it gave those in the church a real boost, especially those for whom chant might seem daunting.
I was struck by a few things as the day progressed. There was a question and answer period that revealed an uneven-ness in peoples' awareness. One musician asked for clarification about whether or not these changes in the missal were mandatory. As I listened to his question, I wondered to myself, "What planet does he live on?" Then I had to remind myself that not everyone, not even all church musicians, have been living with the missal issues every single day as I have. Another person wondered when people in the parish should start hearing about the changes. Monsignor Wadsworth suggested that this very week might be the best time.
All in all, a good day in the Archdiocese of New York. I did find it interesting that several people stated something like the following: "Well, now that we can begin singing the new Mass parts in September..." There were no qualifications to these statements such as, "If the local bishop permits the early implementation." So, I am wondering what the general sense is out there about beginning the singing in September. I know for a fact that there are many parishes across the United States that have already begun singing the new Mass settings. And, frankly, when you realize that the official date of implementaation is exactly five months from this coming Sunday, is a few months really such a big deal?
Would be glad to hear your comments.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.