Monday greetings to all.
Back in Chicago after a weekend in New England. The talk on Saturday on the new translation went quite well.
I did want to share my experience at Sunday Mass yesterday. I am not going to name the parish, just describe the experience.
I have attended Mass at this particular parish in New England perhaps once or twice per year over the past dozen years. The music director, who has always been the cantor at each Mass I have attended, was once again the cantor at yesterday's Mass. At this particular parish, the cantor if warm and friendly and quite capably announces the hymn numbers. She then sings every single note of every single hymn, song, and acclamation directly into the microphone. Her voice is somewhat stylized, but is pleasing. Unfortunately, one feels as if one is singing along with her. It was very unfortunate, since the people around me were singing; unfortunately it is difficult, of not impossible, to hear the assembly because of the amplification of the cantor's voice.
I also noticed something else yesterday. The vocal range of this particular music director has been dropping as she grows older. Years ago, she was able to reach (with some effort) notes that reached higher than the C above middle C. When the organist played the introduction to yesterday's opening hymn, Glory and Praise to Our God (I thought that most parishes had given that one a rest), I was struck by how low the key was, and I mean low; like at least four keys lower than the original. Apparently, she tells the keyboard player (who plays on an electronic organ and an electronic keyboard) to use the "transposer" button to lower the keys of everything so that the pieces are comfortably within her vocal range. When I was listening to the singing of people around me, I found that they were switching octaves in the middle of songs, because the range was either too low or too high for their own "normal" vocal ranges.
There was so much wrong with this picture. But, then again, there was so much that was so consistent with this music director's concept of her ministry. The understanding, apparently, of this music director is that she needs to sing very loudly into the microphone, in order to "provide" the music. And, since here range has dipped, it must make perfect sense to her to lower the keys in order for her to continue her idea of what she is supposed to be doing.
Can you tell that this was frustrating for me?
The homily was terrific.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.