Friday, November 16, 2012

Plenty of Organists

Just caught this on Catholic News Service:

Organists plentiful but not many parishes 'blessed' with budget for one
NEW YORK (CNS) -- If music conservatories are producing a bumper crop of organ performance graduates, why can't the parish down the street get a substitute organist for the 10 a.m. Mass? There's no single answer, but liturgical musicians who spoke with Catholic News Service attribute it to parish finances, cultural changes and the pastor's interest in music. "Not many parishes are blessed with a budget for both a music director and an organist," said Jennifer Pascual, music director at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. "Music directors are expected to be skilled musicians, conductors and administrators." Joseph Viserta, music director at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye, said: "A lot of parishes don't have the resources to pay a qualified organist to work full time, so these musicians have other jobs, sometimes as music teachers in public schools, and they show up on Sunday, play for two Masses, run a choir practice and get a stipend." If there is a music director, he or she is typically also an organist, Viserta said. The Second Vatican Council gave the role of music in worship a huge boost. In its 1963 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the council affirmed music is an integral part of the liturgy. It called for the congregation's active participation at Mass through musical elements including acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons and songs. As parishes heeded the call to incorporate more music, many moved away from traditional organ pieces to contemporary music played on a variety of instruments. The results varied in quality and mirrored cultural changes in society and the church, according to Paul J. Murray, music director, organist and liturgy coordinator at the Church of the Holy Family in Manhattan.

Have a blessed weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

promusica said...

Of course, there is a difference between being an organist and being a liturgical musician. There are many organists who can play complicated organ repertoire but whose choice of vocal and choral repertoire for the choir or music group is limited, along with an understanding of how music fits into the liturgy. The conservatories should factor liturgical training in to the keyboard training of organists. Maybe some do? Maybe there could be a twinning of diocese and local conservatory?