Brace yourself dear readers! What I am about to tell you will shock you to your core. Marty Haugen started working in Liturgy without knowing anything about Liturgy. I know this is shocking news, considering the level of Liturgical superiority in his music.
Here is his quote:
I took my first job as a way of keeping me from going to Africa in the Peace Corps. I had signed up but didn’t want to go because I was in love with the woman who was to become my wife. I thought perhaps I could take a job for a year until I could get married and find out what I really wanted to do. A chaplain suggested that I apply for a Catholic church job. I said I didn’t know anything about the Catholic liturgy, and he said, well, these days, nobody does—you’ll feel right at home. And he was right.
Not only that, but he never wanted to be a church musician. In fact, he considered giving up music.
I started Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) as a piano major but switched to psychology, thinking I would go to seminary. When my advisor asked why I was dropping music, I said the only options I saw were to be a teacher or a performer, and neither interested me. The third option was to be a church musician, and I surely didn’t want to do that. To me a church musician only directed the choir and played the hymns. That seemed so narrow, it didn’t seem like ministry, and I was interested in ministry.
It gets better.
The first Sunday I came to the Catholic church, we were instructed to sing the psalm—interactively! I was struck during that service by how badly the people sang and how poorly written the psalm setting was. It was awful. I thought to myself—I could write this badly!And so, he apparently set out to do just that.
Learning to compose for the text—to make the music support the text—was a long process for me.You mean as opposed to changing the text to fit the music?
You can read the rest for yourself right here.