Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Diocese Interviews Liturgical Musicians

The Rhode Island Catholic interviewed a few liturgical musicians from around the diocese. There were a few interesting comments both good and bad.

The good:
It is important, Berbercik asserted, that choirs and cantors not try to steal the show. The music they perform is meant to be inviting, “we try not to turn that music into a performance, it’s a presentation or a participatory song,” she said. She is wary of any choir or cantor that is too invested in their individual performance. She compared liturgical music to the national anthem, which at many public events has become an opportunity for one singer to showcase, or showboat, their individual talents, rather than a communal experience for everyone to participate in. “We lose our love of the song because we detach from it,” she said, “we’re distracted by somebody going overboard.” (Unfortunately they failed to mention that first and foremost choirs and cantors should not try to steal the show because the music is worship, not a concert. God should be the focus of the Mass, not the muscians.)

The bad:
“I don’t go too contemporary because most of the parishioners like their old chestnuts,” said Stott. But, he added, it is important not to rule any music out, the selections “should be a mixed bag because that’s what the tradition of church music has become.” Others see putting an emphasis on contemporary music as a chance to bridge generations and reach out to younger audiences. “You want to keep people coming to church and I feel that if you want the young people you really have to do the contemporary music,” said LabrĂ©che. Berberick said that when choosing music at her parish she tries to “touch upon each generation” and “keep in mind other cultures.” (Sometimes music does need to be ruled out. As for contemporary music, all the guitar strumming that was done when I was a kid sure kept my generation at Mass. @@)

Finally, a comment I can agree with:

In the end, everyone agrees that music adds too much to the Mass to be ignored. “Music gets inside you in a different way that spoken word does,” said Rashed, “If you want the Liturgy to enter people’s hearts and minds, you better use some music.” (Yes! And it's all the more reason to be careful when selecting Liturgical music.)

Read the article here.

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