Friday, March 28, 2008

Bad Music in DC?

The New Liturgical Movement has some sad news which I can only assume is just a bad yet early April Fools joke. Allegedly, the Archdiocese of Washington has released the music for the Holy Father's visit and it includes "spirituals" and other music peddled by the OCP and GIA people. *YUCK*.

I bring this up just to make one point: This is precisely the musical expression which kept me from gaining any interest in becoming Catholic. I will never forget the first Catholic hymn I played - "On Eagle's Wings". I turned to my piano teacher and said "You actually sing this in church?" As a musician I was stunned at the awfulness of the music. I couldn't believe that Catholics actually seemed to take their worship that loosely, or that it meant that little to them that Broadway music set to organ without drums was acceptable on any given Sunday. (at 17, I was a little more of a jerk, shall we say) Now I realize that the people who enjoy this music at Mass generally have little opportunity to hear anything else. Its what they know and in many cases grew up with. They are used to it.

Nearly all good Catholic music has been preserved by the grace of God in secular groups outside the Church. Our Ave's, Credo's, and Sanctus' are now performed on stage, live in concert, or are available for $17 each at your local Borders...unless you are lucky enough to attend somewhere with a more developed music ministry.

Unfortunately it looks like Pope Benedict won't be getting America's best. Just America's, well, whatever.

As for the people who participating in the singing - it should be noted, that if this is indeed true and not some April fools joke, that many of them are kids and they are not to be blamed. We are not to hurl insults at the singers. It is the job of those in charge to know better.

The NLM has the supposed list:

The announcement does not provide specifics. We are given only highlights:
  • All choirs performing the opening Spiritual “Plenty Good Room,” newly arranged by Washington Symphonic Brass founder, Phil Snedecor. (Here is a video of this very nice spiritual, different arrangement, that has no place in Catholic liturgy.)
  • The Children’s Choir singing “Send Forth Your Spirit” by Andrew Wright (sound file) and “Ave Verum” by Mozart.
  • The Gospel Choir singing “I Call upon You God” by Leon Roberts (GIA!) (sound file here) and “Lord Make Me an Instrument” by Roger Holland (GIA!).
  • The Papal Mass Choir singing “Sing Aloud Unto God Our Strength” by Daniel Nelson (sound file) and “Spirit of God Within Me” by Robert LeBlanc.
  • The Intercultural Choir singing “Let’Isikia” (sound file) arranged by Tracy McDonnell and “Source d’eau Vive” by C.E. Haugel.

I'm really not angry here, just saddened a wee bit...if its true. Pray for a better outcome.

No comments:

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton