Friday, September 18, 2009

Church Music, or Not

I have been following the Choir Notes from Erin Manning's blog, and putting off my own post about church music. I'd like to write a post like this one, comparing hymns for the quality of music and appropriateness of the lyrics, but, alas, there are so many other issues in the way that any music is welcome. Almost. Our parish has several big problems:

1. Our organist (God bless him) is just an amateur, and needs some real guidance in choosing music. Unfortunately, our parish priests are usually from Poland, and do not really "get" the essence of the music. We try, but when we are not around, he reverts to whatever he is capable of playing (not much).
2. Our organist does not play very well. Not much we can do about it. Our parish is small, poor, and he needs the money.
3. No one in our parish sings, even in the congregation. There are, of course, a few exceptions. When Libby was in high school, she taught the children's choir, but with college and commuting and all, she simply no longer has time. The choir has dissolved without her.
4. (This is a big one) The gentleman who does the readings at one of the Masses sings into the microphone and he CANNOT carry a tune. He apparently does not know this. It is so bad that a visiting priest began to laugh during the offertory one Sunday. Everyone always stares in stunned silence, and those who do sing seem to let their mouths hang open, and the notes fade and drift away into the air. The altar servers (who are often my sons) turn and stare, or, after I suggested this was bad form, shift from foot to foot uncomfortably.

1, 2, and 3 cannot be fixed at the moment. But we are desperate to solve problem #4, without hurting the gentleman's feelings, of course. Ideas welcome.


Jennifer in TX said...

Prayers for number 4--we had a similar problem with the cantor who sang the Responsorial Psalm each Sunday at our noon Mass--miraculously, he has been replaced by a woman who can carry a tune (but her skirts are too short)...sigh...

Eileen said...

Oh, this just made me laugh! How is the mike connected? Maybe some subversive sort can turn off the mike from inside the sacristy when he's not reading?

We don't have an organist (anymore). We have two guitarists who actually are talented, but who don't practice ahead of time. Our tiny congregation does sing though, if they know the tunes! This Sunday, the offertory was "Hosea." The kid on the guitar actually made it sound pretty (if a bit slow),and everyone sang; but far from lifting my heart to heaven, all I could think of was closing time at an Irish Pub.

But you remind me that it could certainly be worse! :)

MacBeth Derham said...

We did consider hooking his mike to the main system, and turning it down, but it is already sooo complicated.

Someone suggested having the person in charge of the readers to make a general announcement about "avoid singing into the microphone, since it is not meant for singing." We'll see if that works.