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July 26, 2005

Recommended Reading

From a classmate...

I could not have said it better than this and, indeed, I have been thinking along the same lines.

Posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. at July 26, 2005 6:35 PM

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What can you do in a parish like your with (what is it?) nine Sunday Masses? I find six to be enough of a scramble, especially with visiting priests coming in and out of the mix. Absolutely no music rehearsal space outside of the nave.

Posted by: Todd at July 28, 2005 7:50 AM

Great message. Excellent article. Maria Elena

Posted by: Maria Elena at July 29, 2005 7:20 AM

A very, very good analysis of how our "scurry here, scurry there" lifestyles have infiltrated and altered our mindsets about "being there" in church. Brava and huzzahs to the author.
I would like to advance another slant on the "rehearsal" prior to mass issue. And for illustration's sake let's just agree that another available space doesn't exist. From what the author pictures, I think she's speaking of rehearsing primarily the choral selections moreso than music sung with the congregation, but I believe this approach works for both scenarios: First of all the director should have an absolute picture of exactly how much rehearsal for an anthem is needed to fine-tune. The director should very quietly be able to inform the choir/organist/accompanist of start points, phrases, verses, whatever. Then, everything to be rehearsed is done only using the phoneme "loo." Never, ever should a text be rehearsed in the pre-mass, public rehearsal.
So, some might ask, this still could prove disturbing to the tranquility and solemnity that ought be the prevailing atmosphere prior to mass. Well, yes and no. We cannot account for tolerance levels of all individuals in the pews. However, if the music being rehearsed is stylistically less than a full blown, raise the roof spiritual or typical Handel chorus, the choral "background" effect can (in my experience) enhance quietude and preparation among the congregants.
In addition, if you use the same phonemic approach to rehearsing hymns/songs/whatever that aren't commonly programmed, you have subliminally planted that melodic seed in the congregation's ear. And that is a method far superior to the pre-mass literal rehearsals that I'm sure still go on in a majority of churches. Now as I recall in Cardinal Mahoney's famous document of a few years' back, he advocated public rehearsal as a means of pre-engaging the congregation's attention and focus (don't quote me.) I have a measure of sympathy for the goal, but common sense dictates that such a regular practice does more harm to the worship environment we've all come to know as most desirable.

Posted by: Charles at July 29, 2005 7:32 PM

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