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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Why didn't we sing "I Myself Am the Bread of Life"?

This is a fascinating, ("Ill be the judge of that," "Shaddup,") explication of exactly what the thought processes, the dangers, the expectations, the problems are of liturgical musicians exercising their (hard- and expensively- earned,) judgement in the matter of congregational song.
The lack of respect for the education and experience among those who do not have it, (in the case of the cantor discussed in the thread,) and among those who should but seem not to, (in the case of the pastoral associate mentioned,) is endemic, I believe.
My pastor and I have discussed this, how those outside a line of endeavor often have absurd ideas about exactly what that endeavor involves, (as in, whaddya mean your priest is too busy, he works about two hours every weekend, right?,) or limited knowledge of the factors that are brought to bear on any decision made, (the father of a little instrumentalist who had a range of 6 notes didn't understand why I didn't have time to arrange a part for her ot play along with on a hymn, nor even know that the hymnal wasn't already in the key little one needed to be able to play, not to mention that a request made on Christmas music programming in the third week of December is unlikely to be honoured...)
A retort of go ahead and pick the song, tell me the key you want it in and how fast you think it should be sung -- oh, and spell my name correctly on the check, would be understandable for some of these folk.

And I am starting to think that instead of encouraging young musicians to think about "going into" liturgical music, I should talk to them the way I do young actor wannabes -- get a useful degree, make a living, and do what you love ONLY because you love it, not for a paycheck.

And the thread is a wide-enough-ranging conversation that it has touched on several of my betes noires --the congregation asked to sing too much, the ignorant thinking their opinion is of interest and worthy of equal weight to the judgement of the informed, the dread of offending (often mischaracterized as "being pastoral,") and finally, when to cut your losses.

I already have, David Andrew, but my blood pressure was never high, and if anything, my weight is UP.

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