19 November 2007

Deep questions

I have a question to ask, but I am having a little trouble with the exact syntax. Perhaps you, gentle readers can help me out a little with this one.

Ever since the ordination the Sunday before last I have been thinking about a few musical matters. For the ordination we a very full choir (for once) who came out to help with the service. Generally speaking, our choir is perpetually short of singers, and we seem to be dwindling further. I spoke to one of the men who came for the day, and asked him if he would consider returning to the choir, and he answered that he enjoyed singing, that he missed singing, but he was very busy, and it was a lot of work to come out here to practice, especially when we were singing "this stuff". He said he preferred to sing "real music" by "real composers" and not this stuff by "these guys from the eighties." A few others echoed the sentiments.

At Communion the full choir- due to a lack of preparation, but that's another matter- royally butchered Haas' "You Are Mine." There has been no backlash, unlike the time a small group of us butchered a Gregorian antiphon, and as a result all further Gregorian Chant was banned. It has been decided at the church that the only music to be played at that Mass is Haugen Haas Schutte Joncas and their ilk, no matter how badly it is done.

And we continue to bleed out, and we continue to fail to attract anyone new unless we pay them. Before long the choir will cease to exist in any meaningful way. Furthermore, I don't know anyone down in the pews who likes "this stuff." I could on on and on about the quality of the music, but that would be beating a very dead horse. It has been done again, and again, and again, and again. Father Longenecker's words still ring true:

However, if the Mass is meant to take us to the threshold of heaven; if it is meant to be a glimpse of glory and a participation in the worship of the spheres of heaven itself, why then the sentimental, sweet and comforting songs just won't do. They wont' do not because they are bad or untrue, but because they are not good and true enough. Worship that takes us to the threshold of glory needs to be, well...glorious.

The music doesn't fit the bill. We've lost members over this. We are having trouble recruiting in a large part because of this. Few people like this and the rest are left out in the cold. A very large portion of this music is theologically inadequate. It is inadequate in almost every sense. So I come back to my troublesome question: Should I ask, "Why in God's Name are we singing this garbage?" or "Why are we singing this garbage in God's Name?"

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