Monday, May 05, 2008

In Defense of the Sacred (at a Catholic School)

(How to not write a philosphy paper on love and the personalistic norm day 8 because you suck at it [the norm, that is])

The choir has officially been told that it is no longer allowed to sing sacred music. If this is the case, I'm almost certain that will be no real choir to speak of next semester. I know of two people who will not sing and could bank on a third. And of course, they are most musically trained persons we have in the choir. If one of them leaves, then I can almost say with certainty that another person would leave, depleting the choir of an entire voice section. (subtlety, eh?).

For a Catholic school, this seems really dumb. I don't know the reasoning behind it and I'm not even going to try and guess. But really? Banned from singing Sacred Music? Stuck singing "keep your Lamps" and "Didn't me Lord Deliver Daniel"? Please God, no. Is that supposed to be a compromise?

I noticed that on the website, the mission statement (I hate those things) for the choir has been changed. :( Sad.

This is a Catholic college. Our Catholic idenity should not be something that is banned. And Catholic music is not just a treasure of the Church, it's a treasure of the world. Without Palestrina's compositions, there would have been no polyphony. No Bach Cantatas. No Moazart Requiem. Our job not only as Catholics, but as musicians too, is to keep this music alive and to introduce it to and share it with others. But ESPECIALLY as Catholic musicians, our job is to perpetuate this music in the Church.

A genera of music cannot be forced on a group of singers. If they hate the music, they really will not care to make it beautiful. It will be sufficient. But it won't be beautiful. Sacred music is actually easier to learn for inexperienced singers than gospel spirituals. It's all about the math. Spirituals are highly syncopated with weird rhythms. Old polophony is 100 times simpler because the composers were after mathematical granduer in their compositions. They are complex and challenging, but they are simpler than weird rhythms.

Secular choirs sing sacred music ALL THE TIME!

Why can't we?

Sunday, May 04, 2008