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Andrew Motyka is the Archdiocesan Director of Liturgical Music and Cathedral Music for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
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“The choir shall henceforth sing or say no anthems of our Lady or other Saints, but only of our Lord, and then not in Latin; but choosing out the best and most sounding to Christian religion they shall turn the same into English, setting thereunto a plain and distinct note for every syllable one: they shall sing them and none other.”
— 1548 Edict of King Edward VI (a heretic) for Lincoln Cathedral

CMAA Colloquium and Hoosier Hospitality
published 9 July 2014 by Andrew R. Motyka

ANY THINGS have been said about this past week in Indianapolis. We have seen pictures of the beautiful liturgies, we have listened to descriptions of edifying lectures, and of course, we have heard the transcendent music that resounded throughout the church. What cannot be shown in pictures or heard in recordings, however, are the connections that are made with fellow musicians dedicated to reverence in the sacred liturgy.

It is far too easy for musicians to be isolated in our own parishes, not connecting with our peers or broadening our knowledge and experience. I know that unless I force myself to attend events like the CMAA Colloquium or other events with fellow musicians, I run the risk of subjecting the local liturgy to my own limited ideas and intelligence.

Since this year’s Colloquium was in Indianapolis, it was easy for me to make the decision to attend. Because this is my home turf, it was a much more relaxed environment for me to socialize and communicate with my fellow attendees. I normally have a hard time in crowds of strangers, especially in groups like this that are filled with people that are much smarter than me. I was fortunate enough to give a presentation on Friday, which I hope to use as fodder for several posts in the future. The presentation was about the gradual implementation of the propers in the average parish, and one subject I focused on was making connections with the people in your parish. People should always be valued more than systems, and so it was with this gathering. Instead of interacting with forum avatars or Facebook messages, I could meet with people face to face and have real conversations.

The greatest connection for me, however, was actually singing with these people. I was in the polyphonic choir that sang Victoria’s Requiem a 4 on Saturday afternoon, a gorgeous piece of music by one of my favorite composers. For one thing, it is joy to sing in a choir which I am not directing. I don’t get to do that often, so I took in every moment of it. Furthermore, singing alongside someone creates a bond even between strangers. Sharing that kind of beauty was worth the entire week, in my opinion.

At the closing Mass, Archbishop Tobin mentioned the idea of “Hoosier Hospitality,” something my fellow Indiana residents take pride in. I can’t take credit for any of that; I am a born and raised Masshole. I do, however, understand what it is like to be taken in by this wonderful city and made to feel welcome in a place far from home. I have experienced that fabled hospitality since I arrived 2 years ago. I hope my fellow musicians felt the same this week, and were as edified and energized by the experience to get back to it in their own parishes.