About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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A lot of the favoured new settings are musically illiterate, almost is if they were written by semi-trained teenagers, getting to grips with musical rudiments. The style is stodgy and sentimental, tonally and rhythmically stilted, melodically inane and adored by Catholic clergy “of a certain age.” Some Catholic dioceses run courses for wannabe composers to perpetuate this style. It is a scandal. People with hardly any training and experience of even the basic building blocks of music have been convinced that there is a place for their puerile stumblings and fumblings in the modern Catholic Church because real musicians are elitist and off-putting.
— James MacMillan (20 November 2013)

Update * Atonement Parish — San Antonio, Texas
published 14 September 2014 by Jeff Ostrowski

873 Atonement ODAY we attended Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, TX. If you’ve not done so, please check out the series (Part 1 and Part 2), which takes you “inside the classrooms” at their wonderful parish school.

It’s difficult to hold my young child during Mass, but in spite of this, I was able to take a few iPhone recordings—totally random snippets when my son wasn’t crying—to show you the QUALITY OF SINGING they always have at Sunday Masses:

      * *  Mp3 Audio: Recorded “Live” by iPhone

Don’t forget: the choir had no idea we’d be attending today. Atonement is blessed with unbelievably superb music at their various Masses. 1

(I apologize the recording quality of my device was poor, but I wanted to give you a sample.)

EVERY PEW WAS FILLED and overflowing, and this is totally normal for them. I believe Atonement has been successful for two reasons:

(A) They’re a consistently serious parish whose Pastor never deviates from Catholic doctrine.

(B) They sacrifice to make sure their music programs succeed.

Many priests today are serious about the liturgy—which is great—but few are willing to make the sacrifices (for years and years) a good Church music program requires. This is a shame, because dignified music adds so much to the liturgical ceremonies; even more than fine architecture & beautiful vestments.

Atonement has recently undertaken a massive building project, which will basically double their (already impressive) campus. The response to their capital campaign was astounding, especially when you consider today’s climate. I’m sure their new buildings will be splendid, because every corner of their current school & church exudes magnificence … even their little pond:

872 Pond

Are you an organist? I’m told there’s a position available at Atonement. Apply soon!


1   I could easily have taken samples of the organ playing, too, which is always fantastic.