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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“We wish therefore and prescribe, that all observe the law of the Church, and that at home or in the church they shall always wear the cassock, which is proper to the clergy. When they go out for duty or relaxation or on a journey, they may use a shorter [coat] which is to be black in color, and which reaches to the knees, so as to distinguish it from the dress of the laity. They should reject the more elegant and worldly styles of garments, which are found today. We enjoin upon our priests as a matter of strict precept that, both at home and abroad, and whether they are residing in their own diocese or outside of it, they shall wear the Roman collar.”
— Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884)

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The Most Important Thing A Choirmaster Can Do
published 1 December 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

HE LIFE OF A CHOIRMASTER is wonderful but can also be very difficult. One of these days, I’d like to write about how certain challenges can be overcome, but this task must be approached with care because it’s enormous.

For years, I hated the ANDY GRIFFITH show. It seemed so corny and predictable, especially Barney Fife. Then, somebody explained to me that Barney Fife represents ALL OF US when we take ourselves too seriously. From that moment forward, I loved the show!

Here’s a funny clip:


You have to let the show be funny. If you approach it with the wrong attitude, you’ll hate it. Music can be like that, too. If you open the ANTIPHONALE trying to hate it, you’ll hate it. But if you start singing the melodies with the correct attitude, you’ll begin to see how wonderful they are. (By the way, you don’t have to instantly love every single Gregorian chant.) Sometimes it takes decades to appreciate the genius of this or that Gregorian chant.

The Andy Griffith show can help us remember not to take ourselves too seriously. It can also be a way to relax, which can help you maintain a calm, happy, professional demeanor.

And maintaining a calm, happy, professional demeanor is probably the most important thing a choirmaster can do.