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 lives with his wife and two 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)

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.