HAT WOULD BE REALLY necessary to build a good music program in a parish today? It is a secret, which in fact, is not so secret. Is it having a choir of 40 able to sing musical scales up and down? Maybe, but not essential. Indeed, in the case of the most disadvantaged parishes, even one good cantor can lead the congregation when there are not many forces available. So then, we need a fantastic organ with four manuals, and organists able to play fugues full of complexities? That would be nice, especially if one has a decent and well tuned instrument that can support good singing and can fill the moment where organ music is appropriate. But, also in this case not essential.
So what is the secret? Something smaller than an organ? Luxurious folders? Lavish choir cassocks? Gorgeous music stands? No, despite maybe all these things being important, they are not in the end essential. I said at the beginning that the secret of a good musical program in every parish is not so secret. I believe it is something quite simple that can be summarized in two words: good will. Yes, you just need good will, because even with the most simple elements you can have a dignified musical program if good will is there.
Good will in what way? Good will in following the Church teachings in accord with Church tradition. Good will in training the congregation in learning songs that are appropriate to the liturgy and not appropriate to the fancies of the pro-youth pastor (we may be against a corrupt idea of youthfulness). Good will to follow the liturgical year in all its richness. Good will to support the musicians so that their training may be more and more professional to meet the needs of the congregation in a more qualified manner. It is not money, power, fights…it is just and only good will. If there really is good will, there will be change in the unchangeable. Every parish will become a model in its own way, and the liturgical reform, in its essence and demands, will be happily fulfilled.
7-part series: “Basic Steps To Improve Music At Your Parish”