NE OF THE GREAT Church musicians of the century returned over and over again to a simple question: “What does his choir sound like?” In other words, somebody may use all the fancy words in the world, pontificating in a haughty manner—but when you hear his choir sing, you’ll be able to tell (instantaneously) whether the person is a charlatan. Once you hear with your own ears someone’s choir, you can decide whether it’s logical to seek his advice. If his choir sounds terrible, why would you trust his advice?
Pernicious Plague: The world of Catholic music is experiencing a pernicious plague. People on the internet (often hiding behind fake names) give tons of advice regarding choral music. Yet many have never stood in front of a choir in real life! Some may have sung in choirs—perhaps in high school or college—but that’s not the same as directing a choir in real life. The advice they give is frequently absurd and harmful. (They don’t realize this, because they have never stood in front of a choir.) People hiding behind fake internet names usually do so because they’re embarrassed of their credentials. Never forget that!
There Is Hope: Something exciting is coming in June: Sacred Music Symposium 2022. The experts serving as its clinicians direct choirs in real life; they are not charlatans. As I type these words, there are still a few spots remaining. Anyone serious about church music should consider attending this sensational conference.
Singing The Creed: I have never attended an Ordinary Form parish that actually sings the Creed, although MUSICAM SACRAM (5 March 1967) says Catholics are supposed to. In the Extraordinary Form, the Creed is sung often. At the Sacred Music Symposium, participants will notice the Creed is being sung in plainsong (Credo VII), but with SATB “snippets” inserted. This was done by design. It’s supposed to show participants that singing the entire Creed in polyphony is not required. For instance, some directors use plainsong but switch to polyphony for the “Et Incarnatus Est.” The following little harmonization—which might be dubbed “NOH Fauxbourdon”—fits nicely with Credo VII:
Rehearsal videos for each individual voice await you at #53998.
The Creed In English? It is also possible to sing the Creed in English. Those who desire a dignified setting might wish to explore the Saint Felix Creed Setting I composed about ten years ago.