Saturday, September 04, 2010

what "active participation" is not...

... it is not your over stylized operatic warbling rendition of the Gloria, sung responses or the hymns. Nor is it a weekly opportunity to showcase your "talent" from the pew. Mass is not an audition for America's Got Talent.



Ok. I feel better now having gotten that off my chest.

40 comments:

nazareth priest said...

No, it ain't.
Thank you.
For several years, we (the inmates here) called the cantoress at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC,
"Miss Piggy"; she's no longer doing her thing there (I've learned since that she was the wife of the music director...ooops!).
Anyway,
this post reminded me of her.
She's probably a really great person; someone you'd like to have drink with...
but that cantoress stuff....ish!

Adoro said...

Crescat ~ Then, well, heck, what am I supposed to do at Mass tomorrow when they "gather" us with "Gather Us In"? I want to sing it better and more loudly than the group at the choir altar!

Geez! If I can't show off, what's the point of going to Mass?

Thanks for wrecking my Sunday. *hrmph*!

Adoro said...

Oh, and I suppose that next you're going to tell me I can't dress like the Diva you have pictured there.

And WHERE did you even GET that picture of my Sunday-best?? I thought it was one-of-a kind?

gretchen said...

At least everything's covered up. She's wearing a hat and everything!

nazareth priest said...

Adoro: We'd LUUUVE to see your "outfit":<)!
You could wear at our Missa Cantata...!

Adoro said...

Totally OT, you've been tagged:



http://adorotedevote.blogspot.com/2010/09/top-ten-surprising-things.html

Adoro said...

Father ~ Well, my head would be covered!

JoannaB said...

Sounds like a question for:http://asksistermarymartha.blogspot.com/ (though I'm told she's not a real nun - lol)

JoannaB said...

This last comment should have been on the wine one! lol - maybe I had better keep off the juice myself! ha ha only joking - I'm teetotal almost. :)

chasedbychildren said...

You are killing me. Now I won't be able to stop giggling at 9:30 mass this morning.

Karen said...

I'm guessing the cantor from last week's Mass at my parish must have been visiting yours. It takes so much to resist the urge to slap those show-offish people.

cliff said...

On the other side of the coin - I've known cantors who sing so slowly & somberly as to make me think I'm hearing a funeral dirge.

About that outfit, the DW says that will be the uniform for the next bombshell secretary I hire.

Charles Culbreth said...

Nazareth Priest,
I've learned, and re-learned that cyberland proves an extremely small world. Your private joke about the former cantor (who was not the Music Director's wife, BTW, but a resident composer's spouse; Leo being single to my knowledge,) should have remained so. Granted, the actual DM during that era likely ought to have reined her audible presence in, and her vocal excesses proved an obstacle to the very task she was called to perform (congregational singing), but I see no benefit, and in fact do see calumny, in the nickname you publicly unveiled and in further detriment, aligned with the stereotypical, tho' funny, photo Kat used. Not good.
I also never could approve of this ex-"cantoress'" explicit presence and overwhelming vibrato. But that shouldn't be vilified by such unkind "tales outta school" here or elsewhere.
Perhaps we could just congratulate Dr. Latona on how he has revamped the Basilica program?

nazareth priest said...

Charles:
I stand corrected (I get corrected, a LOT here);
Thank you for your most charitable comments...
I know, I know...
repentance; repentance; repentance.
And you're correct; it was NOT the music director's wife...what was I thinking??

nazareth priest said...

Charles: You're not by chance, English, are you?
Your comment sounded very "British"...:<)!

nazareth priest said...

Kat: Was I outta line here?
Charles is making me feel guilty (it doesn't take much, unfortunately)...did I cross some boundary...after all, "Miss Piggy" is a celebrity, yeah?
Why is THAT an insult???

Lydia McGrew said...

Because Miss Piggy is ugly, fat, and pursues Kermit the Frog, who is dominated by her.

nazareth priest said...

Lydia: But Miss Piggy is so PC, no?
I'm not being nasty, here.
She's the "ultimate"...really!

nazareth priest said...

Oh, man...
open my stupid frickin' mouth one too many times and I get this...
Kat...thanks!
I'm gonna shuttup now:<)!

Charles Culbreth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles Culbreth said...

NP,
I've been trying to post a supportive comment for a half hour, but Kat's BlogDog Pitbull wouldn't let me through. First of all, don't feel guilty at all, I was passing on a favor many have passed to me about the public pitfalls of cybersnipe. I'm not British, though I'd love to have my birth cert from its northern, feisty cousin Scotland. I'm a native Californian, the shame! Hence, the anamoly of Leo and I doing our BA's at the same U same time.
The truly lamentable fact is that what you "endured" over those years was S.O.P. even in such a rarified places as the basilica. And much worse continues to be suffered in more parishes than not to this day. But the lady in question was a product that represents the pastoral failings of generations of clerics and liturgists- they thought they were on the right track, Thomas Day be damned.
Unfortunately, the climate and atmosphere in blogdom about the lit/music wars is so white hot and toxic, IMO, that if a reasonable opinion dares raise its head, both poles turn and shout it down and resume bickering ferociously.
We need and will get a new generation of Peter Latonas. Take a look over at NLM today for a post by Arlene OZ.
But pastors and bishops had better get their heads out of their ostrich holes soon, or the PIPs will continue to vote with their dollars as well as their feet.

nazareth priest said...

Charles, thank you and bless you!!

s-p said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who cyber-gaffes. Thank you for making me feel better about myself. Now I know who to go to confession with for a light penance. :)

The Crescat said...

yeah... calling some one miss piggy is an insult. NP, don't be so hard on yourself. If I had a dollar for everyone I p.o'd w. blog I'd be a very wealthy woman... it's an every day practice in humility.

You just have to remember... any one who is anyone reads this blog.

I have more followers than Terry... that diva.

nazareth priest said...

Kat: A big, wet sloppy kiss (chaste, of course) to you!!
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Terry Nelson said...

LOL! Diva!

Anyway - Angela looks hot in this photo.

Charles Culbreth said...

Kat, for the record, I wasn't at all P.O.'d about NP's characterization. And I do "catty" in my own time quite well. But I've launched my foot into my pie hole so many times on the interlink, including a couple of times that got to my, uh, employer, that I didn't want NP to be unmindful that dere's lotsa schmucks trolling out dere.
You still rule.

Mrs. Rudd said...

Charles - there is nothing shameful in being a Californian. We are an entirely different species, that's all. Even in exile.

Kat, I had no idea you had come north to the smallest state for the weekend. Seriously, you must have been in one of the pews near me, because the diva sat directly behind me. A good voice (thankfully), and maybe she just likes to belt out or maybe she's trying to make up for the more - decorous - singing from the rest of us, I don't know. Distracting, but I have to get over that.

Ann said...

I sing it loud and proud from the pews--especially on the rare occasion we're not singing Haugen. Not trying to show off at all--just trying to energize the whispery, almost ashamed efforts of my fellow parishoners. Come on, people, you can do better than that! I also always sing the national anthem at sporting events--something that has become a soloist showcase when it should be an opportunity for everyone to demonstrate their patriotism.

John from Pomeroy on the Palouse said...

Our parish has a "choir" that sits in the sanctuary (all the better to see them, don't you know). two ladies in the 80s, one in her 70s, 2 in the 60s, and a 17-year old girl. One of the ladies in her 60s had training in college and you can hear her sing. Believe me you can hear her. The young girl is going through voice training at college and you can usually hear her. But she's sort of shy so you can't always hear her. The other ladies are there for full participation thingie I'm sure... you can see them, their lips are moving, but you can't hear them. And I sit in about the 4th row of pews.

We don't have cantors (except for the young girl who does every so often). But the "lectors"! We're a small congregation of maybe 100-120 people on Sunday. Everyone reads along in their missalette with the Responsorial Psalm. (I've seen from the lector stand and I've seen from the choir/organ loft (which is empty because the choir and klavinova is in the sanctuary) they read, they don't look at the lector and listen. But some of the lectors insist on flinging their arms about when the people's turn to repeat the psalm comes about. Because that's what they do in the big churches.

John

3puddytats said...

When I did music occasionally by myself --when the choir took a break--usually during summer--for our 11:30 Mass (yep guitar, but I don't play piano so sue me), I'd really try to choose songs and Liturgy responses that the congregation knew...and encouraged them to sing so that the Baptist church down the street could hear us :) I don't like being a soloist :)

Believe it or not--the best sung songs were ones that I choose for the Sunday before Memorial Day--America the Beautiful for the Offertory, and Onward Christian Soldiers for the Closing Processional..the congregation raised the roof!! Good to hear especially if you a lone chick standing up in front of everyone with a mike and a guitar.. :)

Sara

The Digital Hairshirt said...

Oh God, you've heard our one cantor . . .

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Please Take the Quiz at http://www.gotoquiz.com/what_kind_of_catholic_are_you
to See WHAT KIND OF CATHOLIC ARE YOU?!

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Josemaria Lazaro Paulo Jeronimo Martin Carvalho-von verster said...

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Janny said...

As a cantor with a music degree, years of voice training, and pretty darn good musicianship, I never cease to be amazed at some of the cantoring I hear out there. But I beg to differ about the operatic "diva" being the worst offender. To me, the most egregious offense is the "cantor as lounge singer" persona.

This most often happens when the pianist is also leading the singing, but it can even happen with a cantor standing and looking otherwise normal in front of the congregation. The music starts, and all of a sudden our song leader becomes Vixie Vamp, batting her eyelashes, leaning into the microphone, and proceeding to declaim the psalm or hymn in what could best be called a combination of a Broadway "belt" and a torch singer's "whiskey" voice.

People who hear this first say, "wow, that's loud." Then they generally stand open-mouthed, but there's no singing coming out of their mouths...for various reasons. I will sing along with this person, if for no other reason than to keep the pew around me somewhere close to in tune (because one thing Vixie does with alarming regularity is "blues-flat" her pitches, thereby leaving the congregation not only drowned out but dragged down as well).

OTOH, when visiting a church out of my normal stomping grounds, if I hear good music coming out of anyone on the premises, I make it a practice to go up to them after Mass, tell them they "done good" and that their efforts are appreciated. Sometimes a cantor wonders if it's worth it all when week after week, we hold forth and do our best to encourage active participation, only to have a whisper of sound coming back at us, if that. If one is in the choir loft attempting to encourage the flock below, it's even LESS likely that they'll join in, even when they're clearly supposed to, as in the responsorial psalms.

I've often thought it'd be a great idea to do what some Protestants do and have a separate "hymn sing" service once in awhile. Not a Mass, but just a service where we sing for an hour or two. And we take requests. :-) I can hear the laughter now--"Catholics don't sing IN Mass, and now you want them to come to church ANOTHER time just TO sing?" OTOH, O ye of little faith--how do you think the Prods GET their people to sing so well?

It's worth a thought...

JB

nazareth priest said...

JB: They used to call what you describe "devotions"...OL of Perpetual Help; our Mother of Sorrows; St. Jude; St. Joseph; you name it...
now Mass has to be "everything for everybody" because devotions are either not provided or people won't attend them.
There's a place for "emotional" expression; the devotions USED to be a place where folks could express themselves;
maybe a return to one devotion per week in a parish might help alleviate some of the "stress" placed upon Holy Mass; which is the public prayer of the Church and not intended to be a place for individual manifestations of personal devotion.
Devotions can have an honored place:
in Portugal, I remember the loud and off-key screaming of the peasant women during the procession of the Virgin of Fatima...that was OKAY. They love our Lady and don't have a problem expressing it;
but at Mass?

Adoro said...

Charles Culbreth ~ If I may so offer, it seems to me that your own post actually gave a great deal more information than that of Nazareth Priest.

I, and most of the people who comment here probably had no idea who he was talking about. However, the information you provided actually enabled the calumny that would not have happened had you not been so specific in your commentary.

You, too, may want to take the advice you offered, albeit in charity, but perhaps lacking in a bit of prudence.

I'm not picking on you...I'm usually the FIRST to stick my damn foot in my mouth and gnaw it in full view of anyone who cares to look!

Janny said...

Re:

They used to call what you describe "devotions"...OL of Perpetual Help; our Mother of Sorrows; St. Jude; St. Joseph; you name it...

With all due respect, actually...no. What I describe is as different from the devotions you've talked about as chalk from cheese. When I was 10 years old I was playing organ for Our Lady of Sorrows novenas and the like, and I remember many devotions taking place in many churches in the "good old days." There's no connection between those "devotions" and an all-church sing!

You can still, after all, practice as many private devotions as you like. But as far as getting active participation at Mass from the folks in the pews--and effectively, by that means, eliminating a lot of the problem of "soloists" "performing" when trying to lead singing...small devotional services would do absolutely nothing. Getting people involved in real church music by having them singing it--and in some cases, learning it--in a non-Mass, and hence non-pressured, situation, IMHO, couldn't hurt. And it might even help.

JB

Charles Culbreth said...

Good point- taken, Adoro. Thank you.

Brian Michael Page said...

Usually when I'm at the pew and someone compliments my voice, I tell them, "just doing my duty as a congregant, but thank you."

BMP