Page 5, 26th June 1970

26th June 1970
Page 5
Page 5, 26th June 1970 — HOW TO GET GOOD MUSIC IN CHURCH

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People: Mayhew, John Ryan
Locations: London


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IT is always pleasant to see the Catholic press devoting space to matters concerning Church Music, and Mr. Mayhew's article (June 19) contains much that is valid and valuable. However, I would like to make the following points.

(1) Mr. Mayhew criticises a number of existing faults and recommends a number of improvements. But the problem, as he no doubt realises, lies in putting into effect whatever improvements are necessary.

What we need is a properly financed Music commission in every diocese. able to pay experts who could give guidance and encouragement and train young musicians. It would certainty be expensive, but we want good Music, don't we?

(2) The main purpose of Church Music is the honour and glory of God. This obliges us to give our best, whether as a choir or a congregation. The Mass is not an entertainment, and most singers are not paid.

Similarly, altar servers are not ballot dancers, and if they try to perform their work with intelligence and dignity, rather than artificial piety, there will be less chance of collisions.

(3) We know that we still need chairs and that there is plenty for them to sing in the new form of Mass, as long as there is someone to train them. What we may overlook is that when we are training our singers we are involved in Musical Education : they must get better each week, and perhaps eventually run their own choirs. The churches with the best congregational singing seem to be those with the best choral singing.

(4) If there is one golden rule for congregational singing, it is that the congregation must enjoy it. If it is a burden it will be a distraction and arouse opposition. It is best to begin with something familiar : a hymn rather than a Kyrie or a psalm. An entry hymn and a Communion hymn can be sung without a choir to "lead" as long as there are a few people in the congregation who are used to singing (e.g. at Benediction), and everyone has a hymn-book or • duplicated sheet.

Experience will show what amount of Music is possible at each Mass.

I am organist in a parish which has a good organ, a, generous parish priest and enough parishioners who .approve of Church Music. Many organists are not so fortunate. I feel that we would all ap

preciate : more CATHOLIC HERALD coverage of Church Music, giving more people a chance to air their opinions.

M. J. Landers Newport, Mon.

Abortion votes

THANK you very much on behalf of my family and friends for publishing "How M.P.s voted on abortion" in your June 12 issue.

John Ryan's cartoon in the same issue raised quite a number of chuckles where I work. I vote it the best cartoon so far with regards to the election.

M. A. Pelligrinetti London, N W.5.

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