Saturday, September 16, 2006

His love of chant got him the job

Justin Hartz's classical training and love of Gregorian chant got him the job as organist and choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Riverton, Pennsylvania. He has been a church organist since age 13 and has played extensively, at St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York, among others.

Here is a wonderfully written news story about it all

But of course this kind of story can only annoy Catholics for obvious reasons. We wonder how many pastors ask potential directors of music about their knowledge of Catholic music, e.g. the chant above all else. We wonder how many current directors of music in Catholic parishes know next to nothing about our musical tradition. We wonder how a musician who can't hum the basic Marian antiphons could even be working at a Catholic Church.

No matter how grim the current situation in the Catholic world, matters are beginning to change. There is a whole generation of young associate pastors who put up with the current state of affairs only because they are powerless to change them. But when they become pastors, they will be looking to work with musicians who love and can teach the tradition of music that the Church asks us to sing at Mass. They will be courted and appreciated as they haven't been in many years.

Indeed, this is already happening. The next five years will be decisive.

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