Monday, September 11, 2006

Start a Garage Schola

I don't think that this has been posted to this list: How to Start a Garage Schola.

The important point we make here is that it does no good at all to merely kvetch about the bad music in your parish if you are not engaged in the self-education necessary to begin a change.

I've often heard of people who come to their pastors with a sense of anger (often justified) and say: Hey, Fr., how about we get some Gregorian chant in this parish?!

Well, there's a problem. The music directors don't usually know anything about it. There is no one in the parish who is prepared to do it well. There are no scholas that are practiced up and ready to go to work. The materials aren't usually available. The pastor himself is not usually prepared to head up the effort, and he has enough to do as it is. To him, these demands come off like any other parishioner demand: just another person complaining, demanding something for nothing, without being willing to make a positive difference.

So we recommend that a schola be founded long before the pastor is ever approached about the issue, that the new schola practice for months and even up to a year, sing for the sick and dying in hospitals and nursing homes, start with daily Masses and special services, and only after the material is familiar, beautiful, and sustainable should the pastor be approached about a Sunday Mass. If this is done properly, the idea of the schola's singing at Mass will just seem inevitable.

It is also important that singers come from within the parish, as a way of increasing community support for the project. The schola must become a parish ministry in every sense. Also, it is very hard work! But worth every ounce of energy.

Remember that it is easy to caste blaim on others for the lack of good liturgy, but much harder to discover a way that you can make a positive difference. There is little we can do about the bad choices others make but there is much we can do about our choices and actions.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: