Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chant Leaves the Ivory Tower

Here is a piece for Crisis by Arlene Oost-Zinner and some blogger guy. It's about the trials of dragging Gregorian chant from the exclusive domains of the recording studio and the classroom and into modern parish life. We take issue with the chant deconstructionists who believe that chant must be taken back to its unknown state prior to the year 1000. We further council attention to practical realities.

We could only go into a few of the difficulties. One we didn't really go into is the constant and near universal tension between scholas and pastors during the transition phase. It is traditional (dating back to as long as there are records) for the music directors and singers to believe that they know more about liturgy than their bosses, and this causes some deep friction. This is especially true in our times when pastors are working to shepherd people from the world of Gather and the like and into authentically sacred music. I would only counsel humility and a service ethic on the part of singers and directors. We should do what we can when we can, and not expect amazing things overnight. Above all, we need to learn to think and act obediently (hard!) and bury our own egos in the service of the liturgy.

In any case, our article appears in the last issue that will be printed of this magazine. Higher postal rates and falling demand for in-print mags took their toll. It's a new world in many ways.

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