Monday, December 03, 2007

Music in the Whole Church

There's a wide range of music in the whole Church, the Catholic Church, and the local parish tries as best it can to embody that range. This weekend at St Thomas Aquinas parish, on the edge of the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, I enjoyed participating in a major part of that range.

Saturday at the conclusion of the Life in the Spirit seminar which the guest speaker Fr. Tom DiLorenzo led, there was a wonderful hour of singing in the Spirit. Shortly after that, there was the evening Vigil service where the music was traditional, metrical hymn based. That night I got to thinking about the seven forms of music in the Church.

Most parishes' music in my region is either hymn based or folk based. Early Sunday, I got to the parish as the doors opened so I could spend some time before the tabernacle in eucharistic adoration, the 'music' of silence.

I'd come up to Charlottesville in the first place to sit in with the gregorian schola there at St. Thomas Aquinas. Although I'm a total novice regarding gregorian chant or even singing in any sort of choir, they were all very welcoming. Leslie, the choir's director, is very encouraging and it was helpful to stand between Tom and Edward and try to blend in with those with some experience in singing this beautiful music. I'll have more about the fellowship there in a later post; however, having already participated in four of the forms of liturgical music, I want to conclude that theme.

I left before the 11:30am Mass which has a folk ensemble. Jim, the organist, characterized the music for the 5:15 'Teen' Mass as rock and roll. So, all that's needed is a Bach, Haydn or Bruckner high Mass for all seven liturgical musics to be present in this one parish, which I think is fantastic. Having those widely differing musical forms really work together and encourage one another is certainly very challenging and I look forward to finding out more about the parish (I'm going to try to travelling the 2.5 hours some so I can sing in the 7:30am Mass with the schola).

There are not many parishes that use more than one or two of the seven musical forms in their liturgies, namely:
  • Adoration
  • Chant
  • Orchestra
  • Hymns
  • Folk
  • Rock
  • Jubilation
More on these various forms in future postings. All have a part in the whole Church, the Catholic Church.

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