Do We Sing?
of the Music
NOURISHING THE PARISH VISION STATEMENT
As a parish considers its task of hiring a Director of Music, it is crucial that they are clear and in agreement first on the tone and intent of the music program for which they are seeking a director. It is after deciding the WHAT, the ethos of the music program, that they can effectively discern the WHO, the live human being who would best nurture and sustain the intent upon which the parish has agreed.
The first and elemental charge of the Parish Music Director is, through the selection, teaching and presenting of music, to set, communicate and facilitate an engaging tone and pastoral ethos which inspires and sustains the prayer life of the parish and conveys to all who experience it, the authentic joy to which the Incarnate Christ calls us. The Music Director sets the diet for the people who come to be fed each week.
Is the food substantial? Is it genuine and honest? Is it chosen with invitation in mind, and presented with engagement as the end result?
In the end, the crucial question is: does the music help us move from an appreciation of our history to a living of it?
An ancient Latin addage reminds us “Quod orandi, quod credendi”—what is prayed, is what is believed.
For the post-conciliar Catholic parish, the fulfillment of this charge begins with the research, development and cultivation of a repertoire that is Lectionary-driven, reflective of Vatican II principles, musically sound, lyrically compelling, community-engaging, assembly-accessible, and drawn from the best of newly composed and traditional congregation-focused literature.
The second thrust of this charge is the facilitation of a ministerial environment which focuses on the spiritual and pastoral needs of the music minsiters and of the assembly: Education in, and fostering of, post-Conciliar principles of music as prayer, as the dynamic interchange and communication between the people of God and our loving Creator, and as ministry by, with and for the assembly.
The third commitment of the Director of Music is to develop and encourage the music proficiency (basic musicianship, vocal technique, reading, interpretation, choral blend, etc.) of volunteers and music staff, toward the end of all the more effectively facilitating the “full, conscious and active participation of the assembly.” This task includes recruitment and skill development of volunteer singers as needed; training ensemble cantors and musicians in both technical and pastoral considerations; Supervision and direction of professional musicians contracted to assist in the leadership and accompaniment of the assembly; Fostering a supportive, egalitarian, mutually respectful and integrative relationship between the groups that minister at all the Parish Liturgies.
In the case of the Director of Music who is a cantor, the fourth major aspect of his job will be to engage the fullest assembly participation as Principal Assembly Song Leader/Animateur. The Director of Music, serving as cantor and animateur at all the Sunday liturgies, will catalyze the assembly, setting the tone for a spiritually energizing, joyful, assembly-embracing and engaging, fully-participatory experience of communal worship.
Additional duties include:
n Accompaniment and leading of the assembly as
organist, pianist, guitarist or other instrumentalist.
n Hiring, training and supervising all liturgical musicians.
n •Conferring regularly with the Pastor and parish staff to facilitate the growth and maximum effectiveness of the Parish Music Program as an integrated part of the overall parish agenda.
n Preparing catechetical articles/essays on
matters of liturgy and music for parish
n Conceiving, presenting and facilitating workshops, conferences and other skill-development/ministerial growth vehicles, both for the parish, and for the Diocese at large.