The Armchair Liturgist Announces Music

armchair1.jpgIf you’re in a parish that has long announced the liturgical music for people to sing, perhaps you find it a difficult locus for renewal. In my current parish, a choir member invites people to stand and greet. After about a minute, the music is announced, usually with an invitation to “Please join in singing …” and then the song is announced: number, title, number.

During Lent, we’ve encouraged minimal announcements. There is no invitation to greet. I tried to convince the music announcers to just go with number, title, number.

There is talk about a hymn board, but it remains talk. At least until a sound system upgrade surfaces, and we can get the other essential items addressed.

So … sit in the liturgist’s chair and render judgment. How would you make sure the essential information is communicated?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist Announces Music

  1. Liam says:

    Hymn boards, gesture to rise, and, if there any question about which resource to use to sing, lift it up. The only reason to announce is if there is something unusual about when/how the congregation should/should not sing (and that can happen, though rarely for first song).

  2. Joyce Donahue says:

    Every parish I have been a cantor in had pretty much the same drill. Hymn board with numbers off to the side. Cantor greets, announces number, title, then repeats number slowly and clearly – as digits.

    Why? We have people of all ages and abilities. Liturgy committees I have been on were told some cannot see the number board because of eyesight issues. Some others say they don’t hear as well. Still others hear, but seem to get confused as they are searching the book as the song is starting – and I do see them looking back up at the board to confirm the number. For me, whatever makes people feel secure about what they are to do is what is needed. I like to leave no room for doubt.

    As to the entire concept of invitation, having been at our diocesan cathedral liturgies where the assembly is never invited to sing, I have often seen the people simply not even pick up the book or worship aid, but merely stand and stare – and let the choir sing. I never assume the assembly is willing to assume its role without invitation.

  3. Mary says:

    Data projector + powerpoint: No one gets confused about numbers, fumbling with hymnals, or not singing ‘cos they don’t have one. The folks who cannot read don’t feel embarrassed ‘cos everyone can see they’re not holding a hymnal or sheet. We can select appropriate verses to suit the theme/situation, and add new hymns to the repertoire any-time we want.

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