Church Musician Self-Citation

We had a small choir for today’s funeral at the parish. I was thinking about the five musicians who assembled to assist with the music. Four were recruits from our parish’s music ministry.

My second predecessor is now legally blind and navigates the physical world with a cane and drivers, and finds her way in music through memory. She was asked to sing the Ave Maria. She has the diploma, the Church resumé, plus touring and recording experience

The psalmist is of the generation previous to mine and has served the Church here and in her country of origin since childhood.

The woman who cantored the Gospel Acclamation often worships at more than one weekend Mass, and is one of the people who provides the impulse behind the parish’s Divine Mercy devotions.

The fourth singer sings faithfully in both the Spanish choir and with the 8AM Mass, bookending the Lord’s Day worship at our parish.

One was a family friend, a musician who serves at another church in our area. She sang and played “Amazing Grace” at the family’s request.

I didn’t need to know the denomination or academic pedigree of our guest. I could tell by the woman’s demeanor and how she presented herself during worship that she was an experience church musician, and sensitive to the demands of ministry.

An exercise in contrast was reading through commentary on this thread at CMAA.

I call the members of our choir “church musicians”, but I’m not sure I would describe all choir members of all church choirs as such.

I think its laudable and natural to think well of one’s colleagues. I don’t think the spiritual life of Christianity is a kind of zero-sum game in which one’s own virtues elevate one’s homies above the rest of the masses.

I think it is helpful to have a vocabulary to distinguish between the amateur enthusiast and the professional.

Perhaps. But I think the earning of a living is something separate from providing music in a worship setting. A lot of people in music make money at it. Many fine musicians labor and serve for not a single cent.

(Church musicians) are undeniably PRAYING at the same time.

I think spiritual people pray. I’ve encountered the occasional church musician who has been overcome with nervousness or some similar malady during worship. Was it as important that they already prayed in preparation, or that others were praying during liturgy? I appreciate the emphasis on the spiritual here, but my corollary might read:

People served by church musicians are undeniably praying.

When I encounter people in the secular world and I am asked about my profession, I tell them I’m a church musician. That tells the story accurately enough.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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