On Richard Clark

RJC Cecilia MusicThough I have never met him face-to-face, I have a distance admiration for Richard Clark, soon-to-be archdiocesan music director in Boston. Frequent commentator Liam knows him well and alerts me to outstanding pieces of music he has composed. I hope I’m not an envious or jealous sort, but a Berklee education and musical colleagues that make his music sound like the tenth verse of the nineteenth psalm–just wow.

There’s a blog post Liam linked for me. Plus this comment that was blocked on another thread (for the link) but worthy of center stage for this post:

Richard Clark’s farewell (to back-to-back packed houses, as it were) to the community he’s served for 29 years at St Cecilia’s in Boston is worthy of a read – a primer in servant leadership. Since the Missal communion proper was from Psalm 42, he of course programmed Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus”, as well as the chant and Durufle’s setting of “Ubi Caritas”, among the choral bits, plus the premiere of two of the four movements of a new composition for organ and trumpet at prelude and postlude.

For geographical context for his remarks about not moving from where he began: the church abuts Berklee College (which has merged with Boston Conservatory), and the territorial parish also serves several universities (including Northeastern; BU is technically within the borders but has a campus chaplaincy).

And Richard’s own words to close off:

I DO WISH TO MAKE CLEAR, the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is not a position of prestige. It is not a position of power. It is a position of service—needed now more than ever. While I go with joy to serve in this new role, truth be told, I am in no celebratory mood at this time. My heart breaks, and words cannot describe the unspeakable harm and pain suffered by too many for too long. Fury, anger, and exasperation barely begin to describe the mood of the faithful today. In Leonard Bernstein’s famous words: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

For putting Christ at the center of our sacred song only strengthens the community. Put Christ at the center of our prayer and in our service to each other, and our bonds only grow stronger. You’ve always been doing it, and you need to keep doing it!

Amen, brother!

About catholicsensibility

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