Church Music 'in the Doldrums'Although some readers were pleased with the music at their parishes, others expressed disappointment. Instead of listing favorite hymns, many wrote to say what's wrong with Church music today.
A couple from Kansas City, Missouri, write: "Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to express our opinion about the bland 'songs' that are sung (by very few indeed) at the Roman Catholic Mass. It is a fact that the celebration of Mass has turned into a fiasco (most of the time) due to the irreverent 'songs' that are tried out on the congregation...."
Former Choir Director Amelia C. Roda of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has this opinion of the music used at Mass: "I have long been disenchanted, disgusted and uninspired by the barrage of frankly ugly, musically trashy hymns that we are subjected to at Sunday Mass. In our church, the disgust is compounded by the banging of a honky-tonk piano! They do a 'Gloria' that belongs in a low-class nightclub, and if I were so inclined, it would set me shimmying down the aisle!"
Sometimes the instrumental accompaniment or the use of unfamiliar hymns is what readers find upsetting. "What annoys us most is the organ being played too loud, and new hymns we aren't too familiar with. I realize the music department is catering to all people though....[My father] always said church isn't out until they quit singing! Today the church is half empty by then," write the Waldings.
Concern over people's weakened faith was also expressed. "I hope that your survey will come to grips with the possibility that Catholic music is in the doldrums precisely because the faith that fires human expression in music and song has been diminished," comments Ann P. Murphy of Quincy, Massachusetts.
Given the variety and scope of the responses we received, it is easy to imagine that St. Anthony Messenger readers would represent views held in other congregations in this country.
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