This is more of an open-ended post for reader comments, on something I’ve been thinking about for a while. (Politically-oriented readers, sit tight; I’m reading America’s Bitter Pill now, and will have comments on that soon. . .)
Remember a couple weeks ago, when I lamented that Catholics, by and large, do a pretty lousy job of singing at mass? (My metric: can I hear the voices of everyone around me, or just my own voice and/or that of the cantor?)
Since I wrote that, I’ve been off-and-on thinking about whether there’s anything concrete I could do to change this in my own parish, though I am not particularly well-connected with the “management.” Ironically, my Lutheran husband has more relationships, due to his role as Assistant Scoutmaster, than I do.
Could I prod the music director and the music selection committee (to the extent that there is one) to pick songs based on the degree to which the assembly is likely to sing, rather than just enjoy listening to the choir? (Note: I like singing, but I’m not a particularly good vocalist, and, what with scheduling issues, I’ve never joined the choir, but the music director knows me as Alex’s mom — he plays trumpet in the teen choir — and Michael’s mom — when he was very small, he liked to sit by the choir and watch the musicians.)Could we (OK, they) take “requests”? And would parishoners be more likely to sing songs that have been “requested” or would they, in the end, be songs that everyone likes to listen to, but not actually sing?
For the teen mass, where the music is generally printed, words-only, in the worship aid, would including the music encourage more singing, less listening?
Would some actual nagging work?
Or, alternatively, would “management” be open to extra worship opportunities, say, a vespers that doesn’t follow the Liturgy of the Hours liturgy but is more of a “praise hour” with singing and scripture? Would enough musicians — the teen or adult choir, or others who can pick up a guitar or sit down at the piano to accompany — be interested?
Or would it rock the boat too much, in terms of parish politics, to raise the issue at all?