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June 14, 2015

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Because I am spiritually immature (I'm actually meeting a nun about this on Tuesday...I am really struggling in the faith department), this would make me cringe and cry, and probably leave the parish. I know this sounds horrible...but it's true. I truly hope all works out, and you can give your beautiful gift in a way that fits with your parish's intentions.

Our parish has five masses a weekend. The song selection is the same for every mass. Two are "choir" masses, which means that there is some kind of basic ensemble, and that the earlier one is the more traditional, while the later one has a trumpet, guitar, flute, and sometimes drums (along with the organ). The earliest Sunday mass has no music. The Saturday afternoon and the last Sunday mass are cantor masses, which means that one person is the primary singer, no matter who else may show up in the choir loft because they're attending that mass.

When I sing, I'm almost always the cantor for the latest mass. I can't choose most of the music (which is generally okay -- we run to three mostly traditional hymns a week and one contemporary), but I have standing permission to choose my own post-communion hymn, which is always a cappella and usually Gregorian chant. I know that there is one group which also books the late mass and gets permission to change one or two of the hymns, usually to something CCM, so I think that I could have permission to switch out the hymns if I okayed it with the music director and worked with the organist. I'd really like to lead an a cappella mass sometime, but I just haven't put in the necessary time on the phone or with email to make it happen.

It is possible that if you jump through some hoops now you'll have more of a power position when you want to make changes. Also, you might talk to your pastor and see what his angle is on all this. Perhaps he's also dealing with behind the scenes politics and this was the best way to ensure that a better music situation was in place. (Imagine if there were less orthodox cantors wanting to take over a mass!) It could be that the rigid guidelines now might ease up later as the new standard gets established, and perhaps your proven musicianship will stand you in good stead so you can skip the auditions or have a bit more say in which choir you end up in, or perhaps they'll make an exception to weekly practice for you.

Be of good cheer!

Very productive! This was such an entertaining post. ;) Could we please be best friends?

If it were me, I would take it all as a sign that I deserve a rest from my service in music ministry for a while. But I wish you had different/better options.

My Mom always reminds me, when I threaten to quit choirs (or do quit), "The congregation needs good singers, too, in the midst of them, helping them along..."

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