THE PURPOSE OF MUSIC IN OUR CELEBRATIONS
by Manny Chavez
The purpose of music in our celebrations is to intensify the unity of gathered people and to lead our thoughts to the mystery of the season or feast, and accompany or priests and ministers. We prepare ourselves to listen to God’s word and celebrate the Eucharist properly. The full and active participation is the aim to be considered before all else. Assembly members should be participants and not spectators.
Music is communication; it is sharing; it can be love and most important it can reach out to a whole community at once. Music is an element of solemnity; it increases the effectiveness of the texts; it enhances the celebration with beauty if done correctly; and to repeat, it is a unifying element for the congregation.
When we sing we should give deep personal attention to the words to make the songs more meaningful and to receive God’s spirit when we sing. One cannot find anything more religious and more joyful than a whole congregation expressing its faith and devotion in song!
When the choir sings, the entire congregation listens, and if, the music is not good, the whole congregation notices it and becomes embarrassed in its prayer, and has every right to do so. But when the whole church is singing, no one is listening—except God—because everyone is taking part in the liturgy. The union of all voices—the pure voices of the children, the rough voices of the men, the high brilliant voices of the women,, good voices, bad voices, loud or soft, on key or off key—all these many variations and weaknesses express what nothing else can express: that is, the mystery of the Church which unites all of us in the praise of Christ.
If music becomes master rather than servant, it loses its reason for being. It becomes no more than entertaining communication. We hope we are not doing this.
I would like to tell you that we are open to suggestions as to songs and we would consider changes if needed. Maybe you have noticed that we sing new songs during communion for a couple of weeks so that you may listen and learn them. I also present the Responsorial Psalm to you before Mass. I certainly hope that we are not interrupting your prayer when doing this.
Everyone is welcome to join us---we would love to have more singers and musicians. I would like to stress the fact that you do not have to have good voices to be in the choir. As a matter of fact, when you hear a squeaky voice—that is me trying to sing. AFTER MASS NOTHING BRINGS US MORE JOY THAN TO SAY TO EACH OTHER “EVERYONE WAS SINGING”!!
At his time, I would like to thank our members for being so dedicated. You are just terrific to work with.
We meet every Tuesday at 4:30 in the Rectory. Please join us,
We’re sure you will enjoy it, and if you can’t join us,please sing during Mass.
Thank you so much!