Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Chant to the rescue!

I want to Mass at a nearby Newman Center today, and as we stumbled through "Gather Us In," "Celtic Alleluia," and some other such silliness. Of the congregation of eleven, I and the cantrix were the only ones singing. I thought how much more wonderful and easy it would have been to chant the daily antiphons for the Mass. Surely everyone can follow a simple chant tone? Perhaps we could also have done it with the parts of the Mass? How hard is the Gregorian Sanctus? Certainly such simple music would be much better and more singable than "Gather us in, the rich and the haughty (haughty?)"

In addition, learning a few basic chant tones would allow us to avoid the problem of substituting Marty Haugen for King David in the responsorial psalm: just chant the response on a single tone, and then let the cantor sing the psalm likewise. How hard is that?

Finally, the great thing about chant is that one doesn't need instrumentalists to do it.

If you think this is too hard for a congregation to do, come visit my church. We do that and much more for every liturgy. It just takes perseverance and good music.

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