Pop quiz, hotshot! What will you do?

RIP Dennis Hopper!

As my Brit bud IanW called me out last week, I’m in a red phone box with only a few quid and JT needs my post last week… I have only four lines of copy that I can shout to Tucker before the phone goes beep-beep-beep. Here goes:

1. Your pastor wants you to immediately engage the congregation in singing the propers, he insists upon their FCAP access. But he won’t switch from using a pulp subscription missal, so you only have the Entrance and Communion antiphon texts.
2. You also cannot publish any musical settings of any propers in either a weekly ordo or the parish bulletin; no $ for ordo, no space in bulletin. (Also, no audio/visual available.)
3. You have the SEP, the Vatican II Hymnal, every Rice choral and chant and short “chant-based” monophy collections, the entire CCW catalogue, BFW, B.Ford’s Amer. Gradual, Psallite, Ken Macek’s Psallite propers, C.Tietze’s strophic settings, and all the rest found at Musica Sacra, and you’ve composed some propers yourself. And NO PSALM TONES or the Wildcat gets blown up!*
4. How do you fulfill the pastor’s demand to get the congregation singing the propers under these strict conditions? (You cannot quote Mahrt!)

“What will you do, hotshot? WHAT WILL YOU DO?”
*Obscure reference from the film whose title remains unmentioned.
And a little personal PS for dance fans- if our scholas, choirs and cantors would take their regimens as seriously as the contestants on the Fox Reality “SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE,” there wouldn’t be any musical problems in the American Roman Catholic Music scene, at ‘tall! These kids are artists!

15 Replies to “Pop quiz, hotshot! What will you do?”

  1. I think FACP means Full, Active, and Conscious Participation – the one phrase from V2 that has been drilled in a Maoist fashioned into the heads of three generations of Catholic musicians, as if it were the one and only principle.

    Initially, I would do SEP. I would choose that over AUG for reasons of language.

  2. It may be of interest to note that this has changed: the last time I looked I saw the INtenseDebate comments.

    Another thing is that I've had this problem before when using my phone browser.

  3. I'll write my letter of resignation, because it seems to me that the thing can't be done. After all, if there's no money for worship aids, I'm not being paid. 😉

  4. Charles, your posts crack me up! RIP Dennis Hopper indeed.

    Well, as JT suggested, I would start with the SEPs with an occasional Rice offertory or communion from the SCG or other source to mix things up a bit (surely the pastor will allow the choir to sing at least ONE proper on its own. Just tell him it's an "anthem.")

    You could also do the dreaded pre-mass run-through of the SEP antiphons for the five or six souls who show up early for mass. 🙂

  5. JT, you're right someone's gonna have to help neuter the com box gremlins. Three comments from last night were raptured!

    Now, c'mon folks, use your noodles, this can be done, think outside the confessional. Why? Because this very scenario could be SOP in the near future. And we all aren't Sandra Bullock or Keanu Reeves, and we don't want the bus to…

  6. Have an unassuming, but engaging, cantor who dresses well (or is vested) stand just in front and to the side of the sanctuary, and have that Cantor intone the Proper antiphon in a simple setting, with the congregation repeating- Responsorial Psalm style. The choir (or schola) sings the verses (in any number of excellent ways) and the Cantor gently gestures with a raised arm to the congregation, inviting them sing when it is their turn.

    After a month or two, have the cantor stop raising his arm, but keep him there- intoning the Antiphon, and inviting people with his kind face.

    After another month or two, move the Cantor away from the front and place him with the choir (wherever they are).

  7. FACP means that the congregation has to sing something and since the constraints mentioned allow no way to put the psalm verses in front of them (short of – shudder – using a projector), whatever resource you use will need to have a simple "refrain"/antiphon that can be taught and learned quickly. The people sing the "refrain"/antiphon, the cantor sings the verses. This also suggests that singing the propers responsorially rather than antiphonally might be an option. In our diocese, this is a model that people would already be familiar with from the responsorial psalm and might be a good stepping stone. The problem is that they might get stuck there as well.

    One problem I see in all of this, however, is that one of the constraints indicated is that psalm tones are not to be used. Does that not rule out the majority of the resources listed including the SEP? Or was the "NO PSALM TONES" comment just a joke and not a real constraint?

  8. Thanks for the FACP clarification. I stumbled onto ChantCafe recently. Had to look up IntenseDebate.com to see what this means. Sending this from my iPhone as a plain comment. Hope to someday see SPP – Simple Spanish Propers.

  9. Ah….rtjl-grasshoppah!
    Father Stricture did not specify that the congregation (er, gathered, er people of God…) had to participatio actuosa the psalm verses.
    Big sigh.
    Okay, back to square one, still under 55 mph.
    Just get 'em singing the antiphon from the bold print in the missal.

  10. Master Charles. Agreed. That was my point. At least pretty much. The fact that the people COULDN'T sing the verses (since they had know way of knowing what they were) and that they had to sing something (partipation actuosa according to Fr. Stricture), would mean that the something would have to be the antiphon. I'm okay with that but it does mean that lengthy and/or otherwise musically complicated antiphons would be ruled out except in those rare instances when the choir and/or cantor would be singing them without the people. Of course, I am assuming that Fr. Stricture would allow some occasional exceptions to his PA rule.

  11. Simple Spanish Propers . . . is there a translation that could be used, like the SEP uses Solesmes' Gregorian Missal?

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