Monday, October 10, 2011

Should Churches Post Music Job Openings on Craigslist?

I received an email this morning from someone who was extremely alarmed to see his parish advertising for a musician on Craigslist. My first thought was: this doesn't sound so alarming to me. It makes sense to post job openings where people are looking for jobs.

But then I had second thoughts once I saw the advertisement nestled among many others looking for drummers, singers, bassists and the like for every manner of rock band, jazz combo, cover band. In this context, there was one Catholic Church looking for a guitarist for "musicians for a worship team." What is troubling here is the complete absence of any concern for liturgical formation, the unique demands of the ritual, knowledge of or training in any kind of sacred music, or anything like that. The assumption is that anyone who can sing and play can walk into a Catholic Church and do it just as well there as anywhere else.

So it's not Craigslist that bothers me so much as the implied erasing of all religious concern. It's true that there is no sacred/secular differences in the services provided by a plumber, bricklayer, or a gardener. That is certainly not true with a liturgical musician.

Now, let me add a proviso that might seem to contradict the above. If a polyphonic group is looking for an alto, I would see no problem with an advertisement even on Craigslist that read: "Catholic choir seeks alto voice for sung Masses." This would be a singer, not a leader in structuring musical choices.

So let me just throw the question out there. Is Craigslist or a similar venue an appropriate place to post ads for musicians for Catholic liturgy?