Our pastor came to the Music Director and instructed her to NOT have us sing the Haydn Kyrie and Gloria from his Missa Brevis in F Major at Midnight Mass, as we had rehearsed and planned for months. He also wants to do away with the pre-Mass hymns that have been a tradition for nearly 50 years in our parish.
His rationale is that some parishioners didn't like having to stand for the slightly longer time that it took for us to sing the Mozart Kyrie and Gloria last year. Mind you, our choir has sung those sections from the Mozart Missa Brevis in F Major in years past and there were never any complaints. In fact, to our knowledge, there had been only praise. We've sung movements from various "Missae" in years past, and we change it up so that we keep the music fresh and yes, a bit of a pleasant Christmas surprise for our parishioners.
Our "usual" setting now is the Black Mountain Liturgy by Sally Ann Morris and while it IS pretty and we all love it, we all feel that Christmas is "special", and it deserves a special atmosphere. That includes special music that we don't sing during ordinary times. The Haydn sections that we had planned are actually SHORTER than the Black Mountain Liturgy. We also had a 20-minute pre-Mass "reflection period" of maybe 5 or 6 hymns prepared, as we've done for decades, and that was just scrapped as of this morning. We had soloists and choir members who had worked long and hard to perfect this music "FOR" Christmas. Everyone is very upset about this. :mad:
Okay, so the Mozart Gloria that we did last year was fairly long and the people had to stand for a few minutes. But the way I see it, if you don't want to attend a "long Mass" deep in the night, then please don't come to the Midnight Service. There are 6 or 8 other Masses to choose from at our parish, in English or Spanish. Many people come to the Midnight Mass in large part for the special music and the beauty of the services. As Choir, that's our ministry-- to add our voices and lead the people in musical prayer and worship. No, we aren't "performers", we are people whose gift from God is our voice and musical talent, and we look forward to the opportunity to sing our special songs of praise and prayer. To sing an "ordinary" setting at a "special" time takes something away from it, and it has basically put our time of practice for the Commemoration of the Nativity of Our Lord to waste. We feel like we prepared a special gift, only to be told just before the "party" that it isn't wanted or welcome.
It's so hurtful that some of us are planning on NOT singing at all for the Midnight Mass and simply attending Mass at another parish or service time.
If Father is going to essentially "gut" Christmas Mass this way, then what will happen at the Easter Vigil-- when we have TWICE as much music?Is he simply going to refer everyone to the text of the "Exsultet" because that prayer is "too long"? Is he going to say that "we have too many candidates for Baptism" and decide that it would be more efficient to simply soak everyone at once with a garden hose? (Okay, that was sarcastic... but oh! The visual!)?
Okay, perhaps I'm a wee bit petulant... but it also seems odd that he's pulling this just 2 days after waxing ecstatic at Mass over our choir and our "beautiful music".
If you were in the Choir and your priest did something like this, would you sing at Christmas Mass, or would you just sit it out in the congregation, either at Midnight Mass or another service time? Or would you "boycott" your parish and just go to another church for Christmas Mass)?