Here’s a question for those involved in Music Ministries, and hopefully one that can shy away from the usual fireworks that happen during these discussions.
I got to Mass twice during the weekend. Once with my wife, and I also head over to my old Church where I’m involved with the Music team still. Lately we’ve been going to a Mass Saturday evening where they have more “traditional” music, with them throwing down the Organ and what not. My wife and I talked to the choir leader after, and she said “we don’t practice. Some of the people have natural talent, but most of them carry the attitude that they’re praying during this time, so there’s no need to practice”. There’s one woman who has a wonderful voice, but she doesn’t do much with it practice wise because “she feels she doesn’t need to practice her singing because it’s a gift from God”.
And to be frank…as one may expect they sound terrible most of the time. Sometimes “my ears are bleeding” terrible. The timing is off, people coming in at the wrong time, notes are off key, the voices aren’t blending, etc etc. The girl mentioned above (who, in the interest of full disclosure, I dated before I met my wife) has a KILLER natural voice with much potential…she just doesn’t put any effort into it. To them, it’s 100% prayer, 100% gifts, so no extensive practice is needed.
This caught be by surprise. As some of you know, I play percussion at Mass, I have natural musical intuition, specifically with with that percussion (and also with blending my singing voice with others). In fact the whole music team I’m a part of has this kind of natural musical talent. But we still get together at 4pm (Mass is at 6pm) and practice. Even if we’ve done all the songs before, we practice. Make no mistake, we pray before, during, and after. Lots of prayer, reverence. But we still practice because we want to make that we make full use of the gifts the Lord has given us. Plus…we want to sound good, as in good enough to not make people cringe.
I’m asking this because this is only two parishes, which is a very small sample size. I wanted to get a feel for how many choirs practice to improve themselves (and thus making music done at Mass better) or solely rely on the Grace of God and the gifts He has provided.
Once again, check your arguing hats at the door and please try to be objective