Please read the following thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=366975
I bumped it up.
And then remember this: ORGANISTS, especially pipe organists, are rare and becoming extinct.
If you’ll read my first post in the thread that I posted a link to, notice that I mentioned the very small number of organists and even pianists in our city of 150,000. I am very involved with youth music in our city, and I know for a fact that there are NO organ students at the moment, there haven’t been any organ students in several years, and several of the universities, both Christian and secular, have closed or are in the process of closing their organ majors, since they have had no students for many years.
I asked the question in the thread, which I don’t believe was answered–what will the Catholic Church do when all the organists are gone?
Acapella singing is extremely difficult, even for a good choir (I was in one in college, and my daughter has done a lot of acapella singing in her college choir.) It is not realistic to think that a typical choir of laypeople will be able to sing acapella repertoire week after week. In the past, perhaps, because people sang in their homes, and school music programs were actually learning situations, not “multicultural sensitivity classes”. Nowadays, the majority of people in the U.S. do NOT know how to sing correctly, and singing correctly is essential for acapella music to not sound like dying cats.
Again, I will repeat that organists are not easy to come by, and in our city, even if the parishes offered an extravagent salary with benefits and candy and cleaning service and a car, there are so few organists that I doubt there would be any takers.
One problem with secular or non-Catholic organists in Catholic Mass is that they are so limited in what repertoire they are allowed to play. If they play the usual lively, all-stops out prelude or postlude, there would be complaints from those traditionalists who believe that the times before and after Mass are reserved for silence, contemplation, and prayer.
The organist also doesn’t get many opportunities to accompany great sacred works, as so few musicians in the Catholic Church are capable of singing these works, and again, many of them are inappropriate (at least, according to the traditionalists) for Catholic Mass. Organists (and pianists, too) get sick of playing Schubert’s or Gonoud’s Ave Maria, and Panis Angelicus week after week after week!
As for use of guitars and other instruments, the Documents of Vatican II, Sancrosanctum Concilium, make it clear that it’s OK. "Other instruments may also be used in divine worship, at the discretion and with the consent of the competent territorial authority as laid down in the articles…provided they are suitable, or can be made suitable, for sacred use, that they accord with the dignity of the sacred building, and that they truly contribute to the edification of the faithful. (Italics mine.)
Do you disagree with the Catholic Church? I don’t. And I think we need to submit to our territorial authorities (bishop) and stop undermining their authority by muttering about how we don’t like it. It’s OK to have a personal opinion–yes, if I had my druthers, I would have the organist from the 1st Lutheran Church in our city at my parish, blasting us all with his Franck masterpieces and making the pews vibrate during the congregational hymns! Heaven!
In fact, for many years, I have made it a point to sit quietly, kneel if my knees are up to it, and listen in silence whenever an organ plays. I started doing this while I was still Protestant, because the organ is so rarely heard anymore in evangelical Protestant churches.
I absolutely love the pipe organ and wish I could play it.
But sadly, it’s going bye bye. And I, for one, do not plan to complain about pianos, guitars, violins (see the banner at the top of the forums), or any instrument approved by the bishop that accompanies the Holy Mass.