I understand that if a President of the United States is reelected, all cabinet officers resign so that the President can be freer to choose new people. When the Pope dies, virtually all the offices of the Vatican dicasteries cease. Their holders must be reconfirmed by the new Pope… or not.
I know any number of priests who long… long… for the choir director to quit or to move or… you get the idea.
Read this, the first part of an entry at Chant Cafe and see if this doesn’t describe some situation you have experienced:
I know a high school group of liturgical singers and strummers [… or aging hippies…] that might mean well but makes a terrible mess of the music at Mass, week after week. There are thousands of such groups around the country. I’m sure you too know of a few.
The archetypes are common. There’s a drummer, a singer, a backup singer, a pianist, and a guitar player. None of them can play their instruments well. The singer can’t sing without being heavily miked and without musical emoticons strewn throughout. The repertoire is bubble-gum pop ballads with a Jesus theme. People fear going to Masses where they play, and they are the constant brunt of negative mutterings, though the players themselves are not aware of it.
Of course they have no idea what they are doing. No one has ever discussed with them anything about the musical demands of the Roman Rite. They know nothing about the proper orientation for making music at Mass. The liturgical calender is an abstraction. Terms like propers or dialogues are gibberish to them. Most of the players can’t even read music. To them it is an opportunity to see and be seen, a weekly talent gig, and they probably don’t mind it that people give them credit for their service to the parish.
The pastor and celebrant don’t like it any more than anyone else. But the parents of these kids are important people in the parish. The band doesn’t charge any money for their services, such as they are. The director of music has nothing to do with them, and no adults are really involved at any level. At least that teen Mass slot is covered, so, in the balance, it seems to make more sense to tolerate them and endure. Again, it is well known that they mean well, and surely that is enough.
I’m looking at this situation and it seems like an impossible nut to crack.
Some people might look at this and say that the answer is obvious: toss these ill-educated, amateur noise makers out on their ears. Well, that’s an interesting proposal if not exactly pastoral. In fact, I don’t think this approach really works. It does not foster a stable parish environment. It’s not realistic. It doesn’t draw on the existing talents in the parish – and they are thin indeed – and there remains the question concerning who or what would replace them. The Catholic world isn’t exactly crawling with Gregorian choirs waiting in the wings to sing.