Friday, October 30, 2009

Catholic churches hiring Catholics

a question was posed on my favorite forum about whether it is ok for a church to specify that they want to only hire someone of their own denomination. Sadly, the discussion got rather emotionally out of control, but I do think that I have some very helpful thoughts to contribute, that I want to re-post here.

But shouldn't "be a practicing Catholic" be one of *many* helpful qualifications for a job? If people of similar qualifications were applying for a job at an Episcopal church, wouldn't the person who had been Episcopal (and attending Episcopal services) for their whole life be more experienced and knowledgeable about little details about various services? And I would be interested in hearing if anyone disagreed with the idea that someone who was born and raised and still a practicing member of a particular denomination would have a *personal* attachment to the church that would make them more devoted and attached to their job, compared to someone who had the *exact same* qualifications otherwise?

But of course if it were just one qualification among many, you ought to hire someone with superior keyboard/conducting/people skills over someone who was "just" a Catholic but lacking in other musical areas.

So is the question, can one make ANY assumptions about a possible future employee based on whether they are applying in a church of which they are already a theologically-agreeing member?

If *I* were a church in the position of hiring someone, I would certainly hire someone who was that denomination over someone who wasn't (with the same qualifications,) because I would have to assume that the person of that denomination had better reasons for wanting to work there. (and for the same reasons I think it is very appropriate and permissible to ask.) What I mean by that is, I could safely assume that the person of that denomination wanted to work there because, as I mentioned above, they probably have a personal attachment to that particular church, BUT I would have to wonder about the person not of the denomination: why do they want to work in my church? Isn't it "just a job" for them? WHY do they care about making the music in my denomination better? --Since I cannot think of another reason off the top of my head, I am very curious to hear people's reasons who are not Catholic for wanting to work in the Catholic church (other than, it happened to be open when I was looking for a job and the pay is ok, etc.)

I can say all of this because of my own personal views on my current job-- I view it as a vocation, a calling. I'm not working just for a salary. I'm working to make the music of the RC church as best as it can be. I would probably do this even if there was no money in it for me. I do this precisely because I believe that the fullness of the truth is found in the RC church, and therefore I should give it everything I have. How could a similarly-qualified non-practicing-Catholic have as much dedication to their job as I will to mine? (I really think it would be helpful to this conversation to hear any reasons.) And if there aren't any, then of course a church should hire someone belonging to it's denomination.

[Also, a side question after my main point- Wouldn't (or shouldn't) a Catholic school ask if someone was Catholic, and consider them a more appropriate teacher EVEN if they were teaching a non-religious subject? If so, why? Would the same reasons apply to a MD?]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

organ music suggestions

I can't believe that I'm actually asking this here... I'm almost afraid for the responses!

I just reached a funny point where I am about to finish a couple of big pieces (I think) a little faster than either myself or my teacher expected. And my teacher said yesterday, "so, what should we have you learn next..."
So I have a couple suggestions I can get from the music library...but I'm looking for more!

Any ideas?

I especially love pieces I can use as postludes (toccatas, etc, but I'm really not super good, so like Widor's is probably about the hardest level I'd be able to use right now, plus I'd rather have shorter pieces cuz it only takes about 2 minutes for the church to clear out!)
or else pieces that can be used as preludes. And I mean real stuff, like, I've got loads or crap that I can noodle around with and not even practice, but any suggestions of some *real repertoire* that I'd have to work at but sounds great and would be perfect as a prelude?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Erasmus on church music

I just came across a quote from Erasmus while reading for my Renaissance Music class,

"We have brought into sacred edifices a certain elaborate and theatrical music, a confused interplay of diverse sounds, such as I do not believe was ever heard in Greek or Roman theaters. Straight trumpets, curved trumpets, pipes, and sambucas resound everywhere, and vie with human voices...People flock to church as to a theater for aural delight."

so many churches today seem to be trying for the equivalent of "elaborate and theatrical music," and yet to these churches people do not seem to be "flocking..."


I do love, the internet radio station where you can listen to songs of a particular style and rate them to create a station that you completely like.
It has every song categorized with such things as "a large chorus" or "major-key tonality."
However, one characterization that amuses me that it lacks is what the topic of the lyrics is.
One of the stations that I have created which I enjoy listening to, I have labeled "classical religious," and I rate songs so as to exclude all non-choral and non-religious pieces, as well as those I simply don't enjoy.
But the part that amuses me is that I am sure that I thoroughly CONFUSE the station when I say I "like" a Handel oratorio, but then "dislike" a secular piece by him with all of the exact same characterizations! (the station must think I am really really picky...too bad it has no idea why!) :-P

Monday, October 19, 2009

photographers part...?

I was playing for a wedding at another church on Saturday, and as I was walking downstairs to the piano up front during the vows, I heard a little high-pitched, "tweedle-dee" from the organ.
Apparently, the photographer sat on the organ while trying to get a good picture. oops.
(ok, not quite that bad. She really just bumped a couple of the top keys with her fanny.)
but still, seriously. Try to be a little more careful!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I wish I had a photographic memory...

so I've read all of these church documents, once or twice, and I know it says somewhere, you know, such and such a thing about what we should or shouldn't do, but you know, whenever I really need that knowledge, I can't remember where it's from, and then I'm just spouting off show-off-y nonsense!

It happened recently, that a priest was visiting, and I sort of wanted him to sing the "Through him..." part, so we could sing the Amen, and he was kind of like, "oh I probably won't..." Which was fine, and so we didn't sing it.

but... I wish that at times like those I could explain myself a little better, and then when they're like, "huh? what are you talking about?" I could be like, "well, in such-and-such a document it says..."

I think I'm afraid of even beginning those conversations unless I am fully prepared in advance. Because otherwise I know that I will end up saying something like, "well, uh, I know that somewhere it says something about why it's important for the priest to sing certain parts..." And yeah, like, no one is going to listen to that.

But is it pride? either that I want to be able to show off my knowledge, or that I don't want to be embarrassed if I can't properly quote something? hm. no...rather, just that I want to be able to make a proper case for my point, really, I want to have things done *right!*

just ramblings, I don't really have time to go into more detail, I'm off to bed. Don't read into that too much, either; no, I'm not off to change the world and prove everyone wrong at every possible opportunity! I'm just thinking...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

oh yes, I know I've hardly been blogging lately...

I can't even begin to describe how weird I feel on Sunday mornings. It is the morning that I wake up the earliest in the whole week, and precisely because it is a Sunday and I know that no one else is awake that I feel absolutely blah.

I mean, not even blah. The point of this whole post is to say how weird I feel. It's the one time during my week when I absolutely HATE my life. From 6:40-7:40 am-ish. I wake up and I think, "argh..." and then as the morning continues and I realize how dark and lonely everything is, I think, "why the heck am I doing this?! I hate my job!"

But of course I don't hate my job! Every other hour of the week I love it and I feel SO blessed!

But I think the strangest things, like about how I just want to die because life is so horrible and dark!

And sometimes (like this morning,) it lasts even longer, even until 8 or 9 am until I start to fully wake up. I play through the first Mass, just like,...totally....blah.

But really, the problem? Wintertime. Waking up without a single fleck of light in the sky. Oh it's awful. And I guess I should compare myself to other more normal working people, who wake up that early *every morning* of the work week, but, I just can't help but thinking, "woe is hoo..."

and so that is what this entry is about!