There are, within the life of any given church organist/choirmaster, a finite number of times wherein a priest of low degree may enter into his/her space. Why is it, then, that oftentimes these priests linger in our lives just because of the stupid things they do - or DON'T do.
Case in point: when I wanted desparately to work out the situation with a recently acquainted priest, he refused to do it. We have standards, he said. Well, he certainly did - does - have standards. And they have plummeted to lower than any lifeform should allow. So my plan for the students' Christmas program this year (would have happened tonight, by the way), would have been on the order of Lessons and Carols. Carols included would have been German, French, Spanish and English. Among them, the original tune and German text of Stille Nacht, the lovely and familiar Il le ne le Divin Enfant, and others. So do you know what my "successor" is doing? somewhere, I think they are doing Go, tell it on the Mountain. Okay, so that's not so bad. But the children in Grades 1 and under will be doing hand motions. So, okay, I could even tolerate that, if mandated to do so. BUT. THEY ARE DOING ALL THIS ON THE STEPS OF THE SANCTUARY, facing an "audience". But had I suggested any such thing there would have been hell to pay (but rest assured, I would NEVER EVER EVER EVEN THINK ABOUT EVER EVER doing such a thing!!!!!!).
Oh, they are doing one piece in Latin. (That's all???). The priest stopped by and insisted that the kids skip out on phys ed so that they could more properly learn their Latin. Now, if the music teacher really knew what she was doing, she would have had this taught well before tonight........
So if errant clergy and totally inbecilic music teachers care to read this blog, there are lessons that they should learn:
1. Just because you are a priest, you don't have what it takes to lead. You must lead by example, not by order. If you expect one music teacher to work far beyond what is truly necessary, then you must expect any other music teacher to do likewise. Plain and simple, the old adage that an ass is always an ass, should be well understood.
2 If you are a music teacher, whether permanent or interim, following someone who totally knows what they are doing, then you should always be nice to your students, because the teacher in the front of the class and minds is the previous music teacher. And you must always strive to learn and stay ahead of your own game. And if you are going to use a curriculum of any sort, then you really ought to be in full knowledge of that curriculum. A curriculum devised for use in the Catholic Schools early in the previous century helped many students to be able to read music - including Gregorian Chant (in Gregorian Chant notation) - is not going to work for someone not from our faith tradition, and who would easily twang the geetar to Bringing in the Sheaves and We've a story to tell to the Nations, instead of playing the organ for improvisations on the truest music of the Roman Catholic Church. And making an effort to sing more loudly than anyone else in the nave at Mass does not bring about compliments of highest praise. It brings about smirks, scowls and honest feelings that would acknowledge the phoniness of such actions.
A reminder that the old adage attributed to St. Augustine is Qui bene cantat bis orat. The one who sings WELL prays twice. (Not he who sings prays twice). No sir indeedy. Even the ancients one knew that God, who is perfect, expects excellence.
Long-sleeved, button-downed collar and necktie not necessary.
Non nobis Domine.